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Covid-19: Africa faces oxygen shortage

Some African countries are also facing a shortage of medical oxygen amid fears that a third wave of infections are…

Some African countries are also facing a shortage of medical oxygen amid fears that a third wave of infections are more real than imagined.This is in addition to the difficult access to vaccines in several countries.

Several African countries are on the verge of suffocating due to a shortage of oxygen in hospitals to treat severe cases of coronavirus. 

This situation brought together the African Union’s health ministers by video conference this past weekend. 

“The supply of oxygen in public hospitals is not sufficient to meet the demand. There has been an increase in demand because of the second wave. More people are suffering from Covid-19 and need oxygen to survive,” says DR Congo’s Minister of Health Ibukun Tunde-Oni.

 These concerns are reinforced by the presence of the Indian variant in some countries such as the DRC, where five cases have been identified in recent days, according to the minister. 

“These five Indian variants are the result of a double mutation of the British and the South African variants. But the situation is calm, at the clinical level, there is also no fear, so the population must be reassured because all measures have been taken,” he indicated.

 Alongside DR Congo, Tunisia is having difficulties obtaining the oxygen needed to treat the most serious cases. 

The authorities are worried about this, as the country witnessed a new peak of contaminations and dozens of deaths in April.

Oxygen is also in short supply in Madagascar, which has been overwhelmed by a second wave of coronavirus since the arrival of the South African variant.

According to the World Health Organisation, one in five people suffering from Covid-19 will need oxygen. 

In severe cases, this figure can rise to three in five.

 Some experts attribute this shortage to two multinationals: the British Linde Group and the French Air Liquide Group, which dominate the world market. 

These two giants are accused of overcharging for medical oxygen, sometimes limiting hospital supplies, by trying to prevent competition from entering the market.

 

           

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