Friday October 1, 2021
By Abdi Sheikh
General Director of Banadir Hospital, Fartun Sharif inspects the medical oxygen cylinder tanks at the public oxygen plant, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at the Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia September 28, 2021. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
MOGADISHU, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Somalia's first public oxygen plant opened on Thursday, in a ray of hope for a country where a lifesaving treatment for the coronavirus has been largely unavailable to patients during the pandemic.
Global demand for medical oxygen has surged with the COVID-19 pandemic, and many countries have experienced desperate shortages.
This and a lack of other equipment mean Africans seriously ill from COVID-19 are more likely to die than patients elsewhere, according to a study published in May by medical journal The Lancet, which cited data from 64 hospitals in 10 countries.
The new plant in Mogadishu was purchased for 282,000 euro ($240,700) from Turkey by the Hormuud Salaam Foundation, established by the country's largest telecoms company, Hormuud.
It will be installed at the Banadir Maternity and Children Hospital, where the foundation has also funded the repair of its COVID-19 ward.
The wing and the hospital's outer wall were partially destroyed during a nearby attack in July by Islamist al-Shabaab militants, who are fighting to overthrow the government.