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Hewatele supports improved access to medical oxygen for hospitals and clinics in Kenya.
A man wearing a helmet using a wrench.
A worker secures the supply line on an oxygen tank at the Hewatele oxygen plant in Nairobi, Kenya, on April 13, 2021. © Patrick Meinhardt/Bloomberg/Getty
Type Direct
Geography Africa
Date 2023

Theory of Change

Our investment in Hewatele supports the expansion of a business model that has significantly improved access to medical oxygen for hospitals and clinics in Kenya, while also incentivizing greater private investment in the country’s health care system.

Challenge and Context

Existing shortfalls in the supply of oxygen for hospitals and clinics in Kenya have been painfully highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a local market dominated by the subsidiary of a foreign multinational.

Since its launch in 2013, Hewatele adopted a new approach to the distribution of medical oxygen, lowering costs and smoothing supply issues by establishing oxygen plants adjacent to major hospitals, rather than trucking in supplies from plants based in more remote industrial areas.  


Together with other investors for social impact, SEDF is supporting a $20 million investment plan that will fund new medical oxygen capacity across Kenya, including a planned new Liquid Oxygen facility.

Expected Outcomes

The planned expansion of Hewatele’s facilities will significantly increase Kenya’s medical oxygen production capacity, contributing to lower costs and enhancing supply reliability. More broadly, this investment will provide a case study that should stimulate further private sector investment in the health care sector in Kenya and other parts of Africa,


The Open Society Foundations have worked for more than two decades on access to health care for underserved communities in Kenya. This investment aligns with Open Society’s efforts to support the shift of health care research, development, manufacturing, and distribution to locally-led enterprises in the Global South.