01 December 2021, Addis Ababa – On 30 November 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) delivered to the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) 500 of the 3,000 oxygen cylinders procured for the institute to improve access to oxygen for critical care and strengthen the oxygen capacity of health facilities providing COVID-19 treatment services.
“As COVID-19 continues to be a major public health concern causing severe illness and death in Ethiopia, it is imperative that we join hands with the government including through the provision of critical equipment and supplies to support every aspect of pandemic response,” said Dr Jane Maina, Officer in Charge of the WHO Ethiopia Emergency Preparedness and Response programme.
As countries go through waves of the pandemic, hospitalizations overwhelm health systems, putting an enormous burden on health workers and disrupting essential health services. Patients needing critical care will have to wait in line to receive life-saving interventions due to shortages created from case surge. WHO is making this donation of oxygen cylinders to mitigate such overwhelming challenges to the Ethiopian health system and reduce complications and death from COVID-19 and other life-threatening conditions.
Mr Aschalew Abayneh, Deputy Director General of EPHI and National COVID-19 Incident Manager, appreciated WHO’s continued technical, financial and material support in the country’s response to COVID-19. “The continuous donations from WHO have demonstrated the organization's determination and commitment to fight the pandemic and build a community with a shared future for Ethiopia,” He said. “The donated cylinders will help hospitals provide the life-saving care their patients need, and ensure that patients will have access to uninterrupted oxygen while receiving treatment.”
The 3,000 oxygen cylinders were procured at a total cost of 53,618,355 Ethiopian birr, equivalent to 1,134,789 US dollars. The first batch of 500 cylinders was delivered at the handing-over ceremony today and the remaining 2,500 cylinders will be delivered in batches over the next couple of months.
WHO remains committed to supporting the Government of Ethiopia’s efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 by enhancing prevention measures, supporting COVID-19 vaccination, and helping improve case management. The organization will continue to work with the government in strengthening the delivery of essential health services as well as response to the various health and humanitarian emergencies in the country alongside the response to COVID-19.