Handover of Revamped Oxygen Generating Plant Onandjokwe Hospital, Ondangwa

Speeches Shim

Friday, October 7, 2022
USAID handed over a refurbished oxygen generating plant at Namibia’s Onandjokwe Hospital
Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, Minister of Health and Social Services and Dr. Abeje Zegeye, Acting Health Office Director at USAID Namibia, demonstrating that oxygen arrives from the new plant at the hospital wards.

Good morning and thank you for joining us at this wonderful occasion today - the commissioning of the upgraded oxygen generating plant at Onandjokwe Hospital.

Onandjokwe Hospital experienced serious challenges during the peak COVID waves in 2020 and 2021. There was not enough medical grade oxygen available as the previous oxygen plant was undersized and unable to meet the facility’s requirements. 

The hospital and the population suffered high mortality rates. We and the Ministry agreed we needed to do something about it to ensure Namibia was prepared for the next emergency.

With great excitement, I am happy to hand over the revamped oxygen-generating plant to the Ministry of Health and Social Services. This plant provides a stable supply of medical oxygen to patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 and other conditions that require oxygen treatment. 

The U.S. government, through USAID’s Right to Care EQUIP project, is a central player in this endeavor. The team refurbished the oxygen and vacuum system from the existing plant and worked around the clock to assess and enhance oxygen systems in other facilities across the country. 

A needs assessment at Onandjokwe revealed that even at very low occupancy rates, the existing oxygen plant did not meet the required capacity, providing just 18% of the hospital’s oxygen needs. It is therefore our hope that this support by the United States government will go a long way and save many Namibian lives. 

The oxygen is not only for COVID-patients but also for pregnant mothers and children in need, as well as clients undergoing surgical procedures or chronically ill patients who may - for instance - be suffering from TB, HIV, hypertension or diabetes. 

This is also the reason why the new oxygen installation covers both in-patient and out-patient departments. With planned routine maintenance, this plant is expected to last more than ten years. 

This US$1 million investment we are launching here today is part of our broader US$20 million support package (approx. N$350 million) in Namibia to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. 

This also includes the provision of additional hospital beds, Personal Protective Equipment, accessories for existing plants, and the roll-out of COVID vaccinations. 

All this forms part of a major global effort by the U.S. government to expand global access to medical oxygen to ensure that hundreds of thousands of patients can receive life-saving oxygen.

I would like to thank the Ministry of Health and Social Services for their continued leadership and cooperation in strengthening Namibia’s health services, and I look forward to more events that mark the impact of our great partnership and the difference we are making for healthcare workers, health facilities and - most importantly - for patients. 

Thank you.




Onandjokwe Hospital, Ondangwa
Issuing Country 

Last updated: November 18, 2022

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