Expanding Access to Liquid Medical Oxygen (LOX) in Nigeria
AN EPIC SUCCESS STORY
Nigeria detected the first case of COVID-19 on February 27, 2020. Since then, the pandemic has had four waves, with the states most affected being Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja. Consequently, the Nigerian health system has struggled to respond to increased demand for health care emanating from COVID-19 infections while maintaining health services for other diseases like malaria, TB, HIV, hypertension etc.
Severe COVID-19 illness requires critical care which may entail treatment with medical oxygen. Hence, the demand for medical oxygen has grown exponentially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hypoxemia is still a major cause of morbidity and mortality, with an estimated 625,000 annual deaths in Nigeria (including deaths unrelated to COVID-19).
Liquid oxygen (LOX) offers the most affordable cost-per-liter option to deliver oxygen to facilities with high demand.
USAID through the Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control (EpiC) is providing infrastructures to expand access to liquid medical oxygen which is a safe and efficient way of storing oxygen and guaranteeing ready access to medical oxygen.
8 health facilities were selected to receive support. They include:
- Federal Medical Center Owerri, Imo state
- University of Uyo Teaching hospital, Akwa Ibom state
- Federal Medical Center Yenegoa, Bayelsa state
- Federal Medical center Abeokuta, Ogun state
- Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi State
- Jos University Teaching Hospital, Plateau State
- Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, Nasarawa state
- National Hospital, Abuja, FCT.
One of the strategies to achieving efficiency of the LOX system is by strengthening the capacity of the healthcare workers to manage hypoxemia and use medical oxygen, with a good understanding of the liquid medical oxygen delivery systems.