American software developer and philanthropist Bill Gates has acknowledged the efforts of a Kenyan Doctor, Bernard Olayo who is playing a major role in the management of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Before he started practicing his career, the world bank health specialist studied medicine at Moi University and later went to Havard to pursue a masters degree in International public health.
Bill Gates recently featured Bernard in his publication dubbed Gates Notes as well as on his YouTube Channel in a piece titled ‘Bill Gates’s Heros in the field’.
In a statement recorded in the video, Dr. Bernard who is a founder of an oxygen supply company ‘Hewatele’ reveals that they were among the suppliers approached by the government to increase oxygen supply which is one of the resources that aids in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
“We were approached by the government to scale up the supply of oxygen. Oxygen is very critical most COVID patients if you give them oxygen early enough then you stop them from progressing into the most critical stage where they require ventilation” he stated
Due to the high demand for oxygen amid the pandemic, Bernard says his company was forced to hire more professionals and expand their supply capacity.
Apart from his contribution amid the pandemic, Bernard also revealed the inspiration behind the creation of his company which works towards ensuring that all patients including those in the rural areas have access to oxygen.
Recalling his painful experience as a young doctor in one of the rural hospitals in Kenya, Bernard narrates how devastating it was to choose patients to be supplied with oxygen leaving others deprived due to the shortage. In his view, no doctor deserves to be put in such a situation.
“When I first started practicing, one of the gaps I noticed in our health facilities was the lack of oxygen everywhere I went. It breaks your heart because you are deciding who lives and who doesn’t live…” he stated
This heartbreaking experience is what pushed him to conduct research which led to the discovery that 0xygen costs about 13 times more in Kenya than its price in the United States.
According to Gates Notes, Dr Benard founded the public-private partnership in 2014 to serve as a solution for the oxygen shortage in the country.
To counter the challenge of oxygen delivery in health facilities, Bernard built oxygen plants at several of the busiest hospitals in the country, where demand is highest and reliable electricity for production is available.
In the near future, Bernard plans on expanding the number of oxygen plants in Kenya and introduce Hewatele’s business model to other parts of Africa.