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Saturday Aug 21 2021

Pakistan gets eight medical oxygen plants from Saudi Arabia

File photo
File photo

  • Pakistan to get 46 more oxygen plants in coming weeks.
  • Oxygen plants will be installed at health facilities in remote areas of the country.
  • A committee is working closely to equip secondary-care hospitals with medical oxygen generation plants.

KARACHI: As many as eight medical oxygen generation plants reached Allama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore through a chartered flight from Saudi Arabia Friday evening, federal health officials said, adding that these oxygen generation plants will initially be installed at secondary-care health facilities in the remote areas of Northern Pakistan.

“We have received eight medical oxygen generation plants from Saudi Arabia, which reached Lahore today through a chartered flight. Each of these oxygen plants is capable of supporting 50 oxygenated beds at a health facility,” an official of the National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSR&C) told The News on Friday.

These will be used to treat COVID-19 patients at small and medium size health facilities in the country, the official said.

“Saudi Arabia had assured to donate 18 such medical oxygen generation plants, of which 8 arrived today while remaining would reach Pakistan within a few days,” the officials added.

In addition to Saudi Arabia, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (commonly known as Global Fund) has also agreed to provide 36 such medical oxygen generation plants, the official disclosed, adding that these plants would also reach Pakistan shortly and would be used to meet the oxygen needs for COVID-19 patients at District Headquarter (DHQ) hospitals in the country.

“We have prepared a comprehensive plan to install these small medical oxygen plants at healthcare facilities which lack facilities of piped oxygen while transporting oxygen cylinders to these facilities in such areas is also an uphill task,” the NHS official said.

He said that a committee comprising director generals of health from all the provinces as well as federal health officials is working closely to equip secondary-care hospitals with medical oxygen generation plants and hoped that with the installation of these plants at DHQ and tehsil hospitals, the load of COVID-19 patients on tertiary-care hospitals in the major cities would reduce to a large extent.

NDMA to procure oxygen plants

The health ministry official maintained that in addition to 54 medical oxygen plants to be received in donations from Saudi Arabia and Global Fund, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is also procuring such plants from its own resources and added that those plants would be provided to the federally-administered areas as well as provinces to equip their hospitals.

“These oxygen plants can also be used to fill the oxygen cylinders so the other health facilities, both public and private in the vicinity of these plants would also be benefited with their installation,” the official added.