Access to oxygen

The World Health Organization recommends oxygen as an essential drug. It is a crucial component of essential emergency healthcare and is critical to prevent the deaths of the majority of the mothers and newborns dying in the region. Yet, oxygen is rarely available in health facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa once you move out of cities.

Supply of oxygen is irregular and is an expensive proposition for most facilities, which either run out of time while waiting for the delivery or out of money when it is available. CPHD has created an innovative solution to meet this challenge. It brings together the public sector and the private sector to set up an oxygen plant on the premises of a referral hospital. The plant meets the oxygen needs of the hospital and supplies the drug to other facilities nearby. Since the plant is right at the doorstep, it ensures that:

  • The supply is prompt
  • The prices are much lower

The initiative is called Hewa Tele, and is the first social enterprise to take off from the CPHD launch pad. The first plant was in Siaya, Western Kenya, in November 2014 with the support of GE Foundation and Assist International. It was created on a PPP model, between the Siaya County Government and Hewa Tele. It has been successful in:

  • Delivering oxygen at affordable rates at the doorstep of hospitals
  • Creating an oxygen generation and distribution network that is run by a private operator through a PPP agreement with the local government
  • Training health workers in uses of oxygen to ensure they apply this essential medicine to maximum cases to improve impact. This is essential since most of the use has been restricted to surgery and critically ill patients
  • Establishing a sustainable business model for oxygen manufacture and supply