The US Government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing support of $3.5m to the National Department of Health’s oxygen supply, demand, and reticulation strategy.

Led by the NDoH, USAID will work closely with South African oxygen manufacturers, like Afrox (Pyt) Ltd. and Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions South Africa, to increase production by as much as eight times to meet COVID-19 needs.

Announced today, the capital will also help efforts to procure supplies and equipment needed for critical care beds and support emergency preparedness and planning efforts.

As part of its support to the NDoH, USAID is estimating the supplies and equipment required as well as working with engineers to increase hospitals’ capacity for oxygen support to critical care and general ward beds.

The efforts support NDoH’s Surge Capacity and Case Management Teams to ensure ventilators and other forms of oxygen therapy work properly, including the previously announced support for high-flow nasal cannula devices (equipment used to treat less severe patients who may not require the use of a ventilator) and the US Government-donation of up to 1000 ventilators.

“This oxygen support, in addition to our ventilator donation, will allow South African physicians and medical staff to respond to a variety of patient needs,” said US Ambassador Lana Marks.

The activities are being funded through the United States’ Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act to support the global health response to COVID-19 and will be managed by USAID’s partner, Right to Care, which also manages some of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) activities as a District Support Partner in Ehlanzeni and Thabo Mofutsanyana Districts.