Oxygen is increasingly harder to come by for many African countries, and the shortage has needlessly cost lives in the fight against COVID-19, international health agencies say.

Dr. Jama Abdi Mahamud, who practices medicine at the government-run Gardo General Hospital in Somalia’s Puntland region, told the BBC he loses between five and 10 patients being treated for COVID-19 almost daily because of a lack of oxygen.

“These would all be preventable deaths if we had adequate oxygen,” Mahamud said.

A study published last month in the Lancet medical journal suggested more than half of COVID-19 patients that died in 64 hospitals in 10 African countries weren’t given oxygen, the BBC reported.

Every Breath Counts, a coalition of global health campaigners, says 18 low-income countries — most of which are in Africa — have or are at risk of an oxygen shortage, the BBC reported.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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