As the sole supplier of medical oxygen to the state hospitals and clinics as well as to a number of privately owned hospitals and clinics, Afrox affirms that there is no shortage of medical oxygen in South Africa, and cautions media and social platforms against publishing information instigated by sources that do not have the facts on the ground.
Afrox has a contract to supply oxygen and other medical gases to all government hospitals and clinics in South Africa. There are no barriers or shortages to supply all the needs of state hospitals and clinics currently. The same applies to all our private healthcare customers. We are working closely with hospitals to maintain adequate cylinder stocks and have met all the medical oxygen demands from our customers, including state hospitals and clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic to date.
On-time deliveries of bulk oxygen are done through our automated centre that remotely monitors the bulk oxygen tank levels at all bulk installations at hospitals via telemetry, and deliveries are scheduled when tanks level reach 40%. We can substantially ramp up supplies as needed going forward. This includes bulk supply as well as cylinder supply.
Afrox has undertaken an end-to-end oxygen supply chain risk review and business continuity planning that includes an in-depth review of our oxygen supply chain. We have a range of emergency scenarios in place and are testing and implementing those on an ongoing basis and adjusting where appropriate.
In the unlikely event of shortages, oxygen supply will be prioritised for the healthcare/medical sectors. As we also supply non-medical grade oxygen into industry and various industrial applications, we will be able to divert supply from these sectors and refine some of that product to meet medical oxygen grade and standards.
Afrox’s battery limits at hospitals do not extend into the total gas reticulation system or gas outlet points. Where hospitals need increased capacity and further installation and engineering work done, it is the prerogative of the hospital to progress this work.
Afrox cannot comment regarding operations on behalf of any private or state hospital, nor does Afrox have a mandate from the Central Command Council to make any statements in relation to the pandemic and how it is being handled at a national level. We can however respond regarding the availability of medical oxygen in the country and our ability to supply medical oxygen.