Fiji Oxygen Project

No child, no person, should die for lack of oxygen. Severe pneumonia in children and severe newborn illnesses, for which oxygen is a life-saving treatment, are leading causes of death in the Pacific and worldwide.

THIS PROJECT ADDRESSES THE PRESSING NEED IN THE PACIFIC TO ENSURE THAT THOSE NEEDING OXYGEN, AND THOSE WITH SEVERE HYPOXIC (OXYGEN-STARVED) ILLNESSES, GET IT.

The project will also ensure that an improved supply of oxygen translates into better clinical outcomes through enhanced detection and case management of hypoxic illnesses.

Preventing pneumonia deaths in children

  • Severe pneumonia in children and severe newborn illnesses, for which oxygen is a life-saving treatment, are leading causes of death in Fiji
  • For pneumonia, treating children with oxygen reduces death by 35%, yet many health facilities in Fiji don’t have a reliable oxygen supply
  • In partnership with the Fiji Ministry of Health and leading paediatric and technical experts, Cure Kids Fiji is improving the availability, affordability and clinical use of oxygen to save lives..

The Challenge Facing Children in Fiji

Oxygen is a vital commodity across the health service but is expensive and logistically difficult to provide. For pneumonia, the biggest killer of children worldwide, oxygen reduces death by 35% and is a ‘must-have’ according to WHO treatment guidelines. Unfortunately, many health facilities in Fiji have unreliable or rationed oxygen supplies, leaving patients vulnerable.

The Oxygen Solution

In collaboration with the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services and leading pediatric technical experts, Cure Kids are delivering new ways of improving the availability, affordability and clinical use of oxygen to save lives.

The project replaces oxygen cylinders in health centers – which are expensive, logistically difficult and often result in unreliable oxygen supplies – with bedside oxygen concentrators, which produce oxygen from the ambient air. For health centers with unreliable power supplies, a custom-designed solar power system is installed to ensure that a 24/7 supply of oxygen is available for patients who need it. The project’s technical lead is Pediatrician and researcher Dr. Stephen Howie, who delivers training with health workers and biomedical engineering staff to ensure that the equipment translates into improved outcomes for patients.

The goal is that no child in Fiji dies for lack of oxygen. The long-term outcome is to reduce death and sickness from hypoxic illnesses in the population; the medium term outcomes are to reduce case fatality and morbidity in health facilities. The short-term outcomes are:

  • Improve availability of oxygen in health facilities in Fiji
  • Improve detection and case management of hypoxic illnesses
  • Improve community awareness of and care seeking for hypoxic illnesses
  • Improve documentation and burden measurement of hypoxic illnesses

How Will Cure Kids Use Your Donation?

This programme draws on successful work carried out in Africa by Dr Stephen Howie and our successful pilot work at Nausori Health Centre, providing proof of principle. The solutions being used in this project are highly scalable, and the goal is national coverage to ensure that no communities are left unprotected.

To date this project has been successfully implemented in three sites; Nausori Health Center, Nabouwalu Subdivisional Hospital, and Taveuni Hospital; providing a reliable and life-saving oxygen supply to a combined community of over 100,000 people and approximately 94 hospital beds.

Funds raised for this project are vital in upscaling our work for successful implementation of a full-scale national programme. This includes providing:

    • Bedside equipment which turns air into oxygen
    • Advanced solar power systems to run the oxygen concentrators and ensure oxygen is always available for patients who need it
    • Training for health workers to equipment, and biomedical engineers who maintain it