Kenya’s Hewatele bags Sh1.32bn US loan for oxygen production
• The loan to Hewatele is among 17 new investment transactions approved for Africa by the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), totaling more than $655 million(Sh86.77 billion).
• Its inaugural plant was launched in 2014 as a public-private-partnership (PPP) between GE Foundation, Hewatele, CPHD, and Siaya County. The plant currently serves over 10 Counties with oxygen and oxygen accessories.
Kenya’s oxygen production firm Hewatele has bagged a Sh1.32 billion ($ 10 million) loan from the US government to step up the production of affordable supplies.
The loan to Hewatele is among 17 new investment transactions approved for Africa by the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) totaling more than $655 million(Sh86.77 billion).
“A $10 million loan to Hewa Tele Limited will help expand production and distribution of affordable liquid medical oxygen for hospitals and clinics across Kenya, lowering costs for healthcare providers in rural and urban areas,” the US government said in a statement.
Hewatele runs oxygen plants in Siaya, Nakuru, and Nairobi. The firm produces oxygen by the chemical method, using a naturally occurring salt to separate nitrogen from the air.
Its inaugural plant was launched in 2014 as a public-private-partnership (PPP) between GE Foundation, Hewatele, CPHD, and Siaya County.
The plant currently serves over 10 Counties with oxygen and oxygen accessories.
The Nakuru plant is a partnership between Nakuru County and Hewatele with the support of Grand Challenges Canada while the Nairobi plant is also a PPP between Nairobi County, Hewatele, CPHD, UNICEF, and Grand Challenges Canada as the development partner.
Kenya for a long time had only one such oxygen plant, which belongs to industrial gases firm BOC.
Hewatele in 2021 said it was doubling production to keep up with surging demand from hospitals that are treating critically ill Covid-19 patients. The decision came after the demand for the commodity more than doubled to 880 tonnes from 410 tonnes before the pandemic, causing a steep shortage due to lack of installed capacity.
Apart from Hewatele, the US Trade and Development Agency (USTD) said it has awarded Kenya Hospital Association (KHA) — which owns the hospital —a grant for a feasibility study to expand and improve health services in Kenya.
“The study will support KHA’s intent to establish five medical centers across Kenya, digitise its operations, and expand cancer treatment services at The Nairobi Hospital,” the agency said without revealing the value of the grant and location of the targeted new centres.
KHA is a not-for-profit organisation that operates The Nairobi Hospital and six outpatient centers, serving over 96,000 patients a year.
USTDA said the feasibility study will provide KHA with a market assessment and design brief for five medical centers, recommendations for acquiring and installing new oncology equipment, and a technical analysis to upgrade and integrate existing information technology systems.
“Investment in healthcare infrastructure is crucial to ensuring Kenya’s prosperity. This is why USTDA embraces this opportunity to partner with the Kenya Hospital Association to increase access to high-quality healthcare for underserved Kenyans,” Enoh T. Ebong, USTDA’s Director said.
“Our engagement will also create opportunities for U.S. companies to offer world-class, state-of-the-art solutions for Kenya’s healthcare priorities” she added.
Source: Daily Nation