Machakos to buy oxygen generators as county battles Covid-19 surge

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua ordered the procurement of oxygen generators to boost production in the Machakos Level 5 Hospital  [Denish Ochieng/Standard]

Governor Alfred Mutua yesterday ordered the county department of health to immediately procure oxygen generators to boost production in the Machakos Level 5 Hospital’s oxygen production plants.

Mutua, who toured the hospital to assess the progress of the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination exercise, said the Coronavirus pandemic had strained the hospital’s oxygen consumption leading to occasional its shortage at the facility.

“I have directed the Department of Health to immediately procure additional parts that will increase production of the plants,” Dr Mutua told journalists after inspecting the oxygen production plants.

Machakos County is currently battling huge numbers of Covid-19 infections which authorities have linked to acute strain on medical care and supplies.

The county boss noted that the Covid-19 pandemic had increased the demand for oxygen. “All the 460 cubic meters of oxygen produced at the Machakos Level 5 Hospital’s oxygen plants are under use with little left for filling the tanks. It is vital that we increase the capacity of our production in order to save lives,” said the governor.

According to the county Health CEC, Ancent Kituku, the daily consumption of oxygen at Machakos Level 5 Hospital is 770 cubic liters per 24 hours. Dr Kituku says the current deficit of oxygen stands at 310 cubic liters which is procured from BOC Kenya.

“We have engaged oxygen plant engineers to increase the capacity of the two oxygen plants so they can be increased to bridge the 310 cubic liters to supply the entire county,” said Dr Kituku.

But the governor expressed concern that the huge countrywide demand for oxygen cylinders mainly sourced from BOC Kenya could plunge many health facilities into acute shortage of the life-sustaining air.

“We are only lucky that we as a county government invested in the setting up of the oxygen plants here in Machakos. All we are now required to do is to increase the production capacity by procuring the essential accessories required to increase the production,” said Mutua.

The governor said more oxygen cylinders had been dispatched to the Covid-19 isolation facility domiciled at the Machakos Stadium which was set up to accommodate more patients.

Machakos is among the five counties which were declared Covid-infected zones of the country.

Earlier, Mutua toured the Machakos Level Five Covid-19 vaccination zone to assess the ongoing vaccination exercise.

President Uhuru Kenyatta last week ordered cessation of movement in and out of the five counties, including additional restrictions on public gatherings and extended curfew hours in a bid to reduce the high rate of infection.

The Coronavirus pandemic had strained the hospital’s oxygen consumption [Wilberforce Okwiri/Standard]

On Monday, the governor announced a raft of measures aimed at cushioning Machakos county residents from the recently imposed containment measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Key among the interventions is 100 percent waiver on interests and penalties of land rates for a period of 45 days as well as 50 percent waiver on public service vehicles (PSV) levies.

Small scale traders and vegetable traders will also enjoy 100 percent tax exemption as well as bodaboda riders until December 31, 2021.

“Tuk Tuk and maruti operators will also be spared 50 percent of levies until June 31, 2021. Fire licenses levied on all traders also stand suspended for the rest of the year,” said Mutua.

Residents who wish to subdivide land will also enjoy 100 percent waiver on applicable charges until June 30 this year. Whole sellers and distributers of essential consumables domiciled in Machakos will also enjoy 50 percent waiver on applicable tariffs.

Dr Mutua urged dealers in distribution of fast moving consumer products including food stuff and hygiene products to consider adjustment of the prices to the retailers who should in turn extend the same to the final consumers.

The governor also announced a 50 percent waiver on single business permits particularly targeting proprietors of private learning institutions which he said have also been hit hard by the pandemic.

He said the austerity measures announced last week by the President to stem the spread of Covid-19 had far reaching implications on the livelihoods of Kenyans and urged other leaders in charge of devolved governments to explore ways to cushion their people.