Oxygen for Lutheran hospitals in Tanzania
Responding to high demand during COVID-19 which overwhelmed medical facilities
(LWI) - In January 2020, the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in Moshi, a teaching hospital of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, installed an oxygen production plant capable of filling 400 oxygen cylinders in 24 hours. The center’s director Prof. Gileard Masenga said the project was “a divine intervention” preceding the coming of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Initially, staff at the 674-bed capacity medical center thought the oxygen plant would provide, at least, a 20-year supply of oxygen. Then COVID-19 struck the nation and demand outweighed supply. During the pandemic the medical center has supplied economically challenged patients with free oxygen cylinders.
"Our daily consumption used to be 50 to 60 cylinders. Currently, the factory is overwhelmed and the need exceeds 400 cylinders on a daily basis," said Masenga in an online article about the shortage.
In August 2021, with distribution help from the Lutheran Mission Cooperation (LMC), 100 oxygen cylinders and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) were delivered to ELCT hospitals.
“Even though these oxygen cylinders are not enough, they can still save the lives of people who are in need” said Dr Paul Mmbando ELCT Director of Health.
KCMC was established as a referral and teaching hospital by the ELCT through the Good Samaritan Foundation (GSF) in 1971. It has 13 allied health science institutes as well as being the teaching hospital of Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College, a constituency of the Tumaini University Makumira.
The medical center serves 15 million people and continues to expand its services offering one of “the best cancer treatment centers in Africa,” Masenga added.
During a visit in July when the ELCT hosted a joint initiative in Tanzania with The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus to learn about church-led ministries, LWF Regional Secretary for Africa Rev. Dr Elieshi Mungure applauded the efforts of hospital management.
"This is our work together, as the LWF has partnered with the hospital. We are proud of the impact this is making in the lives of people."
By Erick Adolph/ELCT and Felix Samari/ALCINET. Edited by LWF/A.Gray
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania has 24 hospitals and 140 health centers throughout the country.