In a significant stride towards bolstering the functionality and sustainability of life-saving medical oxygen systems across Government Hospitals in Sierra Leone, Build Health International, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF through the Global Fund project, conducted a crucial training session. On Friday, May 10th, 2024, over thirty biomedical engineers and operators gathered at the Bintumani, Aberdeen, Freetown, to undergo training on Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) oxygen plant maintenance.

The initiative, aimed at equipping participants with essential skills for maintaining and safeguarding oxygen generation plants, was a response to the country’s historical challenges in handling such systems. Dr. Dennis Marke, the Health System Strengthening Program Manager at the Ministry of Health, highlighted the nation’s past struggles due to inadequate maintenance and repair of oxygen generator plants in Government Hospitals. However, with support from the Global Fund and Build Health International, more than thirty biomedical engineers and operators have now received comprehensive training, enhancing their proficiency in this critical aspect of healthcare infrastructure management.

Dr. Marke emphasized the strategic selection of participants from various Government Hospitals across the country, ensuring a widespread dissemination of knowledge and expertise. Notable hospitals such as Koidu Government Hospital, Kenema Government Hospital, Bo Government Hospital, Makeni Government Hospital, and Connaught Teaching Hospital already possess oxygen plants, with plans for additional installations underway.

Andrew Johnston, Director of Medical Oxygen Education and Training for Build Health International, elucidated the significance of PSA plants in improving access to medical oxygen. He outlined the training’s comprehensive curriculum, encompassing both theoretical principles and practical maintenance techniques. Stressing the importance of safety protocols, Director Johnston highlighted the necessity of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and regular maintenance checks to ensure optimal plant performance.

Trainees, including Abdul Turay, Head of Maintenance Unit at Connaught Teaching Hospital, expressed gratitude for the training, emphasizing its role in enhancing their understanding of maintenance methods and safety precautions. Doris Ndanema, a Medical Equipment Technician at Connaught Teaching Hospital, echoed similar sentiments, affirming her intent to apply the acquired knowledge in her professional endeavors.

The successful completion of this training program marks a significant step towards fortifying Sierra Leone’s healthcare infrastructure and ensuring uninterrupted access to life-saving medical oxygen in Government Hospitals across the nation.


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