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COVID-19 Oxygen Needs Tracker

By Market Dynamics

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 (LMICs).

Explore the tool

Download customizable social media templates for the tracker.

Access Markets Matter: Closing the Oxygen Gap campaign resources.

About this resource

Oxygen access has been a long-neglected element of health system planning, despite being an essential treatment for a range of diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted the role of medical oxygen as a lifesaving therapy for patients struggling to breathe. In LMICs, 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. More than ever, timely and robust planning for reliable oxygen delivery is needed to protect and save lives.

About the tool: The COVID-19 Oxygen Needs Tracker is an advocacy tool intended to help elevate the urgency of investing in access to reliable oxygen delivery systems to meet the needs of COVID-19 in LMICs. It was developed by the COVID-19 Respiratory Care Response Coordination partnership (see additional information below). The tracker estimates the daily oxygen need based on COVID-19 cases reported by countries and does not reflect the oxygen needs for non-COVID-19 patients. This resource, therefore, underestimates the total oxygen needs of health systems in LMICs and is not intended to be used for planning or procurement purposes.

Assumptions: The data used to calculate the daily oxygen need across LMICs is pulled from the World Health Organization (WHO) Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard. Using the WHO calculation methods, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is adjusted for the percentage of severe and critical cases requiring oxygen and the amount of oxygen they require across 7 days (severe cases) or 14 days (critical cases). The final calculation in cubic meters of oxygen is divided by seven cubic meters (the size of a large oxygen cylinder) to give the number of cylinders required to meet this need. Estimates are provided for all LMICs as defined by the World Bank, including low-income, lower-middle-income, and upper-middle-income countries. As these estimates reflect only COVID-19 cases confirmed by testing, and given the limited testing in most LMICs, they underestimate the oxygen need in these countries.

About the COVID-19 Respiratory Care Response Coordination project: PATH, the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), and the Every Breath Counts coalition (EBC) are leading the work 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. For information: oxygen@path.org.

Photo: PATH/Gene Saxon

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