Africa Defense Forum
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Namibian Hospital Upgrades Oxygen Generation Plant


The oxygen generation plant at Namibia’s Onandjokwe Hospital got a roughly $1 million upgrade that will help it better care for severely ill COVID-19 patients.

The upgraded plant opened in early October. It was funded through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is part of the U.S. government’s $20 million support package to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in the country.

It was revamped through USAID’s Right to Care EQUIP project after a needs assessment showed that the plant provided only 18% of the hospital’s oxygen needs.

“One of our key goals is to enhance the oxygen ecosystem in Namibia and reduce mortality from COVID-19,” Dr. Thapelo Maotoe of the Right to Care EQUIP project said in a news release. “With planned routine maintenance, the plant at the Onandjokwe Hospital is expected to last over 10 years.”

The upgraded plant can also help treat pregnant mothers and children in need of oxygen support, patients undergoing surgical procedures, as well as HIV, tuberculosis, hypertension and diabetes patients.

Dr. Abeje Zegeye, acting health office director at USAID Namibia, underscored the plant’s importance during a handover ceremony.

“A hospital’s ability to provide a secure source of oxygen is often life-saving,” Zegeye said in a news release. “COVID and other patients at the Onandjokwe Hospital can now receive the oxygen they need to recover. This support is expected to go a long way and save many Namibian lives.”

Previous Donations

In early March, the U.S. government delivered 200 new medical emergency beds to Namibia to help the country offer extra capacity to treat patients during the pandemic. The beds are designed for medical emergencies and can be used for patients in respiratory distress. The beds have a low mattress and an attached pole that allows uninterrupted intravenous therapy.

The beds were delivered to Katutura State Hospital in Windhoek, Karasburg District Hospital in Karasburg, Okahandja Hospital in Otjozondjupa, and Onandjokwe Hospital in the Oshikoto region. They can be easily transferred on short notice to whichever facility needs them most.

In October 2021, the U.S. donated 70 intensive care unit beds as the country experienced its third COVID-19 wave.

Worth more than $46,000, the beds were distributed at hospitals in the towns of Gobabis, Katima, Katutura, Mulilo, Oniipa, Oshakati, Rundu, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.

In July 2021, the U.S. delivered 176 tablet computers, 53 laptop computers and 250 remote temperature-monitoring devices to the country.

Also that month, the U.S. donated personal protective equipment and supplies worth $294,000 to Namibia’s Health Ministry. The delivery included 140,000 surgical masks, more than 25,000 N95 masks, 2,000 face shields, 87,000 gloves, 21,000 protective gowns and suits, 450 liters of antibacterial soap and 12,000 paper towel rolls.

In April 2021, the U.S. donated 30 centrifuges, 15 vortex mixers, 12 biosafety cabinets, 10 refrigerators and 10 freezers to help strengthen laboratory capacity and protect laboratory workers.

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