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Bringing Oxygen to Rural Hospital Clinics in Western Kenya

Area of Focus
Global Health
Location
Western Kenya

Although oxygen is a medical necessity, many rural hospitals in Africa lack access to medical oxygen. Without it, anesthesia is impossible, premature infants struggle to survive, and children with pneumonia face lower odds of survival. Health clinics throughout Kenya often deliver babies, but complicated cases are generally referred to district hospitals. Most clinics do not have any supply of oxygen, so when cases become difficult, it is a race against time to transport patients to facilities that have the supplies and staff that can treat these life-threatening difficulties.

Bringing Oxygen to Rural Hospital Clinics in Western Kenya
Bringing Oxygen to Rural Hospital Clinics in Western Kenya

The Hewa Tele oxygen plant was created to address these challenges. Birthed out of a partnership between Assist International, the GE Foundation, and the Center for Public Health and Development, the Hewa Tele oxygen plant is designed to sell oxygen at a price far below the other competitors to ensure rural health facilities in Western Kenya have a reliable supply delivered to their doorstep.

The Assist International team recently visited the Akala Health Clinic- a small rural clinic in Western Kenya that receives oxygen from Hewa Tele. During the visit, a baby born the night before was saved through the available oxygen supply. It was easy to hear the labored breathing of his tiny lungs, but the oxygen reduced the strain, allowing him to continue breathing. Without oxygen at that clinic, he would have needed to be transported to the nearest referral hospital over an hour away and may not have survived the trip. Clinic staff mentioned that they were especially happy to save the child as his father had died of AIDS the previous day.

Without this reliable supply of low-cost oxygen, this clinic director would not have been able to bring patient care at his clinic to a level that could save this baby with respiratory distress. Through oxygen, the clinic could ensure that the mother could hang on to her son, even as she grieved the loss of her husband.

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