Cure Kids Fiji Update
Cure Kids Fiji funds research and evidence-based health programmes in Fiji that aim to improve and save the lives of children.
In recent years, with the support of AccorHotels and many other generous supporters including, Armacup, Pacific Direct Line, Rotary, FIJI Water Foundation, and Vijay Singh, Cure Kids Fiji has focused on addressing two of the most serious health conditions affecting children in Fiji:
- Pneumonia: the leading cause of death for under five-year-olds in Fiji, and
- Rheumatic heart disease: a significant cause of death and disability in young people, affecting one in 50 children.
Severe pneumonia in children and serious newborn illnesses, for which oxygen is a life-saving treatment, are leading causes of death in Fiji. For pneumonia, treating children with oxygen reduces death by 35%, yet many health facilities in Fiji don’t have a reliable supply.
In collaboration with the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services and leading paediatric and technical experts, Cure Kids are piloting ways of improving the availability, affordability and clinical access of oxygen to save lives.
The project is led by Associate Professor Stephen Howie, from the University of Auckland. He and his team replace oxygen cylinders in health centres – which are expensive, logistically difficult, and often result in unreliable oxygen supplies – with bedside oxygen concentrators, which produce oxygen from the ambient air. For health centres with unreliable power supplies, a custom-designed solar power system is installed to ensure that a 24/7 supply of oxygen is available for patients when needed.
Nausori Health Centre, the initial pilot site, is fully operational and received a further upgrade of their oxygen concentrator capacity in April to meet increasing demand.
Nausori Health Centre attends to 500 patients daily with a geographical coverage of 70,000 people. Health Centre staff have been trained in the use of the equipment for children with pneumonia as well as other serious conditions that require oxygen as a treatment (both adults and children).
The Fiji Ministry of Health Biomedical Engineering team have also been trained so that maintenance and repairs of the equipment can be carried out as needed. Patients now benefit from being able to access a reliable oxygen supply, and the Health Centre also benefits from a reduction in the ongoing costs of providing oxygen.
In November, Taveuni Hospital was the second facility to benefit from this project and a third site is planned for February 2018; providing tens of thousands of people with a reliable supply of oxygen which is essential for saving lives. If you would like further information about the project and how you could support this important work, please contact Tim Edmonds.