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On Friday, January 26, 2024, the UNICEF Enugu Field Office, led by Juliet Chiluwe, Chief Field Office, undertook a crucial inspection of the Oxygen plant project situated at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. This visit marks a pivotal step toward the imminent handover of the project, with key stakeholders present to assess its functionality and readiness.

The UNICEF team, accompanied by Dr. Ifeyinwa Anyanyo, Health Specialist, UNICEF Enugu Field Office, was warmly received by Dr. Moses Ekuma, the Commissioner of Health of Ebonyi State, and Dr. Uchenna Nwaedu, Ag. Chairman Medical Advisory Committee, AEFUTHA, along with the D-CMAC, Dr Chijioke Ogeh, Coordinator Emergency Medicine and Emergency Disaster Response Dr. Collins Ugwu and their dedicated teams. Together with the Supervisory Engineer of the project, Engr Innocent Ekwuma, Head, Department of Biomedical, AEFUTHA, they meticulously inspected the facility, its equipment, and engaged in discussions regarding operational strengths and challenges.

Addressing the media, Dr. Moses Ekuma expressed that the collaborative effort between UNICEF and the Ebonyi State Government aims to mitigate oxygen-related causes of maternal and prenatal mortality rates. He affirmed the project's positive impact, stating that "the plant is functional, with the only pending task being the installation of the backup generator." Dr. Ekuma emphasized the project's significance in saving lives and meeting the oxygen demand of hospitals in the region, urging the replication of such initiatives across the state.

Dr. Uchenna Nwaedu, Ag. Chairman Medical Advisory Committee, AEFUTHA, lauded the collaborative support from the State government and UNICEF, acknowledging their commitment to enhancing healthcare. He appreciated UNICEF for translating the vision of the project into a reality.

Mrs. Juliet Chiluwe, from the Enugu Field Office, elucidated that the project emerged as a response to the shortage of oxygen observed during the Covid-19 pandemic. She highlighted UNICEF's responsibility for both hardware and software installations, along with providing training for facilitators and healthcare workers. This comprehensive approach ensures the plant's long-term sustainability, aligning with existing collaborations with AEFUTHA and the State Government.

Dr. Ifeyinwa Anyanyo emphasized the revenue potential of the plant through partnerships with other organizations. She suggested that signing an MOU with external entities could establish a steady income stream while meeting the oxygen supply needs of multiple organizations.

As the project timeline approaches its culmination, Mrs Juliet Chiluwe affirmed the ongoing preparedness for the handover of the plant, signifying a major milestone in bolstering healthcare infrastructure and addressing critical oxygen supply challenges.

(c) 2024 Corporate Communication/Kelvinerice Udeze. First published @Aefutha.gov.ng Reported by Ogbuewu Uche

Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki

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