The Scottish Government has awarded a grant of more than £270,000 to supply 300 oxygen concentrators to treat Covid-19 patients in Africa.
The funding will allow Kids Operating Room, a global health charity with a base in Dundee, to distribute 100 items of vital equipment each to Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that a third wave of coronavirus cases in Africa could get worse as new and faster spreading variants drive infections.
One of the biggest impacts of the rise in Covid-19 cases across the continent is a shortage of oxygen and oxygen concentrators.
‘Very serious, very quickly’
External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson said: “The Covid situation in Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia has become very serious, very quickly, and we know that the pressure on health services are putting great stress on their infrastructure, especially in relation to the delivery of oxygen to patients.
“This funding for oxygen concentrators will go some way to help ease the current stress on the health services in our three African partner countries, and we are delighted to work with Kids Operating Room to make sure this vital equipment is put to use as soon as possible.
“Scotland remains fully committed to playing our part in tackling shared global challenges, and we are committed to increase the International Development Fund (IDF) by 50% to £15 million.
“As the global pandemic continues, we firmly believe this is not the time to turn our back on the poorest and those in dire need – instead, this is precisely the moment when we should be living up to our core values.”
Oxygen needed to fight Covid-19
Kids Operating Room is a Scottish global health charity with bases in Dundee, Edinburgh and Nairobi.
It works directly with local surgeons and their teams across Africa and South America to transform hospital spaces into dedicated operating rooms for children’s surgery.
David Cunningham, the chief executive officer of the charity, said: “Our model is to listen to doctors, then give them what they need – right now, the message is coming back loud and clear that what they need is access to more oxygen to fight Covid-19.
“Oxygen concentrators are key pieces of equipment that are needed to meet the region’s critical oxygen shortage.
“They are suitable for all ages and durable for years to come post-Covid, making them incredibly essential to support the health services in the long-term.”