Uganda’s Ministry of Heath (MOH) has warned the public against home administering of oxygen saying the practice has disastrous consequences.
In a press release issued on Friday, the Director General of Health Services Dr Henry Mwebesa said haphazard oxygen administration has resulted in deterioration of patients, can be toxic and it’s improper use can cause dangerous fires to households and the entire community.
The MOH warning comes amid concerns of self medication in Uganda as the East African country battles a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic. On Wednesday, the permanent Secretary for the ministry Dr Diana Atwine said the demand for oxygen is very high due to the increase in numbers of COVID-19 patients at high dependency and intensive care units.
Dr Mwebesa stated that COVID-19 patients who require oxygen must have severe or critical illness and such cases should be managed in hospitals not at home. He also noted that not every COVID-19 patient requires oxygen therapy.
He said that patients administered haphazardly with oxygen often reach gazetted hospitals in poor health condition and sometimes cannot be helped.
“The public should note that this is very dangerous to the lives of their patients and the entire household where such administration is taking place. This is because of the following reasons; Oxygen administered in higher doses is toxic to a number of vital organs including the brain…”
Due to lack of proper regulation and monitoring, Dr Mwebesa said a number of patients are are deteriorating because of lower or higher oxygen doses as different severity levels demand.
“We are not so sure oxygen being used is Medical Oxygen or Industrial oxygen. Oxygen is highly flammable; it’s improper use can cause dangerous fires..”
He urged the public and health workers in undesignated places to desist from the practice with immediate effect.
“The ministry of health advises the public to seek care for those who are found positive with COVID-19 from their nearest health facilities” Dr Mwebesa said.