Supporting COVID-19 Response in Low Resource Settings via Locally Manufactured Medical Equipment and Energy Resilience

Project: Research

Project Details


Health services in low resource countries are already extremely under-resourced and face huge challenges in treating the approx.15% of people infected with severe symptoms of COVID-19 requiring oxygen therapy. Even with access to appropriate equipment, their energy requirements must be considered. According to the WHO, approximately one third of hospitals and clinics in sub-Saharan African countries have the reliable power supply necessary for these to be effective.
This project addresses the research challenge of developing and deploying oxygen concentrators at scale in low resource settings. The equipment should be compatible with renewable energy power supply (able to operate off-grid) and should be affordable and easy to manufacture, maintain and repair locally.

Although mobilising in response to the COVID-19 situation, this research is highly relevant to existing challenges for health care in low resource settings. Respiratory infections like pneumonia kill more people in Africa than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Oxygen was listed by the WHO as an essential medicine in 2017 but there is limited capacity for production and distribution and few hospitals in the region have sufficient supply. Availability in rural areas is even more limited.

The project is focused on creating new partnerships, bringing together organisations from Malawi and Scotland with existing shared interest in this challenge to undertake a set of activities that deliver initial knowledge contributions and lay the foundation for further funding and scale up. The project will engage with the newly launched openO2 project supported by Scottish social enterprise Creative Energie and innovation funder EnAccess, aligning our work to seek rapid impact by contributing to this initiative.
Effective start/end date1/06/2031/07/20


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