Improving Access to Medical Oxygen for Children in Low Income Countries

Oxygen is essential for the treatment of childhood pneumonia, the leading cause of death in children under 5 globally, as well as severe malaria, sepsis, and maternal and newborn emergencies. Yet, many health facilities in the developing world do not have a reliable supply of oxygen due to cost, maintenance, poor transportation infrastructure, and unreliable electricity. This project explores sustainable and context-appropriate medical oxygen supply and delivery systems for health facilities in low-income countries.

Using a systems analysis approach and techniques from the field of Operations Research including simulation and optimization, we aim to identify cost-effective oxygen solutions that meet oxygen demand levels and take into consideration the challenges faced by low-resource health facilities. This work requires gaining an in-depth understanding of local contexts and socio-geographic factors influencing the supply of and demand for oxygen. It also involves identifying appropriate design adaptations to existing technologies, including the integration of alternative/renewable energy sources. Some systems are currently being tested in the field in The Gambia, West Africa.

Quick Facts

  • Almost 1 million children die every year from pneumonia
  • Medical oxygen is an essential treatment for pneumonia but is difficult to supply in resource-poor settings
  • Child mortality could be reduced by 35% if oxygen was reliably available in health facilities
  • Computer models can help compare and propose cost-effective oxygen solutions that overcome challenges such as poor electricity to help guide smart equipment decision-making and help save more lives

Team Members



Publications

  • Bradley BD, Chow S, Nyassi E, Cheng Y-L, Peel D, Howie SRC. (2015). A retrospective analysis of oxygen concentrator maintenance needs and costs in a low-resource setting: experience from The Gambia. Health and Technology. 4(4):319-328.
  • Bradley BD, Howie SRC, Chan TCY, Cheng Y-L. (2014). Estimating Oxygen Needs for Childhood Pneumonia in Developing Country Health Systems: A New Model for Expecting the Unexpected. PLoS ONE. 20;9(2):e89872.
  • Bradley B, Cheng Y-L, Nyassi E, Peel D, Howie SRC. (2014). An evidence-based approach to developing a training programme for the maintenance of oxygen concentrators in low-resource settings. Proceedings of the 8th International IET Appropriate Healthcare Technology Conference (AHT), London, UK.
  • Bradley BD, Qu S, Cheng Y-L, Peel D, Howie S (2012). “Options for Medical Oxygen Technology Systems in Low-resource Settings: A framework for comparison”, Proceedings of the IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC), Seattle, WA.
  • Bradley BD, Qu S, Peel D, Howie SRC, Cheng Y-L, (2012). “Storing Oxygen or Storing Energy? A Cost-Effectiveness Model for Comparing Appropriate Medical Oxygen Supply Systems in Low-resource Health Facilities with Intermittent Power”, Proceedings of the 7th International IET Appropriate Healthcare Technology Conference (AHT), London, UK.
  • Bradley BD, Light JD, Singhateh B, Koli DY, Peel D, Cheng Y-L, Howie SRC. (2012). “Temperature and Humidity Trends in a Health Centre in The Gambia: Implications for Back-up Battery Life in Tropical Settings”, Proceedings of the 7th International IET Appropriate Healthcare Technology Conference (AHT), London, UK.
  • Bradley B, Cheng Y-L, Peel D, Mullally S, Howie S. (2011). "Assessment of Power Availability and Development of a Low-Cost Battery-Powered Medical Oxygen Delivery System: For Use in Low-Resource Health Facilities in Developing Countries”, Proceedings of the IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC), Seattle, WA, pp. 148-153.