MENA Industrial Gases Conference: Medical Oxygen and Security of Supply


When it comes to lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020-2022, a single standout would be the woeful unpreparedness shown by both governments and the global medical industry. This lack of preparedness was magnified in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), many of which are in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

A predominant feature of the pandemic manifested itself in the form of medical oxygen shortages, disproportionately affecting LMICs, resulting in thousands of deaths which may have been prevented had the correct measures been in place.

During the worst of the pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that more than half a million people in LMICs needed 1.1 million cylinders of oxygen per day, with the majority of demand in Africa.

Constrained by Covid-19, the pandemic also exposed existing supply issues, prompting a global response from international aid organisations such as Unitaid, which invested tens of millions of dollars to accelerate lifesaving testing and treatment solutions for Covid-19.

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