Privateer orders 700 oxygen concentrators from India
13 July 2021 | Health
A Windhoeker with knowledge of the medical equipment industry’s offer to help people import oxygen concentrators at cost because some local distributors’ profits have taken on “criminal proportions”, has not been able to keep up with enquiries.
In actual fact, he had to turn his house into a call centre and distribution point when the orders started pouring in overnight.
Sven Schulz, who sold medical equipment earlier in his life and was later the manager of a large medical company's equipment department, said on Facebook about three weeks ago that he had decided to get in touch with “his old contacts from his medical time”.
He is currently the operations manager of a retail group.
“Even with import costs, Indian concentrators are about 80% cheaper than here in Namibia,” he said on Facebook, pointing out that he does not import the machines at a profit, but only “lends a helping hand”.
Schulz said yesterday that his comments spread like wildfire and within 24 calls from people who wanted to order machines flooded in. He has already ordered 700 oxygen concentrators with a capacity of 10 litres per minute from Narang Medical in India.
Schulz says he visited the company himself when he was in the medical equipment industry and the quality of the equipment they manufacture is very good.
First batch here
“The first 60 machines arrived in Namibia last week and we expect another 150 machines this week. It takes about two weeks from the time we place the order until it arrives here,” Schulz said, adding that they are imported via Addis Ababa in Ethiopia by air freight. Since it is a passenger plane and not a cargo plane, only a limited amount can be transported here at a time.
Schulz said that since the orders are so many and its administration has become a full-time job, the family has converted the braai room of their house in Kleine Kuppe into a call centre. “My wife, Frieda, mans it along with two other friends. Our living room is now the distribution point.”
Schulz said they charge an administrative fee of N$450. “This is a time of crisis and people's lives depend on oxygen. We want to help and not make money out of their need. Apart from the high prices at which some local suppliers sell the machines, I am even more shocked that the wrong products are offered to critical patients.”
He says he only imports 10 litre concentrators, as the smaller machines are inadequate in treating people with a critical need for oxygen.
These machines can be set up so that they give less oxygen to the patient and can therefore be used for Covid-19 patients who are recovering and no longer need 10 litres of oxygen per minute.
A concentrator uses the atmospheric air and extracts oxygen. To be effective, it must be able to produce oxygen that is 90-94% pure. Machines with a capacity of 5 litres or 7 litres of oxygen per minute do not meet this requirement, Schulz explained.
He says they have received orders from corporate institutions, farmers' associations, neighbourhood watches and increasingly also from individual families who want it on hand if someone in the family or larger family needs oxygen.
They have also supplied concentrators to hospitals.
“We only work to order and do not have machines in stock due to the huge demand from the public. We have a list of critical people who of course try to help us first,” he said.
The call centre can be contacted on 081 564 9817 and 081 554 9886. “The fastest way is to send an email to [email protected], because the telephone numbers are often occupied when people call,” he said.