September 1, 2021
Tzu Chi acquires 150 oxygen concentrators, 50 high-flow nasal oxygen machines to aid COVID-19 patients in hospitals and homes
By Joy Rojas
Tzu Chi Foundation recently imported 150 units of portable oxygen concentrators from China, and procured 50 high-flow nasal oxygen machines to help supplement the limited medical equipment faced by the country’s hospitals as COVID-19 cases continue to soar.
An oxygen concentrator provides patients with a steady supply of pure oxygen by filtering and concentrating oxygen molecules from ambient air. Meanwhile, a high- flow nasal oxygen machine delivers a precise blend of heated and humidified high-flow air and oxygen through a nasal cannula. It helps reduce the need for intubation among patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms.
The machines will be distributed for loan to public and private hospitals in Manila and provinces where Tzu Chi chapters are located.
Private individuals looking after COVID-positive patients at home may also loan the machines through a Tzu Chi volunteer. These individuals must guarantee the return of the unit after two weeks, for proper disinfection before it is loaned to another patient. One such was the lady who borrowed an oxygen concentrator through her contact, an active Tzu Chi volunteer. The machine is for her 68-year-old uncle and 65-year-old aunt from Bustos, Bulacan, who both recently tested positive for COVID-19. Both are convalescing at home.
On August 30, the Philippines reported a staggering 22,366 fresh cases in a single day, the highest number recorded since the pandemic was declared in March 2020. With close to 150,000 active cases, many hospitals in and out of the National Capital Region have been operating beyond full capacity. Several have resorted to setting up field tents as makeshift hospital rooms, while others have converted unused classrooms and buildings into isolation centers for asymptomatic and mild cases.
“The number of those who test positive for COVID-19 keeps going up, and the availability of hospital beds to accommodate these people becomes scarce by the day,” says Tzu Chi Philippines CEO Henry Yuñez. “These issues have forced those with COVID-19 to stay at home. When we realized these oxygen concentrators could save the lives of COVID patients who are recuperating from home without any oxygen facilities, we decided to import 150 units from China. Aside from Manila, we will be sending some units to our chapters in Bicol, Bohol, Cebu, Tacloban, Davao, and Zamboanga to help save precious lives.”