Bomet produces free oxygen, hospital doubles capacity

Governor says excess oxygen will be supplied at no cost to facilities in other counties and needy people with cylinders

In Summary

• Oxygen plant at Longisa County Hospital has increased production to 9,000 litres per hour from 4,000 litres.

• Excess will be available at no cost to facilities in neighbouring counties.

Bomet health officials and Governor Hillary Barchok (right) at the oxygen plant in Longisa Hospital.
BREATH OF LIFE: Bomet health officials and Governor Hillary Barchok (right) at the oxygen plant in Longisa Hospital.

Bomet county has doubled its production of medical oxygen to tackle the third wave of Covid-19 as Kenya faces a shortage of the gas.

Beyond handling the county's needs, the new plant will supply oxygen to neighbouring counties at no cost, Governor Hillary Barchok said. 

The oxygen plant at Longisa County Hospital has increased its production to 9,000 liters per hour from 4,000 litres.

The expansion was required by increased oxygen demand in two centres handling Covid-19 cases and other health facilities.

Health executive Joseph Sitonik said third wave of severe Covid-19 has increased demand for oxygen.

Speaking after inspecting the plant, Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok said the oxygen production at Longisa adds to production at Tenwek Mission Hospital.

“As a county we are set and have put in places mechanisms to handle the third wave,” Barchok said.

The governor said total production can supply all private and public facilities at all times.

“Our neighboring counties will be free to access the supply because we have enough. No facility should feel constrained when our plant is up and running and producing excess gas,” he said.

Barchok said facilities in Narok, Kisii, Nyamira, Kericho and Nakuru are free to request supply.

He said some facilities outside Bomet had already been supplied since the facility started operating more than a week ago.

Longisa Hospital and Tenwek Mission Hospital are the only institutions in the region producing oxygen.

Barchok said 2,500 people have already been vaccinated.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe recently deplored the shortage of medical oxygen for Covid and other patients.

He asked Kenyans hoarding cylinders for possible private use to surrender them for those in need.

The CS said some facilities are using cylinders instead of piped oxygen,which should not be the case.

The WHO recommends oxygen therapy for all severe and critical Covid-19 cases.

A recent survey of emergency case centres in Kenya indicted more than 30 per cent lack a regular supply of oxygen.

Close to 90 per cent of those with oxygen did not have piped oxygen in the emergency department and delivered oxygen directly from tanks to the patients.

(Edited by V. Graham)