Saving children’s lives with oxygen

In Pakistan, one-year-old Muhammad Umar suffers from pneumonia, A child dies of pneumonia every 43 seconds a condition that kills 700,000 children under five each year . He was admitted to the emergency ward where, for two days, he received oxygen to help him breathe while antibiotics fought the disease.   "My child was admitted to the emergency…, An investment in over 130 oxygen plants worldwide, Since 2021, UNICEF has expanded its health programming to bring fully operational Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) plants, which are systems that extract oxygen from the air, to locations in need. Amid the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF launched the Plant in a Box project Plant in a Box project which aims to install 130 plants in over 40…, Conquering complexities: The road to oxygen access, Oxygen plants are complex. They are challenging to deliver, to install, and to operate. UNICEF has collaborated with partners and governments to address these hurdles so that that children receive the oxygen they need to survive, with key actions illustrated below., In a room filled with oxygen plant machinery and oxygen cylinders, a exams a large piece of equipment. Close coordination for timely delivery, Transporting the delicate components required for oxygen plants, including generators, cylinders, and humidifiers, across vast distances and varied terrains presents logistical challenges. These components, often exceeding 500 pieces per plant, are not only bulky but also prone to damage and delays. This complexity requires detailed coordination…, Solar panels in Pakistan. Solar installations for uninterrupted power supply, In regions poorly equipped to support large electrical systems, producing oxygen is a major challenge. It is a process that involves compressing and purifying air to isolate oxygen, then storing and distributing it under pressure, all tasks that require a stable power supply. In Pakistan, solar panels are ensuring that newly installed oxygen…, UNICEF staff in front of a newly installed oxygen plant in Calabar, Nigeria. Technical assistance to prepare sites for plant installation, Each country adopts a unique approach to identify the most suitable locations for oxygen plants, typically within or adjacent to large health facilities. However, these sites often face challenges such as limited space or adverse climate conditions, which can disrupt a steady oxygen supply. For instance, in Guinea, inflation caused the…, Health workers wearing personal protective equipment receiving guidance on how to use a piece of equipment held by a trainer. Training of engineers and health workers, In many countries, the lack of oxygen plant engineers leads to skill shortages for operating such technology. Health workers also require training to administer the correct oxygen levels. Consequently, each plant installation includes training for biomedical engineers and healthcare workers, along with a comprehensive maintenance plan and spare…, A woman holds a baby wearing nasal cannulas receiving oxygen therapy. Delivering through crises, Emergency situations present significant complications. In Sudan, the first-ever UNICEF-procured oxygen plants were set up just months before conflict broke out. Tragically, nearby conflict damaged hospital equipment and disrupted services. In response, UNICEF urgently relocated the oxygen plant equipment to a safe place, waiting for an…, The impact of investing in oxygen plants, When all 130 plants become fully operational by 2025, they will provide essential oxygen therapy to an estimated 400,000 sick children with hypoxemia each year, and access to oxygen for millions. This includes the facility near Umar’s home in Pakistan, where UNICEF and the government have invested in five plants installed in five district…, A message to world leaders: Oxygen must be a sustained investment, As the World Health Assembly gathers this year, partners will be discussing the most critical issues in health. This will include how to realize the universal commitment to ensure that medical oxygen is accessible across health services worldwide. Last year, world leaders made Increasing access to medical oxygen a resolution that urges countries…

From ideas to impact for children: The evolution of product innovation at UNICEF

Innovation has always been integral to UNICEF, intertwined with the organization’s origin and mission. Products like nutrient-rich powdered skim milk used in the 1960s for combating malnutrition in children, and oral rehydration salts in the 1990s as a remedy for diarrhoea, were critical innovations of their time. Harnessing 75 years of experience…, 2010-2014: Letting a thousand flowers bloom, UNICEF’s global supply hub launched its first formalized product innovation unit in 2010, to strategize and streamline the innovation of supplies across the organization. The initially small team, beginning with just two staff, embraced a bold approach characterized by exploring numerous ideas. This phase of innovation involved trying every idea…, 2015-2017: Research, development, and co-created innovation, A more strategic approach to innovation was necessary to balance the enthusiasm for generating ideas with pragmatism for the practical implementation of those ideas. One of the standout successes during this time was the UNICEF's High Performance Tent High Performance Ten t, a versatile solution used during emergencies as a health facility, school…, 2018-2019: Scaling innovation  , With thousands of innovators in the development sector striving to introduce new products for children, but with few products reaching scale mainly due to resource limitations, it became clear that UNICEF must prioritize its efforts and focus in areas where it can have the biggest impact: scaling innovations. By utilizing its vast presence across…, 2020-2024: Driving demand  , As UNICEF delved deeper into the nuances of scaling innovations, a crucial realisation emerged: true scaling is inherently linked to driving demand. After noting numerous instances where countries refused new products, UNICEF recognized that the challenge of scaling is seldom about supply, but directly tied to a lack of demand. It's about ensuring…

How assistive technology restores dreams for children with disabilities amid adversity and conflict

From a school in Rwanda, to a playground in Afghanistan where girls are no longer allowed to play sports, to a temporary shelter in Ukraine, and war-torn streets in Syria; from regaining the ability to hear and move, to recovering from the ravages of conflict; these children are united. They are united in the newfound hope and the dreams recovered…, icon Mobility assistive products, Our selection of eight wheelchair types– from transport, active users to postural support chairs, available in child and adult sizes – ensures that each user can be fitted with the right model and/or size based on their need and context. For additional comfort and support, a range of cushions –from postural to different levels of pressure…, icon Hearing assistive products, Our selection of five hearing aid types – programmable, behind-the-ear hearing aids, available in child or adult sizes, configurable to suit mild, moderate or profound hearing loss – ensures that each user can be fitted with the right type based on their need and context., icon Stay tuned for 2024, UNICEF plans to expand its catalogue by introducing a new range of assistive products ready for procurement in 2024, broadening the disability portfolio to vision, incontinence, inclusive education and digital AT products. To learn more about the transformative impact of these devices in the lives of children with disabilities, see last year’s…

Three ways UNICEF is innovating for children and unlocking their creativity

Children and young people need support to nurture their potential as innovators. They are also aware of the challenges their communities face. Cultivating their creativity and critical thinking skills is key to helping them develop their capacity to address these issues.  Through three different play initiatives, About UNICEF Supply Division…, Imagining the future and building it, brick by brick, UNICEF teamed up with the LEGO Group to launch Build the Change workshops across different countries and regions. Thousands of young innovators from Cambodia, Costa Rica, Egypt and New games awaken the creative spirit of children Madagascar joined this special collaboration to build a more child-friendly world using LEGO bricks. Children were…, Teacher Kong Kunthea, 29, guides children to share ideas and build solutions during the LEGO Build the Change workshop in Prey Chhrok Primary School, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia in September 2022. The workshops explored what child friendly spaces should look like and what products children who have fled conflict or natural disasters might need to…, UNICEF/UN0727453/Sells A schoolboy showing his work made with LEGO bricks. Egypt-MyDreamJob-2023, Chris William Abkar, 12, a South Sudanese student in Egypt shares his dreams of being a pilot. “I built something between a plane and a bike, I called it the ‘flying bike’. This will take me anywhere, in any country where I can have a beautiful big home and my family and I can live all together.”, UNICEF/Egypt/2022/CRS School children playing with LEGO bricks. Costa Rica-BuildTheChange-2023, During the LEGO Build the Change workshops in Costa Rica, teachers spoke to children about migration and the challenges facing children and families who leave their homes behind. Children shared their ideas and solutions, building shelters and homes to welcome children on the move., UNICEF/Costa Rica/2022/Howell School children having fun while playing with LEGO bricks. Madagascar-UN0763120-2023, School children from Ampefiloha Primary Public School, Antananarivo, Madagascar have fun while sharing their ideas to make a better world for children using LEGO bricks. Over 16,000 students participated in the LEGO Build the Change workshops organized by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education of Madagascar., UNICEF/UN0763120/Ramasomanana A teacher and her schoolchildren playing with LEGO bricks. A schoolboy showing his work made with LEGO bricks. School children playing with LEGO bricks. School children having fun while playing with LEGO bricks., Repurposing cardboard into play for children’s recovery, One of UNICEF’s latest product innovation initiatives, Project Play Project Play, aims to repurpose packaging into toys to stimulate play among malnourished children. The project is already bringing smiles to children in Uganda, Pakistan and Sierra Leone during proof-of-concept testing that started in 2022. By including pre-printed and pre-cut…, UNICEF Uganda unveiling the new printed toys integrated into Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) packaging, developed through a collaborative co-creation process with suppliers that ensured no compromise on strength and minimum disturbance to production lines., UNICEF/Uganda/2022/Etia A child playing with her new cardboard toy. Uganda-ProjectPlay2-2023, A child at the Mulago National Referral Hospital in Kampala, Uganda, found an innovative use for the cardboard car-toy by turning it into a phone – creativity at its finest!, UNICEF/Uganda/2022/Nabisere Two caretekers playing with a girl. SierraLeone-ProjectPlay-2023, At Ola During Children’s Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, caretakers participating in UNICEF’s early child development program are encouraged to create a caring environment that includes play stimulation crucial for healthy growth and development., UNICEF/Sierra Leone/2022/Mason A mother playing with her son. Pakistan-ProjectPlay-2023, “My son liked it so much that he was folding and unfolding the animals constantly, his mind was completely engaged", says Sundai, a mother from the flood-affected area in Umerkot, Pakistan, as she smiles watching her 3-year-old play with cardboard toys., UNICEF/Pakistan/2022/Shuja Two volunteers unveiling the new printed toys. A child playing with her new cardboard toy. Two caretekers playing with a girl. A mother playing with her son., Creating sustainable toys for malnourished children, designed by children, Drawing inspiration from Project Play, UNICEF Burundi organized Play to Heal , a three-day competition for 100 children aged 5-15. This time around it was kids who became the creators of toys for other kids. The young minds were invited to design toys for the stimulation of children under treatment for acute malnutrition using empty RUTF cartons…, Children showing the best designs of their choice during the last day of the three-day toy-making competition in Burundi., UNICEF/Burundi/2022/Santamaría A schoolgirl with the toy she made her win the first prize. Burundi-PlayToHeal2-2023, "The box can be attractive to younger children in several ways, including the colors, sticks and numbers. At the same time, the mother or caretaker can also use it to teach the child colors and numbers.” Ninzinza Nycia Josepha, 12, who won the first prize., UNICEF/Burundi/2022/Amizero A boy surrounded by UNICEF staff showing a cardboard house. Burundi-Play-to-Heal6-2023, Justin, a 14-year-old child from the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) sites, wins the 4th prize with his creative cardboard house: "The child will try to discover my house (the floor, the stairs inside...) through the doors and windows. Children love to play with houses, cardboard boxes are common in our communities, the child can also search…, UNICEF/Burundi/2022/Amizero Healthcare staff playing with a child in hospital. Burundi-PlayToHeal4-2023, Healthcare staff engages in playful cognitive stimulation with a child at Buyenzi Health Centre in Burundi. Toys made by the young creators are currently used for the stimulation of children under 5 years of age suffering from severe acute malnutrition at three pilot health centers in the country., UNICEF/Burundi/2022/Heraty Children showing the results of a toy-making competition. A schoolgirl with the toy she made her win the first prize. A boy surrounded by UNICEF staff showing a cardboard house. Healthcare staff playing with a child in hospital.

Driving innovation in construction at UNICEF

Innovation is an important part of UNICEF’s mission to realize the rights of every child, especially the most excluded. UNICEF is a powerful force for social transformation and can help address a range of humanitarian challenges, including water and sanitation, health, education and child protection.   Construction at UNICEF UNICEF construction…, Reimagining education systems in Cameroon using digital learning tools, Many construction innovations developed by UNICEF are focused on modernizing or scaling infrastructure for education.   ‘Connect My School’, for example, was launched to provide access to digital learning opportunities and reinforce quality education for children in Cameroon. The initiative supports Cameroon’s national mandate to provide…, Residential solutions to create safe living environments in Mongolia, UNICEF’s construction innovations take many forms and support its programmes for children, including direct support for family housing.   In Mongolia’s extremely harsh winters, coal-fired stoves are used for heating in traditional Mongolian dwellings known locally as gers . Consequently, air pollution in Mongolia is caused mainly by coal burning…, Innovative construction materials address multiple community needs, UNICEF’s innovation initiatives often take system-based approaches to devise solutions to development or humanitarian challenges. For construction, this frequently means the use of innovative materials.   Côte d’Ivoire faces a severe and mounting waste management issue. The province of Abidjan produces 288 tons of plastic waste daily, 90 per cent…, UNICEF construction: essential role in the success of our product innovations, For health systems in many low- and middle-income countries, the COVID-19 pandemic turned an existing oxygen gap into a crisis. The innovative Oxygen Plant-in-a-Box saves the lives of children suffering from pneumonia UNICEF’s Oxygen Plant-in-a-Box is an innovative emergency solution that produces enough medical-grade oxygen to treat up to 50…

A SPRINT during the pandemic to stop pneumonia

When we think of hospitals, what may first come to mind is bright florescent lit hallways, the beeping sounds of heart monitors, cabinets filled with antibiotics and medicines, and plastic tubing of free-flowing oxygen hooked up to patients. In most regional or city hospitals across the world, this essential equipment and medicines are readily…, 1 - The tools of oxygen, Ensuring access to oxygen therapy is not the simplest of feats. Medical oxygen first needs to be concentrated, either chemically extracted from the ambient air (i.e. via an oxygen plant or concentrator) or vaporized from a liquid form and then either stored for transportation (i.e. via oxygen cylinders) or directly provided to patients (i.e. via a…, 2 - The right way to provide oxygen  , Purchasing equipment is only one part of the puzzle. There’s immense planning required to ensure the equipment is of the correct type, size and amount, and that there are maintenance plans in place, sufficient power available, and that people are trained to use the equipment properly. The photos below display three key programming pieces that…, 3 - Amoxicillin dispersible tablets - the treatment, When a patient becomes severely ill or suffers respiratory distress, oxygen is crucial to keeping the person stable and well enough to receive a medical treatment. However, this usually does not resolve the underlying condition. For pneumonia, antibiotics are needed to stop the infection of the lungs and fend off the disease. For children, the…, So, what is “SPRINT?”, SPRINT doesn’t focus on creating any new products or devices, but instead works to ensure access to already proven treatment to pneumonia. It’s a structured approach to implementing oxygen therapy and amoxicillin DT, consisting of first identifying the key bottlenecks and secondly utilizing existing knowledge to overcome these bottlenecks.   The ‘…