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December 30, 2021

SCI, GSK boost access to medical oxygen for children in Jigawa, Lagos

SCI, GSK boost access to medical oxygen for children in Jigawa, Lagos States

By Sola Ogundipe 

IN line with its commitment to ensuring timely access to medical oxygen for children suffering complications of pneumonia in Lagos and Jigawa States, Save the Children International, SCI, in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline, GSK, through the INSPIRING project, are ensuring the survival of many children beyond their fifth birthday.

According to Save the Children, the INSPIRING project  which is funded by GSK, is relentlessly working to reduce the number of child deaths by actively supporting the healthcare system in the two states to prevent, detect and treat childhood pneumonia and other childhood illnesses.

It is  doing this while strengthening capacity of communities to improve preventive and care-seeking behaviours and practices in Jigawa State.   

Recently, as part the drive to improve access to medical oxygen, the INSPIRING project provided functional oxygen systems in Dutse General Hospital and Rasheed Shekoni Specialist Hospital both in Jigawa state. 

Piped oxygen systems were also installed with outlets at every bed within the pediatric wards, to deliver oxygen to children who struggle for breath.

The project also donated oxygen concentrators to complement the oxygen cylinders to always ensure availability of oxygen in the hospital. 

Pulse oximeters were also donated to effectively measure oxygen levels and detect which child needs oxygen and what amount of oxygen to give. 

The Head of the Paediatric ward of Dutse General Hospital recounted: “We used to rush to the theatre to use oxygen and sometimes, the patient dies on the way, but nowadays, every bed is having its own oxygen provided by Save the Children. Now there is no more borrowing of cylinders.” 

To strengthen capacity of health workers to better detect and administer oxygen, the project trained healthcare workers on Pulse Oximetry and Oxygen Therapy in the state.

This training was well appreciated by the health workers as this was the first time, they had been trained in oxygen therapy for over a decade.  

The INSPIRING project is taking a step further by establishing oxygen systems at three flagship primary healthcare facilities in Kiyawa LGA of Jigawa state.

This initiative is the first of its kind in the state and children will now have access to timely oxygen and families will no longer have to travel far distances to receive emergency care for their sick children with severe pneumonia. 

These efforts will help to reduce the economic burden on families, by bringing services closer to the people and enhance community confidence in the overall health system in Jigawa state. 

For  decades, medical oxygen was not common within the health care system in Jigawa state, because many hospitals did not have the capacity to administer oxygen to patients, especially children who needed this lifesaving intervention to breathe and stay alive. 

The Dutse General Hospital, located in the city centre, usually had to rely on the only functional oxygen cylinder in the operating theatre or transport patients to the Specialist Hospital in Kano- about 100 kilometers away in search of oxygen facilities and most times, these patients were lost on the way.

Vanguard News Nigeria