Most Read

  • We Will Rock You tour of SA postpones to 2022
    Showtime Management and international partner Selladoor Worldwide have postponed the South African tour of the We Will Rock You musical to 2022. South Africa is currently in its third wave of Covid-19 infections and, as such, the government has implemented precautions that only allows for a total audience of 100 people.
  • #YouthMatters: Leigh-Anne Salonika, founder of OnlyKind
    From East London to some of South Africa's most storied agencies. After winning on global stages and achieving what she set out to on the inside of the corporate advertising machinery, Leigh-Anne Salonika is living her purpose, and in doing so working with brands to unlock theirs By Evan-Lee Courie
  • 6 critical PoPIA compliance steps to take before 1 July
    The eleventh hour is upon businesses who are not Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA) compliant. The effective date of 1 July is upon us. By Rian Schoeman
Show more
Business services

Africa

More...Submit news
Advertise on Bizcommunity

Subscribe to industry newsletters

Covid third wave concerns - Sapics highlights medical oxygen supply chain challenges

Amid growing concerns about a Covid-19 third wave in South Africa, The Professional Body for Supply Chain Management in Southern Africa (Sapics) has highlighted the logistics and supply chain management issues that must be addressed to ensure that lives can be saved with a sustainable supply of medical oxygen.
CDC via Pexels

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), affordable and sustainable access to oxygen has been a growing challenge in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) since the start of the pandemic.

Mass Covid-19 vaccine rollout launches, as third wave looms

The next of South Africa's Covid-19 vaccine programme rollsout today, as the rates of infection in parts of the country start to rapidly climb...

17 May 2021


"Covid-19 has put huge pressure on health systems, with hospitals in many LMICs running out of oxygen, resulting in preventable deaths and families of hospitalised patients paying a premium for scarce oxygen supplies," the WHO reported.

"Oxygen is an essential medicine, and despite being vital for the effective treatment of hospitalised Covid-19 patients, access in LMICs is limited due to cost, infrastructure and logistical barriers. Health facilities often cannot access the oxygen they require, resulting in the unnecessary loss of lives."

"In July last year, patients in Eastern Cape hospitals were reportedly fighting over oxygen. The short supply of medical oxygen is currently claiming lives in India, as the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to overwhelm the country’s healthcare system. We need to ensure a secure, sustainable supply of medical oxygen in South Africa," comments Keabetswe Mpane, Sapics president.

Supply management issues


Reports that seven Covid-19 patients died at an Indian hospital because the driver of an oxygen tanker scheduled to deliver to the facility got lost highlight problems that go beyond simply increasing the capacity of oxygen plants, Mpane stresses. "This crisis is not just due to supply constraints, but to logistics and supply chain management issues.

"Medical oxygen is considered a hazardous material to transport. Specialised vehicles and specially trained drivers are required to transport medical oxygen. Many hospitals in South Africa rely on oxygen cylinders rather than on-site storage tanks. Cylinder deliveries are a logistical issue. Empty cylinders must be collected timeously to be refilled.

It's possible to build stronger systems to deliver oxygen: here's what it takes

Covid-19 pneumonia creates breathing difficulties leading to low blood oxygen levels (hypoxaemia). Unable to get enough oxygen to supply vital organs, patients with hypoxaemia are at very high risk of death...

By Hamish Graham & Adegoke Falade 10 May 2021


"Hospital and clinic staff need to understand this process. They need supply chain management skills and knowledge to ensure that they understand things like demand planning, turnaround times, and reverse logistics, to ensure an uninterrupted supply of oxygen. This is a complex supply chain that lives are depending on."

Collaboration is key


According to Sapics the robust, reliable supply chains that are essential for positive health outcomes – including medical oxygen supply chains - require a skilled, knowledgeable and connected supply chain workforce. "This applies to everything from essential medicines, medical oxygen and diagnostic supplies to commodities for family planning, immunisation and to treat diseases like malaria and tuberculosis," says Mpane.

"The health commodities supply chain, particularly in the public sector in Africa, has traditionally been managed and operated by healthcare professionals with an intuitive understanding of supply chain operations, but often without the relevant supply chain training or qualifications. There is a need to increase the capabilities and skills of the existing supply chain resources while creating awareness and an environment that will attract appropriately skilled supply chain professionals.

"There is also an imperative to ensure that effective collaboration takes place between private and public healthcare and other involved role players. In this way, we can improve health outcomes in South Africa and across the continent."
Comment

Related

Let's do Biz