UNICEF hands over 380 oxygen concentrators to Ministry of Health

ADDIS ABABA – UNICEF has handed over on Friday at least 380 oxygen concentrators to Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health in support of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The oxygen concentrators and their accessories were procured with funding from the US aid or USAID and the UK Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), according to the UN agency.

Some 100 of the concentrators will be allocated to the recently inaugurated field hospital in Addis Ababa under St. Peter’s Hospital.

Minister of Health Dr. Lia Tadesse has expressed her gratitude to the agencies for their support to Ethiopia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are delighted that these concentrators have come at a time when Ethiopia needs them most,” she said.

The number of COVID-19 cases are increasing every day. The country confirmed more than 600 infections today to take the total number of COVID-19 cases to more than 67, 500 cases.
Health officials believe the concentrators as well as previously donated ventilators could help save lives of many that would have otherwise been lost due to COVID-19.

“Oxygen concentrators are essential in treating patients with a moderate to severe form of COVID-19,” said UNICEF Deputy Representative in Ethiopia Michele Servadei. “We have no doubt that the oxygen concentrators will save precious lives, and for this, we are immensely grateful to USAID and the FCDO for their generosity.”

Oxygen concentrators are medical equipment that filter the surrounding air and compress it to the required density to deliver purified medical oxygen to patients needing respiratory support.

The equipment will not only support the treatment of patients suffering from severe forms of COVID-19, but in the long-term, it will be repurposed for the treatment of pneumonia in children, one of the leading causes of child deaths in Ethiopia.

“Today’s event is a great example of the power of partnerships, which has made possible the procurement of this essential oxygen equipment. Only together will we – as partners, as countries, and together as a strong, unified global community – prevail over the coronavirus pandemic,” said USAID Mission Director Sean Jones.

“The British Government has a valued partnership with the Government of Ethiopia to address the challenges of COVID-19. We look forward to continued collaboration and partnership to address this global challenge and strengthen essential health care provision,” said Dr. Christian Rogg, FCDO Development Director in Ethiopia.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, UNICEF in Ethiopia has allocated 1,000 pulse oximeters – used to determine how much oxygen one has in the blood – to COVID-19 treatment centers around the country and 6,000 pulse oximeters for non-COVID related retreatment.

In addition, UNICEF has provided personal protective equipment for over 200,000 health workers in Ethiopia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.