Oxygen for children and newborns in non-tertiary hospitals in South-west Nigeria: A needs assessment

Afr J Med Med Sci. 2016 May;45(1):31-49.


Background: Oxygen is important for the treatment of hypoxaemia associated with pneumonia, malaria, and other medical, obstetric, and surgical conditions. Access to oxygen therapy is limited in many of the high mortality settings where it would be of most benefit.

Methods: A needs assessment of 12 non-tertiary hospitals in south-west Nigeria, assessing structural, technical and clinical barriers to the provision of safe and effective oxygen therapy.

Results: Oxygen supply was reported to be a major challenge by hospital directors. All hospitals had some access to oxygen cylinders, which were expensive and frequently ran out. Nine (75%) hospitals used oxygen concentrators, which were limited by inadequate power supply and lack of maintenance capacity. Appropriate oxygen delivery and monitoring devices (nasal prongs, catheters, pulse oximeters) were poorly available, and no hospitals had clinical guidelines pertaining to the use of -oxygen for children. Oxygen was expensive to patients (median US$20/day) and to hospitals. Estimated oxygen demand is reported using both a constant mean-based estimate and adjustment for seasonal and other variability.

Conclusions: Making oxygen available to sick children and neonates in Nigerian hospitals will require: improving detection of hypoxaemia through routine use of pulse oximetry; improving access to oxygen through equipment, training, and maintenance structures; and commitment to building hospital and state structures that can sustain and expand oxygen initiatives.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Health Services Accessibility / standards
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia* / diagnosis
  • Hypoxia* / epidemiology
  • Hypoxia* / etiology
  • Hypoxia* / therapy
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Needs Assessment
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Oximetry* / methods
  • Oximetry* / statistics & numerical data
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy* / methods
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy* / standards
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy* / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality Improvement / organization & administration