Oxygen systems in districts will help

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 5th September, 2012

OBTAINING and implementing better oxygen systems in district hospitals will improve the quality of pediatric care in Papua New Guinea, a pediatrician says.
Dr Martin Sa’avu told the second day of the medical symposium in Port Moresby yesterday that a study of five district hospitals – Ialibu, Mingende, Mambisanda, Kompiam and Paiam in three highlands provinces of Chimbu, Southern Highlands and Enga – showed that proper oxygen systems reduced 35% of pneumonia cases.
He said PNG’s annual report on child morbidity and mortality in 2010-11 showed pneumonia in children and neonatal illness made up more than 50% of all admissions and deaths in the country’s hospitals.
He said the World Health Organisation recommendations for the treatment of severe pneumonia included effective oxygen therapy
“New oxygen systems, including oxygen concentrators, have proven effective in provincial hospitals with up to 35% reduction in mortality from pneumonia,” he said.
Sa’avu said the study from 2007-10 revealed a total of 7,688 pediatric cases of which 2,756 were pneumonia,  with 108 deaths from pneumonia.
He said although cylinder oxygen was the main source of oxygen supply, it was irregular and not reliable due to high transport costs and logistics, which was the main problem.
Although Pulse Oximeters were available in most hospitals, these were clinically not used widely for patient care.
Sa’avu said the study also found that basic neonatal care facilities were lacking in district hospitals in terms of infection control, feeding and warming.
 He said there was a lack of training and regular visits from the provincial health office.