UNITAID / COVID-19 OXYGEN NEEDS

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19-May-2021 00:01:28
Unitaid’s Executive Director Philippe Duneton warned about the critical need for investment in oxygen to treat COVID-19 patients in low- and middle-income countries, which have quadrupled in recent months. UNITAID

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STORY: UNITAID / COVID-19 OXYGEN NEEDS
TRT: 1:28
SOURCE: UNITAID /WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 19 MAY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / 18 JANUARY 2021, HARGEISA, SOMALILAND

SHOTLIST:

WHO - 18 JANUARY 2021, HARGEISA, SOMALILAND

1. Med shot, WHO workers unloading box with oxygen concentrator from car
2. Tracking shot, WHO workers carrying box with oxygen concentrator
3. Various shots, oxygen concentrator being set up

UNITAID - 19 MAY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

4. SOUNDBITE (English) Philippe Duneton, Unitaid Executive Director:
“Oxygen is a key and essential medicine to fight COVID-19. It can reduce mortality by 40 percent. Before COVID-19, in a lot of low- and middle-income countries, there was a failure in terms of access to oxygen. But of course, with COVID-19, demand has increased. [There are] several issues [linked to] that: one is the production, the distribution, the logistics, but also how to articulate access to oxygen [in countries’ health systems]. And that’s the reason why we need to have more investment to support the countries to develop their plans, but also more finance[ing] to get oxygen [to] the country, for the people”.

WHO - 18 JANUARY 2021, HARGEISA, SOMALILAND

5. Med shot, oxygen concentrator next to bed
6. Wide shot, patient ward in hospital
7. Med shot, baby being supported with medical oxygen
8. Wide shot, oxygen concentrator next to bed
9. Close up, shot, oxygen concentrator next to bed

STORYLINE:

Unitaid’s Executive Director Philippe Duneton warned about the critical need for investment in oxygen to treat COVID-19 patients in low- and middle-income countries, which have quadrupled in recent months.

“Oxygen is a key and essential medicine to fight COVID-19. It can reduce mortality by 40 percent,” said Philippe Duneton.

“Before COVID-19, in a lot of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), there was a failure in terms of access to oxygen. But of course, with COVID-19, demand has increased,” he added.

COVID-19 has put huge pressure on health systems, with hospitals in many in low- and middle-income countries running out of oxygen, resulting in preventable deaths and families of hospitalized patients paying a premium for scarce oxygen supplies.

In late February 2021, the COVID-19 Oxygen Emergency Taskforce was launched by Unitaid, Wellcome and the World Health Organization (WHO) as part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, bringing together key organizations working in oxygen access to address the increasing needs.

Since then, the needs for oxygen in LMICs have quadrupled from around one million cylinders required per day to nearly 4 million while the financial needs have more than tripled, rising from USD 1.6 billion per year to approximately USD 5.9 billion.

In the last week alone, several countries have seen rising COVID-19 cases and oxygen needs. These include Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Bolivia, Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Africa, to mention just a few. Funding is urgently needed to start addressing critical market failures, getting oxygen to those who need it, providing support to countries to assess their oxygen needs and apply for funding.

“We need to have more investment to support the countries to develop their plan but also more financing to get oxygen [to] the country, for the people, “ Duneton said.

Unitaid is a global health agency engaged in finding innovative solutions to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases more quickly, cheaply, and effectively, in low- and middle-income countries.
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