Status: Complete


October 2021: Biomedical engineer Rob arrived in Eswatini to deliver a four-week training course to biomedical technicians on the use of oxygen equipment which is essential for the treatment of patients with COVID-19.

This follow-up response helped to equip biomedical technicians with the correct knowledge and skills to manage and maintain these plants. The four-week course delivered to six technicians was made up of theoretical and practical training sessions on equipment testing, fault finding, maintenance and decontamination.

The technicians also took part in a train the trainer session to enable them to pass on their new knowledge and skills to technicians from around the country.

January to March 2021 response

When coronavirus case numbers were rising rapidly in Eswatini, UK-Med sent a team of 11 medics and operational staff to support the country’s COVID-19 response as part of the UK Emergency Medical Team. 

In the New Year of 2021, the country of 1.1 million people experienced a surge of cases and became present in all four regions of Eswatini. On 26 January, as the team prepared to deploy, 14,622 people tested positive for the virus with 493 deaths.

Eswatini has 11 COVID-19 treatment centres with 437 beds in total. But a lack of biomedical engineers had made it difficult to install and maintain adequate intensive care equipment.

The country currently has just 29 intensive care beds, all of which were full in January 2021. Although more beds were available, there was not enough oxygen or trained critical care doctors and nurses.

We worked with the Eswatini Ministry of Health to strengthen health services by delivering specialist care and technical support, and training doctors and nurses.

Our team helped save lives and stop health services becoming overwhelmed.


UK-Med team members responding


intensive care beds


coronavirus treatment centres

How we helped

Led by Andy Kent, UK-Med’s surgical lead, the team included members from the UK, Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

As well as doctors and nurses specialising in critical care and infection prevention and control (IPC), the team included specialists in risk communications and biomedical engineering.

Their activities included:

Working as a specialised care team to help health services cope with the increasing numbers of patients needing high and critical care.

Making sure people who need critical care for coronavirus get high quality treatment, in line with national and World Health Organization guidelines.

Working alongside national healthcare staff, and providing training and on the job-supervision.

Training, supervising and mentoring biomedical staff in the use of support equipment for COVID-19 care.

Installing oxygen concentrators to help treatment centres use oxygen more efficiently.

Providing technical support to local counterparts, at both national and sub-national levels.

We’re grateful to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for UK Aid funding from the British people to fund this important response.