Somalia calls for $4 million donation for ‘relief fund’ as lack of oxygen causes sharp rise in COVID-19 deaths

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Hormuud Salaam Foundation says acquiring more oxygen plants will save lives 

Press -release by Hormuud Salaam Foundation

Hormuud Salaam Foundation says acquiring more oxygen plants will save lives 

The Hormuud Salaam Foundation is urging the international community to donate $4 million to the Somalia Action Network, an independent relief committee, as the COVID-19 death rate rises, exacerbated by oxygen shortages. The Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Hormuud Telecom and Salaam Somali Bank.  

The money will be used to buy oxygen plants, canisters and other medical equipment to supply 10 major hospitals in 10 cities across the country. Somalia is going through its second wave of the virus and has reported more than 10,000 cases and 441 deaths. Due to limited testing, the real figure is thought to be much higher. 

In March, the Hormuud Salaam Foundation acquired the country’s first ever oxygen plant for public use from Turkey for €282,000, allowing for the production of 1,000 cylinders of oxygen per week. While a limited number of oxygen plants currently exist in the country for private use, this purchase was the first used dedicated unit for the Somali healthcare system.  

Acquiring a single plant saves around $50,000 per week and $2.6 billion a year on direct purchases. Money from the relief fund has been earmarked to purchase up to 9 more oxygen plants in order to create a self-sufficient supply in Somalia.  

The campaign follows extensive action from the Hormuud Salaam Foundation to increase oxygen supplies in the Somalia. Since February, the Foundation donated 2500 cylinders of oxygen to hospitals around Somalia. Last week, it also took delivery of 400 oxygen cylinders from Dubai, UAE.  

The international community has also stepped in, The World Health Organisation (WHO) has donated 200 oxygen cylinders to Somali hospitals, and 50 oxygen regulators with humidifier.  

Oxygen is an important means to treat those with COVID-19, which can attack the lungs in the form of pneumonia, compromising critical organs. Abdullahi Nur Osman, Chief Executive of the Hormuud Salaam Foundation, called on the Somali diaspora and the international community to support the country’s fight against the virus. 

“We have now reached crisis point when it comes to the lack of oxygen supplies,” he said. 

“The Hormuud Salaam Foundation is working urgently to contribute to solving this problem but we need the assistance of the Somali diaspora to help us tackle this problem.  

“I would also like to implore international stakeholders to support Somalia’s COVID-19 recovery. As the second wave continues to accelerate, it is vital we have the assistance of health and other agencies to ensure our continued progress in boosting Somalia’s capacity to fight the virus.” 

Hormuud Telecom has played a key role in Somalia’s fight against coronavirus. The telecoms giant has replaced its 3.6 million customers’ ringtones with up to date health announcements, while its engineers have helped to repair existing oxygen plants.   

Hormuud has also launched the country’s first COVID-19 call centre, which gives callers direct access to medical professionals. 

ENDS

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