The national referral and Monggar Regional Referral hospitals will no longer have to depend on private industries to supply medical oxygen. This is because the two hospitals received two Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Medical Oxygen Generator Plants each. The Ministry of Health inaugurated the plants today. With the installation of the plants, it is expected to ensure an uninterrupted supply of oxygen in the health centres.
The two plants will be able to produce and refill 100 medical oxygen cylinders in a day.
According to the data from the national referral hospital, until now, the hospital spends around Nu 19 M a year to refill the oxygen cylinders. But not anymore.
Medical oxygen is an essential medicine used for patients at all levels of the healthcare system including surgery, trauma, and maternal and child care.
According to health officials, the need for such a plant in the hospitals arose when the country was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officials added that in times of emergency, such as during the lockdowns and roadblocks due to monsoon, delivering oxygen cylinders was challenging.
“We will have sufficient oxygen not only for the pandemic but also for routine medical needs. I have been informed that there have been numerous transportation issues with cylinders from Monggar to Thimphu, a journey that typically takes two days. This problem will be completely resolved. Our hospital will be self-sufficient, and with a steady oxygen supply, we can even assist other district hospitals,” said Dr BB Rewari, Acting WHO Representative.
To produce medical oxygen, the atmospheric air passes through an internal filtration and adsorbent system to separate nitrogen from the air.
The plant then purifies the remaining oxygen. The plants are guaranteed to function for at least ten years.
The World Health Organization funded the plants costing over USD 700,000 which is around Nu 58 M. The Ministry of Health proposed the construction of the plants some two years ago.
The ministry is also planning to install another plant in the regional referral hospital in Gelephu.