The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund on Tuesday handed over an oxygen plant to the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu.
The gesture was part of moves to ensure that there is abundant and affordable oxygen for patients who need it due to the ailments they are suffering from such as COVID-19, bronchitis, pneumonia, and hypoxemia among others.
The oxygen plant donated by UNICEF in partnership with IHS, will be producing 300 litres of oxygen per minute.
Dignitaries at the event included the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tokunbo Talabi, Akarigbo and Paramount Ruler of Remoland, Oba Babatunde Adewale Ajayi, the Chairman, Board of Directors of the teaching hospital, Dr Kunle Hassan representatives by Rotn Abimbola Solu, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker and Chief Medical Director of the teaching hospital, Dr Olubunmi Fatungase among others.
Speaking at the event, the Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Lagos, Ms Celine Lafoucriere, said the plant would be of benefit to the people of the state, particularly thousands of newborns and pregnant women.
Lofoucriere expressed optimism that the lives of the newborns and pregnant women suffering from pneumonia and other hypoxemia disorders will take a positive turn with the handover of the oxygen plant.
She noted that oxygen is life and a life-saving medical gas used for treating respiratory illnesses and supporting various healthcare provisions such as emergency obstetric care, surgery, and anaesthesia.
Lafoucriere added that the seldom and often expensive oxygen is critical to improving health outcomes and reducing mortality due to pneumonia by 35%.
“With limited access to supplemental oxygen, the line between life and death is blurred for critically ill patients with pneumonia and severe COVID-19 symptoms. This situation is, unfortunately, the reality for many. As an organization with a mandate for children, we are excited at the turn of events today.
“Our goal should be to reach a level in Nigeria, not just Ogun state, where no child dies from a preventable cause beyond pneumonia and other hypoxemia disorders. All children have the right to reach their full potential in health and well-being.
UNICEF is fully committed to working with governments at all levels to provide quality healthcare accessible and affordable to every mother and every child”, the UNICEF Chief stated.
She congratulated the Ogun State Government and commended the Commissioner for Health for her commitment and drive, which according to her contributed to the establishment of the gas plant.
In his remarks, Governor Abiodun, represented by the Secretary to State Government, Mr Tokunbo Talabi, thanked UNICEF for donating the plant to the state, promising that the facility will be adequately utilized.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Coker said the plant will make oxygen more affordable and available to the end users.
She added that plans were underway to establish three oxygen plants in Abeokuta and one Ota by the state government.
The CMD, OOUTH, Dr Fatungase, said the plant will further elevate the tertiary health institution to a first-class healthcare delivery facility in Ogun State, Nigeria and beyond.
She noted that though sited in the OOUTH, the first state-owned oxygen plant in the country will serve all health institutions within the state and outside the state.
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