CAPE TOWN – With most countries seeing an exponential increase of coronavirus cases, WHO is concerned about the dwindling supply of medical oxygen.
It is reported that around 88,000 large cylinders are needed each day worldwide to cope with the caseload.However, with daily infections rising to around 400,000, that need has now risen to 1.2 million cylinders, just in low and middle income countries alone.
At the peak of the pandemic, the SA National Institute for Communicable Diseases reported that the country’s public hospitals were running short on medical oxygen.
According to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus some countries were now on a “dangerous track” and the worrying rise was leading to hospitals and ICUs “running close or above capacity.
“A heavy toll was being taken on the world’s supplies of clinical oxygen, so crucial for those patients who need to be intubated, and many countries simply do not have enough,”
“The “global oxygen gap” is particularly acute in some of the poorest nations, where some have only five to 20 percent of what they need for patient care,” said Ghebreyesus.
He also urged leaders to take immediate action, to prevent further unnecessary deaths, and essential health services collapsing, and schools shutting again.
In India where new Covid-19 infections have rapidly increased, oxygen supply has grown scarce in some parts of the country. Meanwhile, the WHO has launched a new project, working with ministries of health in those countries to design oxygen plants which fit their local needs.
“The oxygen project reflects WHO’s commitment to end-to-end-solutions and innovation, to do what we do better, cheaper, and reach more people. Oxygen saves the lives of patients with Covid-19,” he said
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