Health dismisses rumours of lack of oxygen

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By Neo Kolane

Health officials have rebuffed reports of an acute shortage of oxygen at government hospitals, following the recent death of a Covid-19 patient at the Mafeteng Hospital which also sparked rumours that the Berea Hospital had also run out oxygen. 

The two hospitals get their oxygen supply from the new oxygen plant installed at Partners in Health- supported Botśabelo Hospital, the first facility of its kind in Lesotho which will save lives during the respiratory COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

PIH Lesotho opened the plant last month in collaboration with Lesotho’s ministry of health. The facility is housed in a renovated shipping container on the campus of Botśabelo Hospital, the country’s only health facility for patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

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Officials at the Mafeteng Hospital yesterday told theReporter that the patient died of other causes, not the unavailability of oxygen. They said hospital currently has sufficient supplies of oxygen, although it sometimes experiences delayed delivery from Maseru.

Meanwhile, the ministry’s director for clinical services and head of COVID-19 case management Lucy Mapota underscored the importance of oxygen in the management of Covid-19.

“At least 137 Covid-19 patients were admitted to different hospitals in the country on Monday. A hospital needs 15 cylinders of oxygen a day. An oxygen cylinder lasts 24 hours, so this shows that there is need for constant supply of the gas.”