Liberia’s first medical oxygen plant has been established to address critical cases needing life support in a country where healthcare delivery remains poor.
The plant has been set up by the World Health Organization (WHO), with funding from partners including the governments of Germany, Canada and the US.
It has a capacity to produce 100 cylinders of medical oxygen per day, according to the WHO.
An excited President George Weah joined dignitaries at an old peacekeeping force headquarters called “Star Base” in western Monrovia on Tuesday to launch the plant.
President Weah declared his administration was now putting in place a robust plan to tackle Liberia’s crippling health challenges.
Health Minister Wilhelmina Jallah said local hospitals should now know Liberia had an oxygen plant they could order from.
Before the onset of Covid and during most of the initial period of the outbreak, Liberia had fewer than five medical oxygen tubes, in a country of over five million people.
The new plant is intended to serve an estimated population of about two million inhabitants in the capital, Monrovia, and surrounding regions, the WHO says. Twenty local biomedical technicians and operators have been trained by a team from South Africa to operate the facility.
Another plant will be installed in the western Liberian region of Bomi, toward the border with Sierra Leone.
Liberia lost the highest number of the more than 11,000 people who died in the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola outbreaks due to factors including lack of oxygen.