The plants, worth M10 million, were handed over by the government to Motebang Hospital in Leribe and Mafeteng Hospital. Speaking at the handover ceremony, Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro said there was a time when Basotho were dying in large numbers due to Covid-19.
Majoro said they had to meet as the government and health officials to find ways of reversing the high number of deaths. He said they approached companies which supply oxygen “that came with so many excuses to make deliveries since even South Africa was in need of more oxygen in their health facilities”.
“With this installation of an oxygen generating plant, Lesotho is now in a position to generate its own oxygen,” Majoro said.
Majoro said this plant is capable of generating 40 tanks of 50 litres per day. He said this plant produces 97 percent oxygen concentrated substance. He said oxygen, which will be generated by the plant, would still be enough for the country.
“We will need other countries’ assistance just for topping up if ever the condition gets worse,” he said.
Minister of Health Semano Sekatle said the mandate of the ministry is to prevent the spread of illness, “if ever the illness has spread, we should provide the medication to cure such illnesses”.
He said ever since Covid-19 hit the country, they have been pleading with the people to take measures to avoid being infected by the disease. Sekatle said when the Covid-19 has spread, they plead with the people to go to health facilities so that they can be tested and get medication before their condition deteriorates.
“This is to avoid more deaths in health facilities,” he said. Sekatle said they realised that oxygen is necessary in fighting Covid-19 hence they installed the oxygen generating plant at Motebang Hospital.
He said they will also be installing another oxygen plant at Mafeteng Hospital. “This is only the beginning, we want the distribution of oxygen into the patient wards,” he said.
The country Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Richard Banda, said “we have lost so many lives due to Covid-19”. He said it is not only the public health service which is at risk but the development programmes as well.
He said the installation of the plant is a milestone in the fight against Covid-19. “Not only will the plant help Covid-19 treatment, it will also help to strengthen the country’s health system,’’ he said.
Dr Banda said the WHO and the other partners are doing everything in their power to find ways of scaling up therapeutics as much as possible, as fast as possible.