New Oxygen Plant commissioned at Lethem Regional Hospital

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony accompanied by United States Ambassador to Guyana Nicole Theriot and regional and health officials tour the plant

An Oxygen Generation Plant has been commissioned at the Lethem Regional Hospital in Region Nine.

The commissioning ceremony was led by Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony, who was accompanied by the United States (US) Ambassador to Guyana, Nicole Theriot.

In his address, Minister Anthony expressed gratitude to the US government for donating the plant. It is one of three donated to the country at a total cost of USD 500,000.

“One of the most [crucial aspects of healthcare] is ensuring that we have a reliable supply of oxygen on site. Before us having this plant, it was very difficult to get oxygen in the region, especially in the rainy season,” the health minister said.

He highlighted that, apart from saving lives, the plant will also result in significant cost savings. It previously cost between two and three million dollars monthly to transport oxygen from Linden to the region, in addition to the cost of bottling.

Since the plant began operations, close to $100 million have been saved.

“Think about that $100 million because we didn’t have to spend it on oxygen, we can take that and go build a health centre or do something else with it and that’s how important that is,” Minister Anthony underscored.

He also noted that last year 30 young Guyanese were trained as biomedical technicians. Minister Anthony emphasised that the partnership with the United States has greatly benefited Guyana’s healthcare system.

He recalled the US Government’s assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, including helping Guyana secure vaccines and providing support for cold storage. The US also aided in obtaining Paxlovid and antiretrovirals for HIV patients.

Additionally, the construction of the National Public Health Reference Laboratory was also funded by the US Government.

“I want us once again say a big thank you to the United States government for the collaboration that we’ve had over the years with them and it continued to collaboration that we’ll have with them as we move forward,” he stated.

Ambassador Theriot highlighted that her visit to the region was in the spirit of partnership and goodwill between the two countries.

She underscored the importance of good healthcare and education for the economic growth of a country.

“These oxygen generators are going to play an incredibly important role in advancing Guyana’s national emergency response capability, particularly in far-flung places,” the US ambassador stated.

She noted that the oxygen generators will provide a long-term, sustainable solution, provided they are properly maintained.

Recently, Aishalton benefitted from the distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets to combat malaria, and in November, a field hospital worth more than a million US dollars was donated.

“We are committed to the health and success of Guyana and to expanding our strong partnership and working together to achieve our goals and address threats whether they be from a pandemic or a belligerent neighbour,” Ambassador Theriot affirmed.

In addition to the oxygen plant, the government is also investing in major upgrades at the Lethem Hospital. The facility is slated to receive a brand-new operating theatre and an imaging suite, which will further enhance its capacity to provide comprehensive healthcare services to the region. [DPI]