(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The ministry of health has received from UNICEF, new oxygen-generating plants and equipment to save the lives of children and their families, especially during emergencies.
With funding from Canada, UNICEF procured and installed at the cost of LKR 800 million, four major oxygen plants in Avissawella, Kegalle, Thissamaharama, and Udugama base hospitals from where oxygen will be generated and distributed using cylinders to 30 other health facilities across the country.
A handover ceremony was held at Udugama base hospital in Galle district where the Minister of Health, Dr Ramesh Pathirana received the equipment from Mr Christian Skoog, UNICEF Representative in Sri Lanka and Mr Eric Walsh, High Commissioner for Canada in Sri Lanka and Maldives.
The project, which will benefit over three million people is part of UNICEF’s broader support to strengthen the health system to provide a constant supply of oxygen to maternal and childcare facilities, especially during emergencies.
“Access to essential health services for children and families at the most critical times, could be a matter of life and death,” said Christian Skoog, UNICEF Representative for Sri Lanka. “Through UNICEF’s assistance, these hospitals will have an integrated system to provide a continuous supply of medical oxygen to support in-patient care and emergency medical treatment including for newborn babies and their mothers during complicated childbirth and children suffering from pneumonia,” he said.
Each oxygen plant can produce 20,000 liters of oxygen per hour and fill fifty, 50-liter size cylinders within a space of 24 hours. UNICEF also supported the installation of power generators so that the oxygen plants can remain functional even during power outages.
With the contribution of different partners, UNICEF has for long supported the Ministry of Health to strengthen the quality of health services for children across the country, especially during emergencies.