Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Implementation of Zambia’s first ever five-year National Medical Oxygen Strategic Plan will cost US1.6 billion


Minister of Health Sylvia T. Masebo has disclosed that the implementation of Zambia’s first ever five-year (2022-2026) National Medical Oxygen Strategic Plan (ZNMOSP) will cost US1.6 billion.

Ms. Masebo on Thursday morning participated in a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a medical oxygen production plant at Kitwe Teaching Hospital in the Copperbelt province.

At the same ceremony, the Minister of Health officially launched Zambia’s first ever five-year (2022-2026) National Medical Oxygen Strategic Plan (ZNMOSP).

The development of the strategic plan was supported by PATH and its implementation will cost the Government of the Republic of Zambia, whilst the oxygen production plant will be procured and constructed by UNOPS with financial support from Sweden and UNICEF, at an estimated $US1.7

This plant will serve 5 districts in Copperbelt province, including Kitwe Teaching Hospital and 42 health centres in Kitwe district of which 16 health centres are for basic emergency obstetric and new-born care providing access to quality oxygen.

“COVID-19 taught us that access to oxygen can be the difference between life and death for many patients. Oxygen is also a critical treatment for children with pneumonia, which remains the leading infectious killer of children under 5 years
globally. Thanks to the generous contributions of Sweden and UNICEF, the Government of the Republic of Zambia is now in a better position to respond to the needs of the patients requiring oxygen therapy every day. This will help to save many lives,” said Ms. Masebo.

Through a UN-to-UN agreement, UNICEF engaged with UNOPS to undertake this Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) oxygen plant construction project that consists of design and technical services, oxygen plant building works, back-up generator
(130kVA) and its shed, power correction stabilizers, and a duplex PSA oxygen plant.

UNICEF Representative in Zambia Dr Penelope Campbell said Oxygen is an essential medicine for treating children.

“Pneumonia kills 2,000 children under the age of five each day globally, at least one child every 45 seconds. In Zambia, pneumonia is still the leading cause of under-five deaths. In 2021, as per the global estimates, 20 per cent of total estimated 37,822 under-five deaths in Zambia were due to pneumonia. Oxygen is an essential medicine for treating children who suffer from this disease. Thus, it is a priority for UNICEF to bring oxygen closer to children and other patients who need it. We are certain that this newly established plant will help the Government better plan for and address oxygen needs, especially among those most vulnerable and at risk,” explained Dr Campbell.

As part of the project, and in addition to the installation, plant operators will be trained on basic maintenance and operations of the PSA oxygen plant to ensure sustainability.

The project will be implemented over a period of twelve months ending in May 2024.

Swedish Ambassador to Zambia Johan Hallenborg said:”Sweden is committed to supporting the Government of the Republic of Zambia to strengthen their health system and build resilience that will ensure provision of quality essential health services. It is important that investments that were initially meant for the COVID-19 pandemic continue being leveraged to improve the wellbeing of all Zambians. We recognize that oxygen therapy is an essential medicine that is vital for ending preventable deaths especially for mothers and children, which is a priority for us.”

PATH’s Chief of Africa Region Dr. Nanthalile Mugala said the organisation will support the Ministry of Health to raise the US$1.6 billion required to implement the Zambia National Medical Oxygen Strategic Plan that has been launched.

“At PATH, scaling up medical oxygen availability in Zambia has been our top priority ever since the COVID-10 pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of our healthcare system. Our efforts are now going to be focused heavily on effectively coordinating medical oxygen partners and supporting the Government of Zambia through Ministry of Health to raise the US$1.6 billion required to implement the Zambia National Medical Oxygen Strategic Plan that has been launched,” Dr. Mugala said.


  1. It’s a hollow statement because the amount attached to it is too huge. Oxygen is extracted from the air. There are now many Chinese oxygen plants that are able to produce oxygen for both medical and industrial use. How many will be constructed out of that amount? The Engineering Institution must take immediate keen interest. And for their part, how will they help Government reduce such exaggerated costs? 59yrs of Independence and government employed biomedical engineers can’t even repair an oxygen concentrator! What kind of people are we?

  2. By the way, I hope she took time to see how unkempt the former Llewellyn Hospital has become. KTH isn’t ready to properly handle any emergencies. The filter wards at OPD can’t accommodate the huge number of referrals, apart from being dirty. Mkushi Ward has been nicknamed as abattoir due to the high death rate. Sit Roy Welensky must be spinning in his grave when he looks at how his hospital has deteriorated

  3. I’ve been waiting for Sylvia Masebo to issue a statement on the carpark at UTH. She can’t pretend like she doesn’t know that it’s not being used because of the crack in the structure. Was the contractor a UPND member? I ask because the only corruption they see is that of PF. You can’t waste such huge amount of money on a structure that can’t be used and no one is held accountable! Can you send 200 Buju to sort out that issue and I’ll support you

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