Malawi Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda on Tuesday launched the National Oxygen Ecosystem Roadmap for 2021-2026 which seeks to ensure equal access to safe medical oxygen for all Malawians.
The minister also launched the Emergency and Critical Care Strategy 2021-2031. The Strategy seeks to save lives and prevent disability through provision of universal essential emergency care to all Malawians.
Speaking after the launch, Kandodo Chiponda said the two strategies will play a big role in Malawi health sector and most importantly the two strategies have come at a time when the World Health Organisation is urging member states to strengthen emergency and critical care services, through development of national surgical, obstetric and anesthesia plans , as a way of working towards universal health coverage.
“With the coming of Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for oxygen has been so huge because it was one of the most important things which we had to administer to our patients with Covid-19. But also apart from Covid-19, we have some new babies when they are born they have some challenges and you have to put them on oxygen.
“So, we have come up with the national oxygen ecosystem roadmap which we are going to implement from 2021 to 2026.
Basically, we are trying to do the assessment of all the issues regarding oxygen therapy in all our facilities and their availability to make sure that we have oxygen plants in our hospitals but also to have trained personnel as well,” said Chiponda.
On emergency and critical care strategy, Chiponda said this is a very important strategy because it looks at how to handle patients especially in an emergency like road accidents.
In his remarks, Chairperson of the parliamentary committee on health Hon. Dr Matthews Ngwale, M.P. said the strategies are very important because they will help a lot of people in terms of recovery.
“Most people have been helpless whenever they have been in an accident in terms of supplying of oxygen. So, this strategy addresses that but also there is fourth wave of covid-19 now and a lot of people are still suffering because of absence of oxygen, so this one also will be very helpful in this regard,” explained Ngwale.
The two policy documents have been produced with support from various partners including, Unicef, Partners in Health, GIZ and Path.