Low blood oxygen – known as hypoxemia – is a life-threatening complication of many illnesses, including pneumonia, sepsis, and malaria. One in six children under the age of five admitted to the hospital are hypoxemic, increasing their risk of death up to seven-fold. Hypoxemia contributes to over 800,000 deaths each year in low- and middle-income countries — many of which could be prevented with oxygen therapy.
But many hospitals in low- and middle-income countries are not properly equipped to provide life-saving oxygen therapy. Over 90 percent of facilities do not have pulse oximeters, the simple handheld devices used to measure blood oxygen levels. Fewer than half of these facilities have a reliable oxygen supply. Because of this, only 20 percent of hypoxemic patients are diagnosed and less than half of these receive the oxygen therapy they need.
The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) work directly with governments and health administrators to make pulse oximeters and high-quality medical oxygen available in hospitals. They also work to put in place policies and practices that ensure all patients are screened for hypoxemia, oxygen is available in all hospital wards, oxygen systems are maintained, and health facilities without oxygen can rapidly transport patients to a hospital to receive proper care.
The project will focus on five countries — India, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda — facing some of the greatest needs for access to oxygen therapy. These countries account for nearly one-third of estimated hypoxemia cases globally.
CHAI and MCRI have achieved dramatic results in their pilot projects. After working with 74 Nigerian and Ethiopian hospitals, the proportion of hypoxemic children receiving oxygen doubled. In South West Nigeria, a peer-reviewed evaluation showed that access to pulse oximetry and oxygen therapy halved the risk of death for children admitted to hospital with pneumonia.
About Our Team
The CHAI and MCRI teams are driven by a commitment to healthcare equity, striving to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable patients — especially children — by tackling seemingly-intractable neglected global health problems. CHAI brings established country teams and strong relationships with governments, distributors, and regulators, while MCRI brings expertise in field research, child health policy, clinical training, and global health advocacy.
Dr. Mphu Ramatlapeng, Executive Vice President for Implementation, Clinton Health Access Initiative
Dr. Hamish Graham, Senior Research Fellow, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
Zachary Katz, Vice President–Essential Medicines, Clinton Health Access Initiative
Audrey Battu, Director–Essential Medicines, Clinton Health Access Initiative
Felix Lam, Associate Director–Essential Medicines, Clinton Health Access Initiative
Martha Gartley, Senior Technical Adviser–Essential Medicines, Clinton Health Access Initiative
Jason Houdek, Senior Technical Adviser–Essential Medicines, Clinton Health Access Initiative
Rosemary Kihoto, Program Director–Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health, Clinton Health Access Initiative (Kenya)
Habtamu Seyoum, Senior Program Manager–Child Survival, Clinton Health Access Initiative (Ethiopia)
Chizoba Fashanu, Deputy Program Director–Malaria and Essential Medicines, Clinton Health Access Initiative (Nigeria)
Deepak Dabas, Associate Director–Essential Medicines, Clinton Health Access Initiative (India)
Yewande Kamuntu, Program Manager–Hypoxemia Diagnosis and Treatment, Clinton Health Access Initiative (Uganda)
Jason Houdek, Senior Technical Adviser, Clinton Health Access Initiative, (312) 513-9283