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Build Health International Completes Assessment of Critical Oxygen Infrastructure in Guinea-Bissau, in Partnership with World Health Organization
Assessment provides data on the status of five key oxygen plants to guide repair and maintenance and increase oxygen capacity in the fight against COVID-19
BEVERLY, MA, November 16, 2021 — Build Health International (BHI) announces the results of a recent assessment, undertaken in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), of five existing medical oxygen plants in Guinea-Bissau. The assessment found that one of the plants is currently non-functional, three are in need of significant repairs, and one is functioning without the need for repair.
This assessment – the second such project led by BHI following a similar effort in Malawi with support from the DAK Foundation – is critical as medical oxygen remains a vitally important tool in the fight against COVID-19, especially in countries without widespread access to vaccines. Yet, as local health officials and the international community work to expand access to medical oxygen, there is relatively little actionable information available about existing oxygen infrastructure, even though repairs and maintenance can often be the most efficient, cost-effective way to increase oxygen capacity.
“The major barriers we found were a lack of spare parts and low-quality electricity, both of which are critical to both the short- and long-term maintenance and efficacy of the oxygen systems,” said Steve Mtewa, BHI’s Facilities Biomedical Engineer and a member of the three-person assessment team. “For much of this equipment, a new piece is all it needs to be functional. But without access to these replacement parts, a simple fix becomes much more complicated.”
The assessment not only provides clear information on the current status of oxygen infrastructure in Guinea-Bissau, but the project team also prepared a report with specific recommendations for how to improve the functionality of the existing oxygen plants, including the provision of appropriate resources and in partnership with local officials and workers.
In a previous release from the WHO, Dr Jean-Marie Kipela, WHO Representative in Guinea-Bissau, stated that “this is a very important mission for the country as well as for WHO.” He also noted that “the current pandemic has reinforced Guinea-Bissau’s need for quality oxygen.”
About Build Health International:
Build Health International (BHI) believes that every person has a right to quality healthcare. Through the design, building, and maintenance of healthcare infrastructure in low resource settings, BHI develops dignified care spaces and solutions that elevate the quality and accessibility of healthcare worldwide. Working closely with Ministries of Health, partner organizations, and local workforces, BHI promotes sustainable design, empowers communities, and enables access to dignified and affordable healthcare in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.