120,000 Children Die Of Hypoxemia Annually In Nigeria – UNICEF

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said about 120,000 children die of hypoxemia annually in Nigeria. Hypoxemia occurs when oxygen levels in the blood are lower than normal.

This comes as the humanitarian organisation in partnership with IHS Nigeria, a subsidiary of IHS Towers, on Tuesday, donated a multi-million naira pressure swing absorption oxygen plant to the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital (OOUTH), Sagamu, Ogun State.

Handing over the 100 LPM capacity oxygen plant to the Ogun State government on Tuesday, the Chief of UNICEF, Lagos office, Celine Lafoucriere, noted that the organisation was committed to ensuring that no child in Nigeria dies from pneumonia and other hypoxemia disorders.

She said the outbreak of COVID-19 propelled UNICEF to donate oxygen plants to public hospitals in Nigeria.

Lafoucriere said, “Today marks a significant milestone for the people of Ogun state, particularly thousands of newborns and pregnant women suffering from pneumonia and other hypoxemia disorders whose fundamental right to life is about to take a positive turn with the handover of this oxygen plant close to need.

“Oxygen is life and a life-saving medical gas used for treating respiratory illnesses and supporting various healthcare provisions such as emergency obstetric care, surgery, and anesthesia.

“It is critical to improving health outcomes and reducing mortality due to pneumonia by 35 percent, yet, seldom available and often expensive.

“In Nigeria, about 120,000 children die every 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. This situation is, unfortunately, the reality for many.”

Governor Dapo Abiodun who commissioned the plant described it as a life-saving project.

Abiodun, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, recalled the unfortunate incidents of preventable deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic where patients could not access oxygen.

Abiodun thanked the donor promising that it would be put to use judiciously.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, said the plant has capacity to produce 300 liters per minute, saying it would never run out of gas.

Coker said the state government was already planning to establish oxygen plants in Ota, Ijebuode and three in Abeokuta.

She maintained that the Federal Government would monitor all oxygen plants, including that of Ogun.

The Chief Medical Director of the institution, Dr Oluwabunmi Fatungase, said the project aligned with the goals of the Governor Abiodun administration to transform healthcare delivery in the state with a focus on OOUTH.

“This gas plant is the first state and it is meant to serve all health institutions within and outside Ogun State,” she said.

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