Madam Stephanie S. Sullivan, the United States (U.S) Ambassador to Ghana, has announced new support for Ghana’s COVID-19 response.
The support includes the provision of oxygen generation equipment, supplies of oxygen cylinders and pulse oximeters, as well as the training of health staff and engineers in the use and maintenance of the equipment.
They are to support critical care patients nationwide and aid in the treatment of infectious diseases.
Madam Sullivan announced in Accra on Thursday, when she joined representatives of the Ministry of Health (MoH), Ghana Health Service (GHS), and members of Ghana’s national COVID-19 case management team at the Ghana Infectious Disease Centre (GIDC) at Kwabenya, for the outdooring of the first of the four oxygen plants for the country.
She also announced the outdooring of a $1.5million Negative Pressure Isolation System situated at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital at Ridge, saying that both facilities were donated through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid programme, respectively.
She said the oxygen support systems would enable Ghana to provide life-saving care for COVID-19 patients and build capacity for future medical needs.
Madam Sullivan spoke about the close partnership that existed between Ghana and the United States, saying, “The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us important lessons. No nation can act alone in the face of a pandemic.”
“It is not enough to only end the pandemic; together, it is important to build back a better world, one that is more prepared to prevent, detect, and respond to future biological threats, and where all people can live safe and healthy lives,” she said.
The Ambassador said the United States was, therefore, donating four oxygen plants, each with the capacity to produce 250 litres of oxygen per minute, which was enough for approximately 25 severely ill patients per day.
“In addition to the oxygen plant at the Ghana Infectious Disease Center, an oxygen plant has already been delivered to Cape Coast Municipal Hospital, and two additional plants will be delivered to Kumasi South Hospital and Tamale West Hospital,” she added.
Madam Sullivan said the pre-installation work, which included the necessary infrastructure, electricity connections, and piping, was supported by the USAID, to ensure sites were ready to receive the plants.
The USAID would, in addition, donate 28 high-flow, high-pressure oxygen concentrators to provide life-saving oxygen at healthcare facilities across Ghana’s 16 regions, with each specialised concentrator providing oxygen for three severely ill patients at a time, she said.
Madam Sullivan said the donation of the Negative Pressure Isolation System to the Ridge Hospital, would serve as an isolation system to provide critical care support for up to 30 COVID-19 patients to ensure safe care that prevented the spread of the virus in a climate-controlled isolation area.
She said the facility would be vital for the current management of COVID-19 cases and in the long-term, serve as essential equipment needed to deliver good quality medical services.
Madam Sullivan said the donations followed the arrival of the United States’ donation of over 1.2 million Moderna vaccines to Ghana on September 4, 2021, which was the largest vaccine donation Ghana had received to date.
She said the U. S Government had already donated 125 million vaccines to more than 80 countries, including more than 26 million in Sub-Saharan Africa alone, and also provided over $30 million to support Ghana’s COVID-19 response to address the immediate and medium-term effects of COVID-19 on the health, agriculture, and education sectors, as well as the hard-hit private sector.
Dr. Anthony Ofosu, the Acting Director-General, GHS, said oxygen supply had been a major challenge in Ghana’s fight against COVID-19 and thanked the U. S. government for the sustained support.
Both Dr. Joseph Oliver-Commey, the Director, Ghana Infectious Disease Centre, and Dr. Emmanuel Srofenyo, the Medical Director for the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, spoke about the overstretched bed capacity of their facilities due to the rising number of COVID-19 patients with severe to critical cases.
They said the support would help address the healthcare needs of the facilities and also help save costs.