Life-Saving Oxygen Upgrade for Nabouwalu Subdivisional Hospital

Oxygen is a life-saving treatment for many illnesses in children, including severe pneumonia and newborn illnesses

Oxygen is a life-saving treatment for many illnesses in children, including severe pneumonia and newborn illnesses, which are leading causes of death in Fiji. In cases of severe pneumonia, oxygen treatment has been shown to improve survival by 35%, and is also essential for many illnesses in adults.

Several oxygen concentrators and an advanced solar power system to address the unreliable power supply were installed to service the 30-bed hospital. Oxygen concentrators are small, portable machines which filter nitrogen from ambient air to supply highly pure oxygen for patients.

Delivery of oxygen to patients via concentrators has been researched in parts of Africa, Asia and Papua New Guinea with significant advantages over conventional cylinders identified, including being cost effective, accessible, safer and more reliable. Nabouwalu Hospital now has a dependable supply of oxygen which ensures that those needing oxygen, get it.

Cure Kids Fiji in partnership with the MoHMS, has now installed the new systems in three health facilities around Fiji and is working to ensure that no child dies due to a lack of oxygen. AccorHotels, Armacup, Pacific Direct Line, Rotary, ANZ and Vijay Singh are also generous supporters of the program. Ultimately, the partnership aims to provide every child in Fiji access to a reliable oxygen supply.

The partnership model of the project aims to ensure the equipment and training translate into sustainable, long term benefits to patients. A team of experts, led by paediatrician and researcher Dr Stephen Howie, of the University of Auckland, supported by Azimut 360, oversees the provision and installation of equipment, as well as training of hospital staff on the use of the machines to treat patients. Biomedical technicians and electricians from the MoHMS responsible for maintaining the equipment have been instrumental in the installation.

Dr Howie said “It is exciting to be working with the Fiji Ministry of Health, Cure Kids Fiji, and the Australian High Commission’s Direct Aid Program to ensure that Nabouwalu Hospital has a reliable, life-saving oxygen supply.  No child should die from lack of oxygen, and no adult should either, and we look forward to this being true for the whole of Fiji”

The Subdivisional Medical Officer Bua Dr Kulae Tuisabeto, is grateful and excited to receive the oxygen concentrators and solar energy system. “This very generous donation of the oxygen concentrators with solar power will greatly help us in our delivery of essential oxygen to our patients in a cost-effective manner.”

Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes said “I’m proud that Australia was able to work with the Fiji Government and Cure Kids Fiji to fund a reliable, cost-effective solution to provide much-needed oxygen treatment that will ultimately save lives. I look forward to getting out to Nabouwalu Hospital to see the oxygen concentrators in action.”

For further information or if you want to help support this project as it expands to reach additional health facilities, please contact: Jennifer Miller, Cure Kids Fiji Partnerships Manager – [email protected]