The Governor of Anambra, Chief Willie Obiano, on Thursday inaugurated a multi-million Naira medical oxygen plant sited at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku in Awka.
Obiano, who performed the event in company of his wife, Ebelechukwu among litany of dignitaries from the state, described the event as “memorable”.
The governor said the event which coincided with his 64th birthday was crucial in many regards.
He said: “Oxygen is life and a critical component in the delivery of healthcare service and that is the reason my administration decided to invest in this project.”
The governor, who applauded the contributions of the immediate past commissioner for health in the execution of the project, said it had reached 95 per cent completion before the commissioner left.
Obiano added that the plant had the capacity to serve hospitals in the state and beyond, and directed that all 500 primary health centres in the state be given two bottles of oxygen cylinder free.
He said: “After this two, hospitals will pay for the oxygen they will come to demand from this plant.”
The Chief Medical Director of COOUTH, Dr Basil Nwankwo, thanked the governor for the project.
Nwankwo said the state had invested more than N2 billion in the hospital since about two years now.
He said that the projects included mother and child, mega laboratory, attraction of dedicated electricity line which now provide more 20 hours power supply to the hospital among others.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala, said the oxygen plant in Anambra had now positioned the state to blaze the trail in medical tourism.
The former Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Akabuike, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the plant was valued at about N500 million, saying that the project had initial completion period of six months.
Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim, Managing Director, Anambra State Oxygen Production Plant, said the plant was capable of producing 200 standard oxygen cylinders daily.
NAN learnt that the plant is currently the biggest in the South-East and was built primarily to meet local demands from medical installations in Anambra.
Ibezim said: “It is in a bid to ensure that emergency situations and many challenging health conditions of Anambra people are met that informed the building of the plant.
“Oxygen is important to the human body, especially in cases of trauma as a result of accidents, contraction during labour or severe asthma, when certain levels of oxygen will be needed to resuscitate victims.
“The World Health Organisation standard sets that you just don’t administer oxygen from air; you need to give a certain percentage of oxygen to assist in the revival process.
“Oxygen content is set at 93 per cent purity, plus or minus 3, which means the content must not get below 90 per cent or above 96. “
NAN reports that the event was attended by former Anambra Governor, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former Deputy Governor Emeka Sibeudu, Obi of Onitsha, Alfred Achebe and the Speaker, Anambra House of Assembly Uche Okafor among others.