While most people with COVID-19 develop only mild or moderate respiratory tract disease, approximately 20 percent develop severe or critical disease that requires oxygen therapy to support breathing. In many health facilities across low- and middle-income countries, however, oxygen therapy—including diagnosis, generation, and delivery equipment—is not reliably available.
Many of the tools and capabilities needed to overcome these barriers already exist across different global health and implementing organizations, manufacturers and suppliers, and country governments. To ensure that those who need respiratory care support due to COVID-19, or beyond, receive it, immediate steps are necessary to coordinate the global response that prioritizes reliable access to oxygen.
This fact sheet offers an overview of the project to support countries in planning and executing a respiratory care plan to meet the demands of COVID-19, as well as pursue 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.
Publication date: May 2020