Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has refurbished the state's oxygen plant, over nine years after it last functioned at usable capacity.
The revamped facility bolsters Kwara’s capabilities to manage Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients who may require ventilators for a lifeline.
Kwara currently has two COVID-19 cases -- both of whom are asymptomatic at the moment.
“This facility comes handy at this time. If for whatever reason any of our patients require oxygen, Kwara does not need to buy oxygen from any private sources or other states,” AbdulRazaq said on Friday in Ilorin at a brief ceremony to hand over the facility for use.
“In fact, the plant’s capacity is such that we can sell to private hospitals and some other states. Yesterday, we supported the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) with 13 small cylinders and one big cylinder of oxygen.”
The Governor commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for helping the state to recover looted funds which have become useful in the campaign against COVID-19.
AbdulRazaq said the recovered funds strengthened Kwara’s ability to put in place necessary facilities, among other counter-COVID-19 efforts.
“We have bought five new ambulances (three on the ground and two are on the way). We have 10 ventilators now and we expect to have 30 by the end of the month and that’s one of the highest in the country today. We now have a mobile x-ray machine too,” he told reporters.
Kwara had no ventilator until now.
The Governor said the recovered loot became useful in the face of dwindling allocations arising from the global oil crisis.
He said the government has turned around the Sobi Specialist Hospital which is now the COVID-19 response center of the state.
He said the administration is now working on having an isolation centre in Offa after which another would be created in General Hospital Kaiama.
The oxygen plant last worked at required purity level in 2011.
Engineer Ben Babatunde, the plant manager, said the oxygen now has 93% purity level and can fill 24 (7mm) oxygen cylinders in one day.
The facility has only worked for 56,156 hours (six years four months) cumulatively since it was established in 2004.
Fixing the long abandoned oxygen plant aligns with AbdulRazaq’s policy of reviving the state’s critical infrastructure — rather than abandoning them to rot away.