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Oxygen resources: COVID-19 and beyond

By Market Dynamics

The COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted the role of medical oxygen as a lifesaving therapy for patients struggling to breathe. Ensuring reliable supply of oxygen to adequately meet the surging demand—especially in countries where that balance is already threatened—could save lives.

Oxygen access has been a long-neglected element of health system planning, despite being an essential treatment for a range of diseases. In low- and middle-income countries, many health facilities are unequipped to meet the rising demand. Almost half of all hospitals in these areas have an inconsistent supply of medical oxygen, or lack it entirely. Even fewer have functional pulse oximeters—devices that measure blood oxygen levels and help health workers to determine delivery and dosages. More than ever, timely and robust planning for reliable oxygen delivery is needed to protect and save lives.

This page brings together resources to support countries in planning and executing a respiratory care strategy in the context of COVID-19. We encourage you to disseminate this resource widely and submit additional materials that should be added to this page by sending an email to We will continue to update the page on a regular basis.


COVID-19 Oxygen Needs Tracker

UPDATED! This critical advocacy tool is now more interactive than ever. Users can adjust hospitalization rate and clinical assumptions to calculate the oxygen need for COVID-19 across the globe.

Access here

Technical resources and tools

Date last update: December 2, 2021

Business Models Brief

It is critical that decision-makers and implementers understand the complexities of the oxygen ecosystem, the various business models that comprise it, and how they impact patient access. This brief introduces the oxygen ecosystem that business models operate within and then outlines four types of business models: bulk supply agreements, cash-and-carry filling stations, direct equipment purchases, and equipment leasing.

Respiratory Care Equipment Procurement Options

This summary brief outlines organizations that play a pivotal role in financing, coordinating, and conducting respiratory care equipment procurements. It aims to increase awareness of the various procurement options available to prospective buyers—such as public procurement entities at national and subnational levels, public and private health facilities, and nongovernmental organizations—in order to inform purchasing decisions. It also aims to strengthen coordination among relevant global stakeholders by increasing understanding of each organization’s offerings and capabilities.

Sub-Saharan Africa Respiratory Care Equipment Distributors

This interactive tool and brief highlights the outcomes of an initial landscape of respiratory care equipment distributors across sub-Saharan Africa—which is intended to provide market insights into distributors in the region who can provide quality products and after-sales support and aims to alleviate sourcing challenges during demand surges. It can serve as a starting point for potential buyers seeking to rapidly identify local vendors for respiratory care equipment and/or after-sales services in sub-Saharan Africa.

Oxygen Generation and Storage brief series

This supply intelligence brief series is intended to be a concise primer for decision-makers who govern, lead, support, or manage health systems and their associated facilities. Providing an overview of the key elements that define each technology—as well as key considerations related to COVID-19—it can establish a starting point for understanding the solutions available to meet a health system’s need for medical oxygen and its delivery.

Access to Oxygen (A2O2) Resource Library

This resource library is designed as a central place to host global and country-specific tools, guidance, data, publications, policies, protocols, and advocacy resources related to oxygen delivery systems and oxygen scale-up. Frequently updated, it is intended as a living resource to support countries in planning and executing a respiratory care strategy in the context of COVID-19 and beyond, as part of long-term respiratory care planning. It is also useful for anyone who is working within the oxygen ecosystem or wants to learn more about it.

Respiratory Care Equipment Market Report

This market report serves as a preliminary guide to available suppliers with capacity to provide equipment for respiratory care. It is intended to help buyers conduct an initial assessment of the supplier landscape for each product of interest.

The report covers oxygen concentrators, cylinders, delivery interfaces, handheld pulse oximeters, patient monitors, and vacuum / pressure swing adsorption plants. For each product, the report offers a list of suppliers, a brief overview of critical technical specifications to consider, and a product price range is included.

COVID-19 Catalog of Training Resources for Health Care Workers

A comprehensive list of training resources aimed to better equip health care workers (HCWs) in low- and middle-income countries who are directly involved in patient care to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The catalog of resources targets training of HCWs at primary and referral levels of care. It addresses topics relevant to COVID-19 response, such as triage, diagnostics, home management, basic respiratory care clinical skills, advanced respiratory care clinical skills, non-respiratory complications clinical skills, maternal health, infection prevention and control, anesthesia, device operation, device maintenance, self-care, and palliative care. Training offered via these resources can be feasibly implemented through in-person or standard online platforms (computer, mobile phone) and does not require complex technologies that may be unavailable in a resource-constrained setting.

COVID-19 Facility Assessment Resources

A directory of resources aimed to help assess and plan health facility preparedness for COVID-19. The directory provides access to 1) key tools for conducting facility-based survey for rapid deployment and assessment of biomedical equipment for COVID-19 treatment and response (e.g. the WHO biomedical equipment survey), as well as 2) supportive training resources to navigate those tools. It is intended for health facility administrators, health care workers, procurement officers, biomedical engineers, data mangers, and others involved in assessment and planning for health facility preparedness.

Biomedical Equipment Surveys

Communications and advocacy resources

Blogs and articles

Pulse oximetry—from Apple Watch to equitable access article

Easing the oxygen shortage for COVID-19 and beyond article

COVID-19 and Oxygen: Selecting Supply Options in LMICs that Balance Immediate Needs with Long-Term Cost-Effectiveness article

A year into COVID-19, medical oxygen scarcity still costing lives article

Learning From India: How Low- and Middle-Income Countries Can Scale up Access to Oxygen During a COVID-19 Surge article

Why is delivering medical oxygen so complicated? article

Expanding access to lifesaving oxygen therapy for infants and children article

Broken equipment and surging demand for oxygen left Tanzania hospitals in a bind article

Accelerating oxygen access during India's second wave article

What pneumonia can teach us about COVID-19 article

From production to patient: A roadmap to strengthen oxygen access in Malawi case study

Closing gaps in oxygen access and respiratory care case study

By canoe, car, or foot: The journey to high-quality health data article

Advocacy resources

COVID-19 Oxygen Needs tracker

An interactive tool to help advocates, decision-makers, and implementers communicate the urgency of investing in access to medical oxygen and related technologies to meet the needs of COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries.

Markets Matter: Closing the Oxygen Gap advocacy campaign (unbranded visuals and messaging)

Oxygen Is Essential: A Policy and Advocacy Primer

The primer provides the data, messages, and resources to help understand the planning, policies, and technologies involved in oxygen delivery scale-up. The materials are useful to anyone who wants to learn about scaling up access to oxygen and integrating oxygen delivery across national and subnational policies, programs, and health budgets.

Resources to support COVID-19 responses in LMICs

Recognizing that guidance has been shared by various agencies but may not be easily accessible to policymakers, practitioners, and other health stakeholders, PATH has compiled this resource page of guidance and model language from across many sources to inform low- and middle- income country responses to COVID-19.


Markets Matter: Closing the Oxygen Access Gap webinar

Oxygen is essential therapy for COVID-19 patients struggling to breathe, yet shortages in oxygen supply remain a challenge in low-and middle-income countries because of a web of interrelated issues. Why does oxygen supply disruption happen and how do we solve it? This PATH Live Forum disentangles key challenges impeding access –from demand planning to financing to supply and distribution systems –as well as innovative solutions to solve them for COVID-19 and beyond.

Fact sheets

COVID-19 Respiratory Care Response Coordination project

PATH, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), and the Every Breath Counts (EBC) coalition are leading the COVID-19 Respiratory Care Response Coordination project to support country decision-makers in the development and execution of a comprehensive respiratory care plan to meet the demands of COVID-19. The project is also pursuing strategies to help prioritize and improve access to oxygen therapy and other essential equipment involved in respiratory care as an integral part of health systems strengthening, beyond the pandemic response. The partnership is supporting efforts in Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Vietnam, and Zambia.

Photo credit: cover - The World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists; other - PATH