World Must Tackle Medical Oxygen Access Gap, Opinion Piece Says

Global Health NOW: Medical Oxygen: Key to Fighting COVID-19 — and the Next Respiratory Pandemic
Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

“…Medical oxygen is often a critical intervention for both pneumonia and COVID-19. It is in fact one of the most essential medicines we have, a very effective treatment that is generally safe. But as the WHO has noted, the global demand for safe, reliable access to medical oxygen has grown exponentially in low- and middle-income countries, and it remains elusive in places like Ethiopia, Uganda, Nigeria, and India. … This oxygen access gap in low- and middle-income countries is one of the defining health equity issues of our age. … To address this crisis within a crisis, governments, in collaboration with NGOs and private corporations, must invest in access to medical oxygen and build sustainable systems to provide it to patients. … The challenge we face is not a mystery. It is a question of will and focus. While the world waits for a COVID-19 vaccine, people deserve access to the best treatment we have available now — no matter where they live. By investing in safe, reliable medical oxygen now, we can spare thousands of lives from premature death, weaken COVID’s deadly toll on our global society, and prepare countries for the next respiratory pandemic” (11/30).

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