Community initiative provides oxygen at home for Covid-19 patients

Patients with moderate symptoms can benefit from oxygeyn machines at home. File photo (Samuel Ramos/Unsplash Stock Images)

Communities are coming together to raise funds for oxygen machines for home care. The Islamic Medical Association of South Africa has started an initiative to provide Covid-19 patients with access to oxygen in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

Speaking to Health-e, the association’s Dr Shoyab Wadee says programme helps patients with mild to moderate symptoms.

“It’s a type of programme together with medical supervision using general practitioners in the community who do home visits, or who or refer patients to come to their rooms to try and reduce the need for these patients to be in hospitals,” Wadee says.

Relative taking care of patients at home receive guidance and training on how and when to use the oxygen machines.

Access to oxygen

The initiative began to help patients unable to access oxygen care in health care facilities, especially state hospitals, with limited beds. It has grown to help patients who cannot afford to buy or rent their own oxygen machines. Wadee says that it costs about R16,000 to buy one and around R1,000 to rent a machine.

“For those who don’t have medical aids, this is assisting the state to provide oxygen for those patients, because this capacity hasn’t been well developed in the public sector,” he says.

Effects of Covid-19

Even as Covid-19 infections decrease and pressure eases on hospitals,  Wadee says that there are patients who need oxygen even after they are discharged from hospitals.

“And one of the things we find with Covid-19 is there is a small percentage, maybe more than a small percentage, who are left with a permanent injury to their lung. We’re not sure what degree some of them will recover. Some will not recover completely and be significantly oxygen-dependent, maybe for good,” he says.

The organisation is raising funds to obtain more oxygen machines. – Health-e News


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