Published By: Build Health International

Co-Founders David Walton and Jim Ansara Featured in Oxygen Op-Ed for STAT News

Build Health International Co-Founders, Dr. David Walton and Jim Ansara wrote an op-ed for STAT News, in which they shared how equitable oxygen access can reduce tens-of-thousands of preventable deaths each year. Read the full story here

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Since the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic more than six months ago, we have passed many grim milestones — worldwide, there have now been more than 35 million cases and 1 million deaths from the disease.

As the virus continues to expand its reach, it is worsening the public health disparities and inequities that advocates have been warning about for decades and making the devastating consequences of inaction harder and harder to ignore.

One of the glaring global inequities creating enormous quality-of-care challenges for doctors, nurses, and other health care providers, especially in countries with fragile health systems, is limited access to medical oxygen. In low-resource settings around the world, where many lack access even to electricity and clean water, oxygen availability is severely limited.

The disparity in safe, reliable access to medical oxygen — which is needed to treat a range of diseases and health conditions, and is absolutely essential for treating Covid-19 — is further compounded as health systems are overwhelmed by surges of patients.

The consequences of limited access to oxygen are too dire to go unchecked: It causes preventable deaths every day. In 2010, an international team made a call for international action to make medical oxygen an “essential medication” and improve access to it. In 2017, a group of experts from the WHO wrote that “safe and effective provision of oxygen is a challenge for doctors, hospital administrators, and government officials globally.” A study in Papua New Guinea showed that providing reliable systems for delivering oxygen in health care settings could reduce child pneumonia deaths by as much as 35%.

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Access the full article here