By Joyce Remi-Babayeju
UNICEF and IHS Nigeria, a subsidiary of IHS Towers, has announced an 18-month partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health to help supply oxygen in hospitals for the treatment of pneumonia, COVID-19 and other hypoxemia disorders in newborn babies and pregnant women.
The new partnership covers Ogun, Oyo, Kano, Bauchi, Kaduna, Ebonyi, Cross Rivers, and Rivers states.
According to UNICEF, over 120,000 children in Nigeria die every year from hypoxemia, making the availability of oxygen critical to improving health outcomes and reducing mortality due to pneumonia by 35% , which is seldom available and often expensive.
Oxygen is a life-saving medical gas used in the treatment of respiratory illnesses and support various healthcare provisions such as emergency obstetric care, surgery, and anaesthesia.
UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins said, “With limited access to supplemental oxygen, the line between life and death is blurred for critically ill patients with pneumonia and severe COVID-19 symptoms, adding that in Nigeria , this situation is, unfortunately, the reality for many.”
“At UNICEF, we value our strong partnership with IHS Nigeria. It is only through joint efforts and the support of trusted partners like IHS Nigeria that we can deliver robust healthcare and advance other sustainable development goals to all Nigerians,’’ Hawkins said.
CEO IHS Nigeria Mohamad Darwish, said, “We are delighted to be contributing further to the provision of healthcare in Nigeria. When we read about the number of deaths in Nigeria that could be avoided by making oxygen available, such projects become a must-do rather than an option. ”
Darwish stated , “By working collaboratively, we believe we can help improve the health and well-being of our communities and thereby express a very small token of appreciation to our beloved country and the communities that host us. ”
He prayed that the partnership will encourage others in the private sector to contribute to the delivery of vital healthcare for women and children across Nigeria.
Under the new collaboration, oxygen plants will be installed in health facilities and incorporated into state-specific oxygen resilience plans, including training healthcare workers on the safe administration of oxygen.