The rich hoard oxygen in homes

Staff Writer

AS the Covid-19 crisis worsens and state hospitals in particular, get overwhelmed with the number of patients gasping for air in the face of the dire shortage of oxygen at the institutions, a number of rich people have resorted to buying their own oxygen tanks and turning their homes into intensive care units.

Namibia is reeling under increasing Covid-19 infections with the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) announcing 1 518 new cases and three deaths were recorded in the country on Monday. Khomas has the largest share of new infections with 927 cases followed by Erongo with 256 infections.

Windhoek Observer investigations have uncovered that pharmaceutical companies, as well as medical equipment suppliers in Windhoek, are selling oxygen, masks and other Covid-19 related equipment to private individuals, especially the well-off, at exorbitant prices for keeping in their homes.

This equipment includes ventilators, oximeters, PPE, oxygen masks oxygen concentrators and oxygen regulators.

An example of the price range is a 5- litre concentrator with nebuliser functions costing around N$21 000, while a 10-litre oxygen concentrator costs around N$36 000.

When the rich, particularly whites, contract Covid-19, they call in their private doctors who set up the equipment in the homes.

The doctors do the rounds everyday visiting the patients in their own homes. Some doctors are said to have enough patients in the homes to keep them busy all day.

This is in contrast to desperate state patients who have resorted to taking animal medicine, Ivermectin, as cases soar.

Agricultural giant, Agra, has been inundated with customers buying the animal medicine off the shelves. This comes after some doctors and politicians called for the use of the drug against Covid-19. The World Health Organisation (WHO), however, says Ivermectin is a broad spectrum anti-parasitic agent used for treating onchocerciasis (river blindness) strongyliodiasis and other diseases caused by soil-transmitted helminthiasis. It is also used to treat scabbies.

The shortage of oxygen in hospitals has been dire with businessperson, Knowledge Katti’s company, Intaka, which has been supplying the commodity to hospitals since 2011 failing to meet demand.

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