POMGEN to produce oxygen to meet rising demand

Tuesday 16 November  2021

Officials from the Department of Health and World Health Organisation, in front of the PSA Oxygen Plant at Port Moresby General Hospital.

Papua New Guinea now has an operating Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Oxygen Plant at the Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) that will allow for oxygen to be produced safely on site at medical quality standards with a higher production capacity. 

The plant was officially commissioned yesterday, Monday, 15 November, 2021, and  is the only operating plant in the country. 

Minister for Health, Hon. Jelta Wong, said this will meet the demand for oxygen with the current surge in COVID-19 cases, announcing plans for an additional three plants to be installed in strategic parts of the country under the Marape-Basil government.

Oxygen is a major component of COVID-19 treatment as the virus affects the lungs and causes breathing difficulties in moderate to severe cases. COVID-19 patients who are admitted to hospital in these categories will require oxygen.

“Due to the current surge of COVID-19 patients, the requirement of Oxygen has increased by almost 200% in most hospitals. As part of meeting this demand, we have tried to look for other ways to supplement oxygen,” said the Minister.

The PSA plant, constructed in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) through its donors and the Government of Papua New Guinea, will produce 40 to 50 cylinders per day. 

WHO Country Representative Ms. Anna Maalsen speaking at the launch said this was a direct result of a conversation last year between Hon. Prime Minister James Marape and WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva. 

The PSA Oxygen Plants have been identified by WHO as a strategy to address oxygen shortage which has been a worldwide issue during COVID-19 surges. 

“To meet the demand of the current surge Papua New Guinea is experiencing, WHO is very pleased to be able to support Port Moresby General Hospital and the country with its first operating PSA Oxygen Plant,” said Ms Maalsen.

“The plant will also offer PMGH an alternative source of supply which will reduce the dependence on suppliers in the long term as well as help reduce oxygen bills,” she said.

WHO has been working with partners to fund the setting up of this plant as well as to provide the technical expertise and training to build up local capacity and maintain this plant. 

“If maintained properly, this facility can last up to 25-years,” said Ms. Maalsen. 

Hon. Jelta Wong thanked WHO for this initiative, which he said will help save lives, while urging Papua New Guineans to do their part to ease the burden on hospitals, by following Niupela Pasin measures and taking the vaccine available to them. 

PMGH Chief Executive Officer Dr. Paki Molumi on behalf of the Board and Management of PMGH, thanked WHO for their support, as well as the Minister, the Government and all those involved in PMGH having the first oxygen generation plant.

WHO Country Representative Ms. Anna Maalsen speaking during the commissioning of the  PSA Oxygen Plant on Monday 15 November 2021.
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