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No deaths happened due to oxygen shortage, says Mulago boss

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No deaths happened due to oxygen shortage, says Mulago boss

Dr. Baterana


The administration of Mulago National Referral Hospital has disputed claims published in one of the dailies that some covid19 patients died at the facility due to lack of oxygen.

Dr. Baterana Byarugaba, the Director General of Mulago Hospital on Tuesday Dec 2, dismissed the allegations saying that whereas some three covid19 patients died in August this year, the cause of their deaths was not necessarily lack of oxygen supply as the news article portrayed.

“The patients who include a 70-year-old referral from Rubaga ICU, a 27-year-old case referred from Hoima referral hospital and a 46-year-old case, all died of severe COVID19 that caused multiple organ dysfunction. That is what happened, it is therefore not true that the patients died due to lack of oxygen, not true at all. During this period Mulago hospital ICU had other patients who posted better outcome, so it is not that patients come to Mulago to die, N,” Baterana stressed.

Mulago has sufficient oxygen

Byarugaba further notes that the national referral hospital has a new oxygen plant that produces 283 litres of oxygen per minute which is sufficient enough to manage all the patients admitted at the hospital intensive care unit at any time.

“Currently Mulago has four functional plants which supply oxygen wherever it is required in the optimal amounts and optimal purity.The newly installed oxygen plants make it the largest oxygen plant in the country that is able to generate about 283 liters of oxygen per minute. In 24 hours, the plant can generate about 2 995 020 liters of oxygen which in normal circumstances can serve about 900 patients. That is why Am telling you, we (Mulago) have the capacity and we have oxygen to do it”-Dr. Baterana reveals.

The Director of Clinical Services at the Ministry of Health Dr. Charles Olaro added that even at the national level there is no problem of oxygen inadequacies since regional hospitals also have production plants that supply oxygen to their respective intensive care units in case need arises.

“All our regional referral hospital have a 15mm3 plant which can generate 40 to 50 cylinders of oxygen per day, Entebbe regional referral hospital will have its plant installed by the end of this week, Mbarara regional referral hospital has got 2 plants one of them connected directly like the one of Mulago Hospital and the other one is able to fill the cylinders,” Dr.Olaro.

However explaining the oxygen coverage, Dr.Olaro says the plant in Masaka currently has a broken cooling chamber which needs replacement and it is being worked on.

He quickly added that Masaka Hospital is currently filling their oxygen from Mbarara and Roofings while all the other regional referral hospitals are in good working order and they are meeting their oxygen needs.

There are two new regional referral hospitals which will be upgraded, it is now a policy of the health ministry that every regional hospital which is upgraded will have an oxygen plant. So Yumbe and Kayunga hospitals, which are going to be upgraded next year, are going to get oxygen plants according to Dr.Olaro.

“The Medical stores continue to supply oxygen to the health facilities across the country across the country because it is not only COVID19 patients that need oxygen” Dr. Olaro concludes

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