COVID-19: South Sudan begins local production of oxygen

The oxygen plant in Juba

By Tapeng Michael Ohure

South Sudan has installed its first oxygen plant and has started producing oxygen to meet demands at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic rages.

The plant, installed at Juba Teaching hospital in the capital Juba was acquired through funding from the African Development Bank. to support the country’s ongoing COVID-19 response.

It cost $980,000.

“The installation of the oxygen plant is good news to the country and the people of South Sudan and marks the beginning of the country’s preparedness for oxygen generation,” the Health Minister Elizabeth Achuei Yol said in the capital Juba.

Achuei said the plant would bolster the country’s preparedness for oxygen in anticipation of the third wave of COVID-19.

Part of the oxygen plant

“South Sudan will no longer be importing oxygen from neighbouring countries and this means oxygen will be supplied to facilities on time and more lives will be saved,” she said.

With a generation capacity of 2,500 litres per day and the ability to refill around 72 D-type oxygen cylinders daily, the plant will be a centralized production and supply hub for remote locations.

The African Development Bank’s Country Manager in South Sudan, Benedict Sorie Kanu expressed optimism a $4.2 million contribution it made will strengthen the health system in South Sudan.

“The COVID-19 pandemic remains a major threat to South Sudan’s population and elsewhere in Africa. The Bank will continue to work with the government of South Sudan and its development partners like the WHO to ensure a timely response to the pandemic and future public health emergencies to save lives and livelihoods,” Kanu said.

Through the Bank’s grant, World Health Organisation also renovated three isolation facilities in Wau, Yei and Nimule for the management of COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms who do not require hospitalization.

“The installation of the oxygen plant will be a great boost to provide intensive care treatment to the critically ill COVID-19 patients” Dr Fabian Ndenzako, the WHO Representative for South Sudan said.

By August 31, South Sudan had 11,446 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 120 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.

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