With donations from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Paraguay is operating its first medical oxygen generator and the most modern public-health facility in the South American nation.
The new oxygen generator is located in Public Hospital Barrio Obrero in the capital city of Asunción. The donations by the Church through its Humanitarian Services were in partnership with Paraguay’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and hospital directors.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Paraguayan officials approached the Church, identifying the struggles to secure oxygen supplies for the country’s healthcare system. Prior to the generator’s construction, Paraguay’s health relied on imported oxygen, but supply chains were affected by the increased demands to treat COVID-19 patients within the supplier countries.
Construction began in December 2021, and last month, government officials, hospital directors and Church representatives met to celebrate the completed facility in an opening ceremony. Attendees included Dr. Julio Cesar Borba, Paraguay’s minister of heath; Dr. Norma Velázquez, hospital director, and Elder Robert G. Rivarola, an Area Seventy with the Church’s South America South Area.
The new oxygen generator and its inauguration was featured in a report last month on the Church’s Paraguay Newsroom site.
“Thank you to all the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the invaluable donation you made to our country,” Borba said. “We know that this is a great effort, and for us it is a very important contribution. I am more than grateful.”
In expressing her gratitude, Lida Sosa, the vice minister of Health, underscored how the facility’s production will help save lives and how the Church’s donation and cooperation with the Ministry of Health allow the Paraguayan government to optimize resources and redirect them towards meeting other needs within the health system.
Velázquez pointed out how benefits extend beyond the Obrero area of Asunción and the capital city itself. Explaining the national needs due to the large number of patients from various parts of the Paraguay’s interior, the new plant has the capacity to fully meet the oxygen needs of both the hospitalized patients and those in outpatient services.
The cooperative effort, Elder Rivarola said, represents an opportunity for Latter-day Saints to help provide vital help in a great time of need.
“During the pandemic, we were desirous to help our brothers and sisters in need, especially those who were sick,” he said. “In speaking with the Ministry of Health, we learned about the possibility to donate an oxygen plant.”
Delivering oxygen at a purity of 95% to 96%, the new plant features two production lines, allowing the hospital to continue to have oxygen when one line is temporarily down for maintenance.
The facility also is capable of filling oxygen tanks, and by having its own medium voltage line and transformer, the hospital can provide oxygen without interruption, even in the event of a power outage.
The generation plant’s technology allows for remote monitoring of oxygen quality, pressure and any maintenance needs. The state-of-the-art equipment comes from Europe and is an oil-free operation, as recommended for oxygen generation.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated it was Paraguay’s first medical oxygen-generating facility.