An all-in-one emergency solution to produce large volumes of medical oxygen
Access to oxygen can be the difference between life and death for patients with severe COVID-19. It is also a critical treatment for children with pneumonia, which remains the leading infectious killer of children under 5 years, claiming over 800,000 lives every year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned an existing oxygen gap in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) into a crisis. The overwhelming number of patients in need of oxygen therapy far outstrips the existing capacity at hospitals and health facilities: over half a million COVID-19 patients in LMICs need oxygen therapy every day. An estimated 4.2 million children with pneumonia also cannot access this life-saving medical gas each year.
Thousands of oxygen concentrators have been delivered to health facilities around the world as part of the COVID-19 response. Although these devices are critical in treating COVID-19, they are limited in the number of patients they can reach at one time. Large-scale oxygen sources are needed to serve health facilities with hundreds of patients at a time.
UNICEF worked with industry to rapidly develop an innovative emergency solution: the Oxygen Plant-in-a-Box.
A fully functional Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) oxygen plant, the package includes everything needed to produce large volumes of medical grade oxygen, including accessories supplied in the right quantities, installation of equipment, pre-planned maintenance services and staff training. Easily procured and rapidly deployed, plants can be operational within days of arriving at a facility.
By providing this innovative off-the-shelf package UNICEF can help governments avoid
lengthy, risky and costly efforts to design and procure custom-made plants.
Plants are designed for health facilities in low-resource settings, and those faced with a sudden emergency, such as rising COVID cases.
They come in two configurations – standard and containerized. Standard plants are shipped as individual pieces and installed in an existing indoor space. Containerized plants are installed in a shipping container that can be set up outside a health facility.
Once set up, each plant can immediately deliver oxygen to patients via cylinders placed at their bedside, which are then returned to the plant to be refilled.
Plants are also designed to be compatible with ward piped systems, if available now or in the future. In this way, continuous medical oxygen can be an integrated service, making oxygen therapy a standard part of health systems.
cylinders (20-litre bottles) can be filled in a 24-hour period
litres of medical oxygen can be provided in a 24-hour period
children with severe pneumonia or 50-60 COVID-19 patients can receive round the clock oxygen treatment at once.
UNICEF worked with industry to take the package from idea to reality within just months. Now Oxygen Plant-in-a-Box packages are on their way to support countries as they respond to the ongoing pandemic.
This innovation will help save the lives of thousands of patients. With oxygen a critical treatment for COVID-19, as well as children with pneumonia, mothers with birth complications and sick newborns, it will also help countries build back better after the pandemic.