Pneumonia is the leading cause of pediatric mortality globally, yet access to essential oxygen therapies is limited in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Current oxygen solutions such as cylinders and grid-powered concentrators depend on robust supply chains and electrical networks, and are therefore unreliable in low-resource settings. Our innovation is a solar-powered oxygen (SPO2) system consisting of an oxygen concentrator, connected to a battery bank and solar panels, which produces medical grade oxygen without access to the power grid. These systems, currently implemented in Uganda, are reliable, sustainable, cost-effective, and non-inferior to traditional oxygen delivery methods. Our team at empewo is working with Grand Challenges Canada and the Clinton Health Access Initiative to scale up solar-powered oxygen to 20 sites across Uganda in 2018. With further expansion planned in the years to come, we hope to help address the significant burden of pediatric pneumonia in resource-limited settings across the world.
How does your innovation work?
Pneumonia is a major cause of child mortality globally. Yet life-saving oxygen therapy is challenging to administer in remote areas. Our bold idea is to develop and test solar powered oxygen concentrators. Starting with abundant, freely available resources, we can use the sun to extract oxygen from air to rescue children with pneumonia.