Funding for aid in Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia.
A grant of more than £270,000 from the Scottish Government’s International Development Fund will fund the supply of 300 items of vital equipment to treat Covid-19 patients in Africa.
The funding will allow Kids Operating Room, a Scottish-based global health charity, to distribute 100 oxygen concentrators each to Malawi, Rwanda, and Zambia.
Covid-19 cases in Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia are rising quickly, with the health system in Zambia especially under severe stress.
One of the biggest impacts of the rise in Covid-19 cases is a shortage of oxygen, and oxygen concentrators are easy to use, are suitable for patients of all ages, and can be used throughout the health service.
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.”
David Cunningham, the chief executive officer of Kids Operating Room, 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."
Kids Operating Room is a Scottish global health charity with bases in Edinburgh, Dundee 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.
Oxygen concentrators provide a sustainable and cost-effective source of medical oxygen – they draw air from the environment and then concentrate that room oxygen to therapeutic levels for delivery to patients.
The charity will coordinate the distribution of the oxygen equipment. They will arrange for delivery to doctors in Lusaka, Lilongwe and Kigali, and have the equipment distributed to the most in-demand hospitals.