Sandra Georges, EpiC Project Director, FHI 360
Lambert Koffi Avekpa, Senior Program Officer, FHI 360
Marius Kouamé, Biomedical Engineer, FHI 360
Daniel Ngotta, Senior Technical Advisor, Capacity Building, FHI 360
Yolande Yahi, Procurement Officer, FHI 360
Surges in demand for medical oxygen during the COVID-19 pandemic revealed gaps in Côte d’Ivoire’s ability to keep up with supply. In response to medical oxygen shortages during the height of the pandemic, the government of Côte d’Ivoire has prioritized strengthening the country’s medical oxygen ecosystem. While some oxygen infrastructure, including oxygen concentrators and oxygen-generating pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plants, were available at select facilities, an assessment conducted by the Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control (EpiC) project in 2021 found that strategic investments in liquid oxygen (LOX) systems would significantly expand access to oxygen.
LOX offers the most affordable cost-per-liter option to deliver oxygen to facilities with high demand. On September 14, 2023, a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded medical LOX expansion project was officially launched in Yamoussoukro, marking a major step forward in the process of strengthening Côte d’Ivoire’s health care system. The President of the Republic, His Excellency Mr. Alassane Ouattara, stated in his speech that no patient should suffer any longer due to lack of medical oxygen in health care facilities.
Given this commitment, USAID is providing technical and financial support to strengthen Côte d’Ivoire’s health care system, including through this newly launched medical LOX project. Under the leadership of the Department of Infrastructure, Equipment, Maintenance and Heritage (DIEMP), EpiC will implement this large-scale LOX project to help fill the oxygen gap in Côte d’Ivoire.
In seven health facilities located outside of Abidjan, the EpiC project will procure and install LOX supply and storage systems — including tanks, vaporizers, pumps, manifold systems, and cylinders— and will connect them to existing facility piping systems. EpiC will also build the capacity of Ministry of Health and facility staff on maintenance of oxygen systems and clinical provision of oxygen therapy, and will support DIEMP to develop a sustainability plan to ensure the long-term viability of the investments and continued government ownership once the project is completed.
The seven supported facilities include Yamoussoukro Regional Hospital (CHR), CHR Korhogo, CHR San Pedro, CHR Daloa, CHR Man, CHR Bouake and CHR San Pedro. In addition to these seven facilities receiving LOX support, EpiC is providing technical assistance to 12 Global Fund-supported facilities that recently received oxygen-producing PSA plants. EpiC also provides national level technical assistance the Ministry of Health, Public Hygiene, and Universal Health Coverage.
Featured Image: A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the launch of the LOX project in Côte d’Ivoire. From left to right: Sandra Georges, EpiC Project Director; Jennifer Bergeson-Lockwood, USAID Deputy Director, Bureau of Health; Mariam Bamba, Vice-Minister Governor of Yamoussoukro; François Félicien Gaumont, Secretary General of the Town Hall, representing the Mayor; Yaya Coulibaly, Prefect of Yamoussoukro; Dr. Blaise Kone Atioumoun, Deputy Director of the Health Bureau, USAID. François Félicien Gaumont, Secretary General of the Town Hall, representing the Mayor; Yaya Coulibaly, Prefect of Yamoussoukro, Dr. Blaise Kone Atioumounan, Representative of the Minister of Health, Hygiene and Universal Health Coverage. Photo by Epic Côte d’Ivoire.