Hypoxemia, insufficient oxygen in the blood, affects millions of people each year suffering from a range of common conditions—including newborn complications, obstetric emergencies, and pneumonia. Because of the prevalence of hypoxemia, oxygen is one of the 30 high-priority lifesaving medicines for women and children included in the World Health Organization Model List of Essential Medicines. However, evidence suggests that nearly half of hospitals in low- and middle-income countries have inconsistent or no supply of oxygen, and only half have working pulse oximeters to measure the oxygen level in blood—a critical element of safe oxygen delivery. Unreliable access to safe oxygen is the result of many complex, interlocking market and health system issues. Working in close partnership with country stakeholders and industry members, PATH’s Increasing Access to Safe Oxygen and Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (MNCH) Devices project aims to provide technical assistance and build capacity in support of oxygen delivery scale-up at the country level, with an eye toward expanding to other essential medical devices specifically for MNCH. This fact sheet provides an overview of this work.
Publication date: October 2019