20 Dec UNICEF Innovation: Oxygen Therapy Tool in 2018
Article posted on December 20, 2017.
UNICEF is committed to improving access to and utilization of life-saving oxygen system products globally. In partnership with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF and WHO are collaborating to increase access to and utilization of oxygen therapy.
- UNICEF and WHO will collaborate to publish interagency specifications and technical guidance for crucial oxygen therapy system products
- The project will develop an innovative online tool to support decision making and planning for procurement of oxygen system equipment (available in 2018)
- The overarching aim of this project is for UNICEF and WHO to take a leading role in ensuring oxygen systems products gets procured at appropriate prices and successfully implemented in countries.
This announcement was originally posted on UNICEF Innovation on Nov. 1, 2017, and has been cross-posted here with permission.
Although there are commercially available oxygen technologies which can be used at most levels of the health system, there are inherent complexities in the procurement and utilization of appropriate equipment, and oxygen therapy remains an inaccessible luxury for a large proportion of severely ill children in developing countries.
UNICEF and WHO’s strategic collaboration will work to mitigate these challenges by publishing interagency specifications and technical guidance for crucial oxygen therapy system products. Furthermore, the project will develop an innovative online tool to support decision making and planning for procurement of oxygen system equipment. The project will leverage the work of other key oxygen delivery and monitoring system stakeholders including BMGF, PATH, CHAI, Malaria Consortium, other NGOs and in-country user’s perspectives. The overarching aim of this project is for UNICEF and WHO to take a leading role in ensuring oxygen systems products gets procured at appropriate prices and successfully implemented in countries.
Pneumonia is the leading cause of death from infectious disease in children under 5 worldwide yet it is preventable, treatable and curable. Children with severe pneumonia require oxygen therapy to treat hypoxemia, a fatal complication that affects approximately 13 percent of children with pneumonia (1.86 million cases each year). Studies have proven that well-planned oxygen systems can improve clinical outcomes for children suffering from severe pneumonia and other respiratory diseases. In one study in Papua New Guinea, oxygen therapy provided to treat hypoxemia in hospitals resulted in a 35 percent reduction in death from severe pneumonia. Medical oxygen and pulse oximetry play a central role in the treatment of hypoxemia and the oxygen project is one of the efforts UNICEF is leading around pneumonia treatment and prevention.
This project will develop interagency specifications and improve procurement mechanisms for the most critical products, devices and consumables for safe-delivery of oxygen, in consultation with an expert advisory committee. By addressing critical products for oxygen therapy the project aims to have a broader impact on oxygen therapy utilization generally, including anesthesia, emergency obstetric care, surgery, or any other health condition requiring monitoring of oxygen saturation and respiratory rate. In low and middle income country settings, poor oxygen system planning often results in an inconsistent or low system capacity. This project will seek to address these common issues through the scoping and creation of an online tool to support oxygen system planning and maintenance.
The development of an online tool will enable more efficient and informed selection, procurement, installation, training, and maintenance of oxygen therapy technologies, at all levels of the healthcare system. Through these outputs, this project will remove barriers to scaling safe and appropriate oxygen system products in resource limited settings.