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CRSG inaugurates State Oxygen Committee

By Kenneth Anam

Research has shown the existing gap in low and middle income countries as regards access to oxygen and its attendant risk.

The importance of oxygen for several ill patients cannot be overemphasized as this has resulted in the death of many.
Hypoexemia, a medical condition associated with lack of oxygen, has caused over 800,000 deaths annually, necessitating the need to address the issue of lack of oxygen, especially in health facilities.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated and highlighted the weaknesses and gap in the ailing oxygen system in Nigeria, and Cross River State in particular. In view of this, the Cross River State Government considers it necessary to bridge the gap and ensure perfect conditions to safety of lives of her citizens.

The CRSG through the CRSMOH reiterating her commitment to collaborating with relevant stakeholders and partners to make oxygen access a top priority inaugurated a committee saddled with the task of regulating the operations of the CRS oxygen management.

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Speaking at the inauguration, the Honourable Commissioner For Health, Dr. Janet Ekpenyong stated that it was expedient to put this in place as a result of the rate of loss of lives to preventable deaths as a result of lack of oxygen as exposed by several pandemics/epidemics. She stated that to bridge the gaps, the Federal and State Governments resolved to support the provision of standard oxygen facilities across the state.

She however noted that the Federal Government in partnership with UNICEF has shown support through provision of oxygen plants to states and Cross River State is one of the major beneficiaries, with the ongoing construction of the oxygen project plants at the General Hospital Mary Slessor.

Speaking further Dr. Ekepenyong briefed the team that the Federal Government through the Global Funding Support has agreed to build capacity beyond giving just oxygen facilities, but to ensure capable hands are trained to ensure proper management as a way of building a more resilient and strengthened system from the Local to State Government level.

Also worthy of note was her assurances that the state government is committed to ensure that functional oxygen centres are proposed and cited in Ugep, Ogoja and Obudu even as she assured that plans to engage bio-medical engineers and other professionals for facilities in Ogoja and Obudu German Hospital are ongoing to ensure easy access to oxygen.

The Cross River State Oxygen Management Committee supported by Global Fund COVID-19 INITIATIVE by Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) is saddled with the duties of overseeing and training health care workers on the uses of Oxygen facilities in the state, Coordinate oxygen sites across the State, training of biomedical engineers and technicians on use and repairs of basic Oxygen Equipments, developing a holistic oxygen policy for use across the state amongst others.

The permanent Secretary CRSMOH Dr.Pauline Obute called on the team to work on the reduction of mortality occasioned by lack of access to Oxygen as Dr. Janet Ekpenyong formally inaugurated the Committee reading out the terms and reference to the team whilst charging them to use the opportunity for the betterment and service of Cross Riverians.

The membership cuts across both private and public institutions and members of the State Oxygen Management Committee are Dr.Etim E Ayi, Dr. Jonah Offor, Dr (Mrs.) Pauline Obute, Mr. Casmir Ugbong, Mr.Patrick Odu, Engr. Emmanuel  Adie, Engr. Levor Bassey, Dr.Etim E Ayi, Mr.Inimfin Akpabio, Etong Rebecca.

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