South Sudan installs first ever oxygen plant

South Sudan installs first ever oxygen plant
The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) molecular Laboratory, Oxygen generation Plant that was handed over to the Ministry of Health yesterday in Juba (photo credit: Sheila Ponnie/City Review)

JUBA – South Sudan has installed its first-ever oxygen plant to beef up the health sector’s preparedness for emergency situations especially during the prowling dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Addressing the media in Juba at the Emergency Operation Centre Wednesday, the Minister of Health, Elizabeth Achuei, said the installation of the plant was a major milestone for the country.

She said the acquisition of the facility was pivotal to the country’s preparedness for the imminent third wave of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“South Sudan will no longer import oxygen from the neighboring countries and this means that oxygen will be supplied to the facilities on time and more lives will be saved,” Achei said.

Ms. Achuei was speaking during the handover of the PCR molecular Laboratory, oxygen generation plant, vehicles, and isolation facilities on Wednesday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative Dr. Fabian Ndenzako explained that in June 2020, the AfDB provided a $4.2 million grant to strengthen South Sudan’s health system to support the country’s COVID-19 response.

Procurement process

He added that the WHO procured and installed the oxygen generation plant as part of the agency’s response to global demand for oxygen.

“The plant we are handing over today was ordered when many countries were ordering the same from limited companies,” the representative said.

“The order was done late last year, building and finalization of the plant were completed in July this year, then transported by air to Kampala; then by land to Juba and installation was done last month [August],” he added.

Dr. Ndenzako highlighted that the plant together with its accessories has cost closer to 25 percent of the whole grant as it includes the plant, generators, offices, and housing. This is close to $1 million.

“This plant is a good investment to the country not only for COVID- 19 response, but the oxygen will support health service delivery across the whole country,” Ndenzako said.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) through WHO, has procured and donated two vehicles to support the ministry’s efforts to fight COVID-19.

“Through the Bank’s grant, WHO has renovated three isolation facilities in Wau, Yei, and Nimule for the management of mild COVID-19 patients who do not require hospitalization,” he said.

Benedict Kanu, African Development Bank Country Manager for South Sudan said the plant would continue helping the country cope with the pandemic because South Sudan is not out of danger yet.

“The COVID-19 pandemic remains a major threat to South Sudan’s population and elsewhere in Africa,” he said.