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.