•The Taskforce is working on a master plan as well as assessing the infrastructure and economies of scale per hospital to address the situation.
•They identified issues of service, maintenance and operations and pipping as a requirement.
The Ministry of Health has formed an 'Oxygen Task force' to deal with the gas cylinder shortage in the country amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The task force is working on a master plan as well as assessing the infrastructure and economies of scale per hospital to address the situation.
They identified issues of service, maintenance and operations and pipping as a requirement.
"...which we are currently working on to address with partners such as the World Bank and the French Government," the ministry said.
"All suppliers are working hard to address the shortage and ensure that the oxygen is available ."
The government moved with speed to put in place measures to ensure steady supply of oxygen in hospitals amid fears of low supplies and increasing demand.
According to the Health Ministry, the total production and requirement for the industry was about 410 tonnes as per last year.
But with the rising cases of critical care patients in need of oxygen in the country, that has quickly gone up to about 560 tonnes in January and the country is now heading for demand of double the last year figure at 880 tonnes.
"The demand for oxygen is high because of the Covid-19. but we are working with partners and suppliers to address the situation," the ministry said.
The government has called on individuals holding cylinders at home, those idle in health facilities and other institutions to release them as requirement for oxygen is critical, to allow for refill.
It is estimated that more than 20,000 cylinders are lying idle in various hands in the country. Each cylinder costs roughly Sh40,000.
The focus is now on both county and national health facilities to ensure they have piped oxygen to the bed sites, with the CS saying that in a lot of facilities, individual cylinders are being used per patient where there is an oxygen cylinder sitting next to a patient.
This, the CS said, is not only inefficient but also dangerous.