The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has started production of oxygen for state-run hospitals and manufacturing of face masks to help tackle deteriorating Coronavirus situation in the country.

Kenneth Kazibwe
UPDF has ventured into manufacturing of oxygen.

According to the UPDF, the production is done by the National Enterprises Corporation(NEC), the army’s commercial arm.

“We are delighted to inform Ugandans that we now produce medical masks and oxygen at Luweero Industries in Nakasongola to mitigate the spread of deadly Covid19 virus,” NEC said over the weekend.

The production of masks comes on the backdrop of advice by government and other health experts to the population to continue following the Standard Operating Procedures like wearing of facemasks at all time as one of the ways to avoid the spread and contracting the deadly virus.

The production of medical oxygen on the other hand comes at a time when the country seems to have run out of its supply.

Several government and private health facilities in various parts of the country have reported to have run out medical oxygen as the number of patients in need of these services has more than doubled in the past few weeks.

According to Lt Gen James Mugira, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Enterprise Corporation (NEC), they are responding to the current situation of scarcity of medical oxygen by supporting strategic sectors other than the military.

He explained that their current production capacity is 12 medical oxygen cylinders per hours, each weighing 50 kilogram.

Lt Gen Mugira assured the country that their products have been certified by the National Drug Authority and found to be 99.9% pure and thus described it as the purest product in the country.

“We believe it will bring hope to Ugandans,” Lt Gen Mugira said.

Cases soar

The development comes at a time when Covid cases continue to soar in the country.

The Ministry of Health on Sunday reported 1727 new Covid infections to take the tally to 61977 whereas five new deaths were recorded to move the tool to 428 people.

Many hospitals have also reported that the number of Covid patients admitted has more than doubled whereas those in Intensive Care Units have also gone up.