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The Society of Critical Care Medicine’s (SCCM) new global health initiative, Africa Infrastructure Relief and Support (AIRS), will ensure the availability of medical oxygen to patients in the Gambia, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, made possible by a $5.5 million grant from Direct Relief and in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Global Alliance of Perioperative Professionals (GAPP) and the Institute of Global Perioperative Care. Officials in the Gambia, Liberia, and Sierra Leone will identify specific medical oxygen-related needs, including hospital-based infrastructure, oxygen-generating plants, and solar energy. SCCM plans to eventually expand the initiative to additional countries.
The World Health Organization notes that oxygen is a lifesaving essential medication with no substitute. It is used to treat respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 and pneumonia, in surgery and trauma, and often is needed for vulnerable patients, including elderly patients, pregnant patients, and newborns. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the severe lack of access to medical oxygen in various parts of the world, including several countries in West Africa.
“The Gambia, for instance, had no medical oxygen at all until last year and was relying on industrial oxygen, which is not suited for patient care,” said John B. Sampson, MD, chair of the SCCM AIRS project and an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. “In most hospitals, healthcare professionals take it for granted that they can turn a knob or push a button and provide patients with oxygen, whether through a face mask, cannula, or ventilator.”
Officials and healthcare professionals from the three countries have informed project staff about their oxygen needs and are working closely with SCCM AIRS leaders. The project will involve the development of oxygen-generating plants, installation and maintenance of solar panels to ensure an ongoing power supply to the equipment, installation of oxygen piping within facility walls, and in-depth training for workers who will operate solar and oxygen-generating systems to ensure the sustainable provision of benefits for years to come. The projects will vary based on each country’s specific needs:
Posted: 2/14/2023 | 0 comments
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