PATH's work in medical oxygen

Related program: Market dynamics

Oxygen is a lifesaving medicine with no substitute—essential across ages, countries, and diseases. Prioritizing oxygen access is vital to ensure every patient receives the appropriate respiratory care at the right time.

Oxygen therapy is an essential treatment for a wide range of conditions across all age groups, including COVID-19, severe pneumonia, newborn conditions, and obstetric emergencies. The need for medical oxygen has been on the rise for more than a decade, with diseases requiring oxygen for treatment—such as pulmonary and cardiovascular disease and asthma—accounting for a larger share of the burden.

Despite the urgent need, however, reliable access to oxygen, paired with pulse oximetry, remains inadequate across many health facilities in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) for many reasons. Limited data, perceptions about costs, poor understanding of the impact on health outcomes, and the complexity of integration and maintenance across the health system all contribute to lack of prioritization of oxygen at the national and subnational levels. Closing the oxygen access gap will require an integrated set of solutions and investment in strengthening oxygen delivery systems.

Oxygen resources: Sustainable access to save lives

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 scaling up a sustainable oxygen ecosystem to improve access and support universal health coverage.

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PATH is improving access to oxygen on multiple fronts that span advocacy and policy, market dynamics, and biomedical engineering. We work in close collaboration with country and industry partners, as well as global organizations and international agencies. Our integrated approach includes steps to understand, support, innovate, advocate, and convene to ensure that everyone has access to this essential treatment.


the multifaceted challenges preventing reliable access to oxygen and pulse oximetry.

Through in-depth technology assessments, biomedical equipment surveys, and market analysis, we work to understand key barriers to oxygen access and pulse oximetry on the ground, in partnership with ministries of health and members of the private sector.



country decision-makers in designing and implementing thoughtful solutions.

Scaling up access to oxygen is one of the most effective and critical actions decision-makers can take to improve health outcomes and save lives. We support countries to equitably improve access to sustainable, high-quality oxygen therapy and pulse oximetry at all levels of the health care system in order to reduce maternal, child, and overall mortality from hypoxemia-related causes. We also support the development of tools and resources to help decision-makers, implementers, and advocates to plan, manage, and communicate the value of scaling up oxygen delivery systems and access to oxygen and pulse oximetry.


the technologies and processes required to rapidly scale reliable access to oxygen and pulse oximetry in LMICs.

We work to accelerate global progress against pneumonia and other respiratory challenges by harnessing an integrated array of cost-effective solutions that can target diseases from multiple angles, including vaccines, access to appropriate diagnostic tools, and treatments. Read more about how we are ushering in a new era of pneumonia control.

We develop important technology innovations, such as a low-cost bubble continuous positive airway pressure (bCPAP) kit and an oxygen blender. bCPAP can provide infants with the air pressure needed to support their breathing, and when combined with an oxygen blender, it can deliver critically needed oxygen at appropriate, safe concentrations. These interventions can mean the difference between life and death and between healthy infant development and lifelong neurological damage or blindness.

In addition to technical innovations, we work to establish system innovations. We have evaluated the concept of providing oxygen as a public utility and developed it as an innovative model for increasing access to oxygen in LMICs, which you can read more about in the resource list below.



for change using new and existing evidence, priority calls to action, and future investments.

We are implementing a comprehensive advocacy approach to increase access to oxygen in LMICs, including:



stakeholders and donors across government, industry, and nonprofit sectors to share and prioritize approaches.

In 2015, we convened a first-of-its-kind forum of industry representatives for oxygen concentrators and pulse oximeters to gauge interest in and challenges with doing business in low-resource settings. This meeting teed up broader industry engagement, including the 2017 A2O2: Accelerating Access to Oxygen convening. We brought together a large coalition of country decision-makers, industry representatives, global health partners, and financiers to discuss barriers to reliable oxygen delivery systems, shared opportunities to address them, and agreed on a common path forward to improve access to safe oxygen delivery. In 2023, we co-organized a World Health Assembly side event with WHO and Unitaid to mark the adoption of the “Increasing Access to Medical Oxygen” resolution and introduce the Global Oxygen Alliance (GO2AL) as two important steps in recognizing and reaffirming the critical role of medical oxygen in building resilient health systems.


Contact us to learn more: