Solar oxygen therapy hailed

National

By OGIA MIAMEL
Solar-powered oxygen therapy used in rural hospitals of nine provinces has proven to be a success, Health Department’s Dr Francis Pulsan says.
He said it was costly for the department to purchase and transfer oxygen bottles to rural health facilities, and most of those facilities did not have reliable 24/7 power to use the oxygen.
“The lack of oxygen can cause many deaths,” Pulsan said.
“Oxygen therapy can be used in rural health facilities.
“It can be powered by solar and it can reduce mortality in children with pneumonia.”
Pulsan said the therapy project was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2015 to help reduce deaths in children with pneumonia.
“We aim to assess feasibility and sustainability in improving oxygen systems, and reliable power supply on a larger scale, in remote rural facilities in PNG,” he said.
There are 36 sites in nine provinces covered by the project, benefiting a catchment population of 1.2 million.
Most of the sites are in the Highlands and there is one each in East New Britain and Central.
Pulsan said the criteria for health facilities to have the equipment installed were that a health facility must have high burden of pneumonia deaths and referrals, must be a busy facility, it should have difficulty in getting oxygen, have no reliable power and the staff should be keen to participate in training.
“We also issue health facilities with oxygen equipment and protocols for the use of oxygen and spare parts,” Pulsan said.

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