Somalia’s first large-scale factory producing much-needed medical oxygen has been opened in the capital, Mogadishu.

The plant, which is at the city’s main child and maternal health hospital, was made possible through a collaboration between the government and the Hormuud Salaam Foundation (HSF), a charity set up by a large telecoms company.

It will produce 1,000 cylinders of oxygen per week and is seen as a huge step forward in strengthening the country’s public health infrastructure.

More than three decades of conflict have left the health sector in dire straits with little investment over the years.

Covid-19 exposed the challenges the country is facing.

Health Minister Fawzia Abikar Nur admitted at the opening ceremony that people had great difficulty in getting medical oxygen, vital in saving patients’ lives when the pandemic first hit.

Up to now, there have been only two small private oxygen plants in the capital, neither of which produce the gas on a large enough scale to satisfy demand.

As well as saving lives, HSF estimated that the plant will save the country’s health authority $2.6m (£1.9) a year.

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