MOH and IGL Limited Explains Oxygen Shortage

Jamaica received a shipment of oxygen on Monday, August 30, that would resolve the oxygen shortage faced by the country recently. Many questions were asked about this shortage. One being, how did this happen? An explanation was provided following a series of press releases recently between the local supplier, IGL Limited, and the Health Ministry.

In a public discourse between IGL Limited and the Ministry of Health and Wellness, some clarity was soon provided. On Wednesday, September 1, IGL says the Health Ministry has yet to respond to their repeated request for forecasts of oxygen demand.

The Health Ministry, however, rejects those claims. In a statement Thursday, September 2, the Ministry says discussions were had with IGL following a review meeting in May. From this meeting, a third COVID-19 wave was predicted that could result in over 10,000 cases confirmed with hospitals requiring 1000 beds following that peak.

The Ministry says the company indicated that they would be able to supply the projected 400,000 cubic meters of oxygen. However, on Wednesday, August 25, the local suppliers, IGL advised the Government that one of their major suppliers in the US was unable to provide its projected shipment of oxygen, thereby affecting the supply in Jamaica.

IGL agrees this disruption is what led to the oxygen shortage. The Ministry says, at no time was there to be a depleted stock. Since the start of the week, the Ministry says it has provided IGL with an estimate based on revised projections. IGL says it will be negotiating with its suppliers to meet the estimate as much as possible.

In an attempt to prevent another oxygen shortage, Prime Minister Andrew Holness says oxygen concentrators were procured by the Government. Another shipment of medical oxygen arrives in Jamaica on the afternoon of Thursday, September 2, but IGL remains concerned about the rapid growth in demand for medical oxygen.

More in this CVM Live story from Jhaniielle Powell: