HRH Princess Anne donates to SMP’s Oxygen Appeal

28 September 2021

As our Hon. Co-Patron, HRH The Princess Royal has been a longstanding supporter of the Scotland Malawi Partnership. We are delighted to announce that the Princess has made a kind donation to the SMP’s Covid oxygen appeal, through her own charitable trust.

Our Oxygen Appeal ran for two weeks in February, raising £40,000 which was invested in supporting volunteer Malawian engineers to fix broken oxygen concentrators in hospitals across Malawi. While the appeal technically closed at the start of March we were delighted to receive this kind donation from HRH at the end of the summer following our public announcement of the positive impact that donated funds had had.

Through the Chair of our Oxygen Supply Coordination Group we have been working with the experts managing the oxygen supply challenge on the ground in Malawi, to really understand their current needs and priorities.

The donation from the Princess is being used to purchase 200kg of Zeolite, an essential chemical composite used in Oxygen concentrator sieve beds to remove nitrogen from room air and increase the percentage of Oxygen. Open O2, the local charity fixing the oxygen concentrators, cannot continue their work without this additional Zeolite. They estimate that there are 500 further oxygen concentrators across Malawi that still need repairing and many of these will require Zeolite.

The 200kg of Zeolite purchased is enough to fix at least 130 oxygen concentrators, each costing $1,500 - $2,000 if purchased new. This is therefore potentially saving circa $250,000 as well as avoiding the 10-12 weeks delivery delay for new concentrators to arrive in Malawi and the environmental cost of buying new units when existing equipment can be repaired.

David Hope-Jones, CEO of the SMP said: “We’re really excited by the generous donation from HRH The Princess Royal; it’s wonderful to know that she is following our work and keen to support our network’s collective efforts. The donation is a fantastic endorsement of our Oxygen Supply Coordination Group’s work and the inspiring efforts of the Open O2 engineers. Many fear a fourth wave of Covid in Malawi and so now is the time to do all we can to help Malawi increase its domestic oxygen generation capacity.”

By supporting volunteers in Malawi to fix broken oxygen concentrators already in the country, we’re able to offer incredible levels of impact with the funds available.

OpenO2 is an initiative of the Global Health Informatics Institute (GHII) that was launched in 2020 as part of GHII’s COVID-19 response. Starting off as a knowledge repository for oxygen concentrator repairs, OpenO2 has grown to include two mobile workshops which bring teams of biomedical engineers and technicians to health facilities to conduct oxygen concentrator assessments and repairs. Collectively, with support from those who have donated to our appeal, the two OpenO2 field teams have now visited 54 health facilities, inspected more than 1,300 oxygen concentrators, and put 472 broken concentrators back into service, making another 303,847 cubic meters of oxygen available for the treatment of Covid patients.

The SMP is keen to put on record our thanks to HRH The Princess Royal and all who have donated to this appeal.