Nigeria and the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, are to partner to strengthen the supply of oxygen to hospitals in eight states of the country for the treatment of pneumonia, COVID-19 and other hypoxemia disorders particularly in newborn babies and pregnant women.
The benefitting states are Ogun, Oyo, Kano, Bauchi, Kaduna, Ebonyi, Cross Rivers, and Rivers.
The partnership, which is for 18 months, is to be executed by IHS Nigeria, a subsidiary of IHS Towers.
A statement by the Communications Officer of UNICEF Nigeria, Blessing Ejiofor said the partnership aims to further support the Federal Ministry of Health in meeting demands for effective oxygen therapy in Nigeria.
According to her, IHS Nigeria has been a UNICEF partner since 2019, adding that under the new collaboration, oxygen plants would be installed in health facilities and incorporated into specific oxygen resilience plans, including training healthcare workers on the safe administration of oxygen.
Ejiofor said: “Oxygen is a life-saving medical gas used to treat respiratory illnesses and support various health care provisions such as emergency obstetric care, surgery, and anaesthesia.
“It is critical to improving health outcomes and reducing mortality due to pneumonia by 35%, yet, seldom available and often expensive.
“In Nigeria, over 120,000 children die each year due to hypoxemia. With limited access to supplemental oxygen, the line between life and death is blurred for critically ill patients with pneumonia and severe COVID-19 symptoms.
“It is only through joint efforts and the support of trusted partners like IHS Nigeria that we can deliver robust healthcare and advance other sustainable development goals to all Nigerians,’’ Hawkins said.
The Chief Executive Officer of IHS Nigeria, Mohamad Darwish said the organization was delighted to be contributing further to the provision of healthcare in Nigeria.
He added: “When we read about the number of deaths in Nigeria that could be avoided by making oxygen available, such projects become a must-do rather than an option.
“By working collaboratively, we believe we can help improve the health and well-being of our communities and thereby express a very small token of appreciation to our beloved country and the communities that host us.
“We also hope this partnership will encourage others in the private sector to contribute to the delivery of vital healthcare for women and children across Nigeria.”