UNITAID / OXYGEN URGENT NEED

10-Nov-2021 00:03:12
Ahead of World Pneumonia Day, global health agency Unitaid calls on all partners to dramatically increase funding for the oxygen response and joins the Every Breath Counts Coalition in urging high-burden country governments to take action to reduce air pollution-related pneumonia deaths. UNITAID
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STORY: UNITAID / OXYGEN URGENT NEED
TRT: 03:12
SOURCE: UNITAID
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: MAY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (UNITAID) / FILE
SHOTLIST
FILE – ALIMA

1. Wide shots, exterior, health centre in Gbessia, Guinea.
2. Wide shot, interior, health centre in Gbessia, Guinea.

UNITAID - MAY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

3. SOUNDBITE (English) Robert Matiru, Director of Programmes, UNITAID:
“[670,000] children die each year from pneumonia, which remains the deadliest infectious disease for children under five. Unless efforts to address pneumonia are increased, it’s likely that most low- and middle-income countries will not meet the Sustainable Development Goals targets set for 2030, just nine years from now. To reduce deaths from pneumonia, particularly among children, we need more political commitment at all levels. We need additional investments, particularly for transformative health products, such as those that measure the level of oxygen in children to detect severe disease as well as access to oxygen itself, which will save lives. Lastly, we need more coordinated efforts among all partners at global, regional, and country level.”

FILE – ALIMA

4. Medium shot, a mother is watching a doctor examine her baby in a health centre in Gbessia, Guinea.
5. Various shots, a baby is being examined by a doctor. The baby has a pulse oximeter attached to his finger.
6. Close up, a doctor is holding an ACARE device to monitor the baby’s pulse rate and oxygen levels.

UNITAID - MAY 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

7. SOUNDBITE (English) Robert Matiru, Director of Programmes, UNITAID:
“Access to oxygen therapy is one of the defining health issues of our time and the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown this into sharp relief. Unitaid, a global health agency focused on health innovation, is spearheading efforts as part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) to address entrenched market barriers to oxygen access, such as high pricing or lack of medical oxygen capacity. Together with multiple partners, Unitaid is working to assess and develop tailor-made solutions for countries, such as pressure swing absorption plants, which are medium-size generators of oxygen, bulk liquid oxygen, as well as portable oxygen concentrators. In addition, we are supporting the human capital that is required to service and maintain this important equipment. On World Pneumonia Day, Unitaid calls on all partners at all levels to dramatically increase funding for the oxygen response to help us tackle COVID-19 today, but also sustainably invest in the health of so many for the future.”

FILE - ALIMA

8. Various shots, after getting undressed, a coughing man is examined by a physician at the Epidemiological treatment centre in Gbessia, Guinea. The wears a pulse oximeter on his finger. The doctor then uses an infrared thermometer to take the man’s temperature.
STORYLINE
Pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs and is caused by infectious agents, including viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, pneumonia was the world’s biggest infectious killer of adults and children with 2.5 million reported deaths in 2019. Almost a third of all pneumonia deaths were due to polluted air in 2019.

This curable and preventable infectious disease remains the deadliest for children under five, claiming 670,000 lives each year; most deaths occurring among children under the age of one. In 2019, just five countries were responsible for half of all child pneumonia deaths: Nigeria (129,000), India (128,000), Pakistan (47,000), Ethiopia (20,000), and Niger (17,000).

On World Pneumonia Day (12 Nov), global health agency Unitaid calls on all partners to dramatically increase funding for the oxygen response and joins the Every Breath Counts Coalition in urging high-burden country governments to take action to reduce air pollution-related pneumonia deaths.

Coupled with antibiotics, medical oxygen could save the lives of many children who develop severe pneumonia. Access to medical oxygen commodities is therefore a vital component in the fight against pneumonia. Now, with the COVID-19 health crisis, the challenges around provision in low- and middle-income (LMICs) countries have never been greater.

Robert Matiru, Director of Programmes at Unitaid, warns that without increased efforts to address pneumonia and inequities in access to lifesaving tools, most low- and middle-income countries will not meet the related sustainable development goal targets set by the United Nations for 2030. The target for child mortality aims to end, by 2030, preventable deaths of new-borns and children under 5 years of age.

“We need more political commitment; we need additional investments for health products such as pulse oximeters for checking blood-oxygen level to detect severe disease as well as oxygen itself to save lives,” said Robert Matiru. “And lastly, we need more coordinated efforts among all partners at global, regional and country level.”

Since 2019, Unitaid and its partners have helped strengthen access to pulse oximeters adapted for children in primary health care facilities in LMICs. These efforts aim to address poor availability of pulse oximeters, improve the identification of hypoxaemia, and the onwards referral of severely sick children. Once hypoxaemia is identified, it is crucial that oxygen therapy is initiated as quickly as possible, but access to safe, affordable oxygen in LMICs remains low.

For this reason, it is crucial to address barriers to oxygen access such as high pricing or lack of medical oxygen capacity. Together with multiple partners, Unitaid is working to assess and develop solutions adapted to the needs of countries such as pressure swing absorption plants, bulk liquid oxygen, as well as portable oxygen concentrators.

“On World Pneumonia Day, Unitaid calls on all partners, at all levels, for more funding to the oxygen response, to help us tackle COVID-19 today, but also sustainably invest in the health of so many for the future”, Matiru said.
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