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Mulago oxygen plant behind schedule

By Joan Akello

The national referral hospital has undertaken the installation of a plant in the past three months. The plant’s commission according to its schedule was set for today however, it is still in the test running stage.

Executive director Dr. Baterana Byarugaba said, “We are behind schedule but on course of commissioning the plant.”

He added that Shs 2.5billion from the hospital capital development Shs 5.02 billion budget was allocated to construct the plant.


China Sinopharm International Corporation was contracted to install the oxygen processing plant.  The company subcontracted BHL Health Care Ltd to maintain the plant from 20th Nov 2012 to 20th Nov 2022 (ten year guarantee).

Currently, the hospital uses a rental oxygen tank from British Oxygen Company, Kenya (BOC) and cylinders for back up. The tank is refilled after two weeks. It is   an automatic system that has water capacity of 5492 cubic metres (M3) and pressure. When this tank is empty, cylinders are loaded to serve the pipes and tubes in the central system to feed the theaters and wards. This tank will be history upon the completion of the plant.

“The cost of setting up the plant is almost equivalent to the cost of importing oxygen for about three to four years,” Byarugaba said.

Eng. Edward Kataaha, the senior Hospital engineer is supervising the installation of the plant.  He says the plant will be ready by the end of this year.

According to Kataaha’s installation schedule; submission of performance guarantee was on  17th Jul; assembling the plant in Uganda was for four weeks (1st -25TH Aug); for eight  weeks (26th Aug to  20 Oct) shipping,  clearing  and transporting  to site ; verify material  for two days  between  22 to 23 Oct; factory training  for technicians and  operators;  construct the plant house  from 10th Aug to  10th Oct .

However, Kataaha agrees that his team is lagging behind. He attributes this situation to the delay in construction of the oxygen processing house.  He says the initial plan was to have the house floor tiled but was later changed to Terrazzo.

Terry Feng, regional manager of Sinopharm said the technicians still have to carry out calibration of the machines, train some hospital staff on the site before they can give a green light to the administration.

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