UN launches Japanese-funded oxygen factories, $ 2.3 million vaccine storage in Borno




By Ifeanyi Nwoko

In a bid to increase the availability of medical oxygen in Nigeria and better preserve COVID-19 vaccines, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) on Tuesday launched a $ 2.3 million project in Borno.

The project, funded by the Japanese government, implemented by UNOPS and supported by the Northeast Development Commission (NEDC) was officially launched on Tuesday by Governor Babagana Zulum de Borno.

At the event. held physically in Abuja and virtually, Governor Zulum commended the Japanese government for its support in Borno and the northeast.

The Nigeria News Agency (NAN) reports that the project, which has a 12-month delivery period, will directly benefit nine hospitals and 139 primary health centers in Borno.

Providing an overview of the project, the UNOPS office in Nigeria stressed in a presentation that the aim of the project was to strengthen the delivery of health care and meet acceptable standards of medical care.

He said the project aligns strongly with Japan‘s diplomatic policies in Nigeria as well as the National Strategy for Scaling Up Medical Oxygen in Healthcare Facilities (2017 to 2022) and helps achieve the goals of sustainable development (SDGs).

According to the presentation, as part of the project, two medical oxygen plants will be built, one in Maiduguri State Specialized Hospital and in Biu General Hospital.

In addition, 23 primary health care centers will be equipped with direct-drive solar vaccine refrigerators.

Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria Shinozawa Takayuki, who joined virtually, declared the Japanese government’s commitment to the project.

In his remark, United Nations Resident Commission Edward Kaloon said plants were indeed necessary given the high oxygen demands caused by COVID-19.

He said COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses have exposed systemic weakness in global health systems as health facilities face a high risk of not having an adequate supply of oxygen.

“Statistics show that each year 4.2 million children suffer from severe pneumonia in low- and middle-income countries, including Nigeria.

“Therefore, this investment is timely and much needed, especially in Borno and other areas in the northeast.

“The two oxygen plants to be built by UNOPS will complement all other interventions aimed at significantly improving the system for managing severe COVID-19 cases, strengthening the resilience of the health system and improving health services. emergency in the state.

“Thus, Borno state will be better equipped to treat children with respiratory illnesses and respond to COVID-19,” he said.

He therefore said the project would support the implementation of the National Medical Oxygen Policy and help save the lives of patients in Nigeria, including the lives of 120,000 children under five per year.

While calling for the protection of all who would work on the project, Kaloon thanked the Japanese government for the support it has given.

The Director of UNOPS in Nigeria, Ifeoma Charles-Monwuba, stressed that oxygen is a life-saving medical gas that “is used to treat illnesses and meet other needs of the health system”.

She said the project was timely as the demand for oxygen was increasing: “There is an increasing demand for medical oxygen, therefore, this project will increase oxygen storage and increase vaccine storage capacity for patients. health centers. “

“At UNOPS, we believe we are well positioned to drive a broad oxygen response and increase the capacity of healthcare facilities to meet the desperate need for oxygen therapy.

“We will continue to work with key stakeholders in the implementation of this project and we are seeking further engagement with state regulators,” she said.

NAN reports that the project does not however cover distribution infrastructure to transport oxygen to other health facilities and biomedical equipment such as bottles, masks.

The project also does not cover the distribution and installation of solar refrigerators to beneficiary health establishments. (NOPE)


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