Global health initiative Unitaid has invited local manufacturers of liquid oxygen (LOx) to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to help improve access and affordability of liquid and medical oxygen in Sub-Saharan African countries.

With the Covid-19 pandemic exposing the vulnerability of global oxygen supply chain issues in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), the invitation aims to provide equitable access to oxygen. 

The organisation also serves as a key member of the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), which looks to address challenges in advancing access to therapies and diagnostics for the Covid-19 pandemic response. 

Earlier this year, Unitaid announced that it will commit US$56m to boost access to medical oxygen globally by increasing LOx supplies, lowering the cost of oxygen, strengthening infrastructure, expanding technical capacity, and ensuring the safe use of the gas. 

Considered a lifesaving treatment, 75% of patients hospitalised for Covid-19 can be treated with oxygen alone, eliminating risks associated with other forms of treatment. 

Earlier this year, the leader of Unitaid’s Programme Division, Robert Matiru, spoke to gasworld at the Medical Oxygen Summit 2022. 

“Covid unmasked just how fragile and weak the medical oxygen ecosystem was and has been in LMICs,” he said.

Read more: Unitaid’s oxygen initiatives

Considering it a pillar of health ecosystems, Matiru added that, by investing in oxygen, organisations can convene to develop and advance the market and create new solutions. 

To find out more details about the invitation, manufacturers are advised to complete and submit the document available here by 30th July 2022.