Medical oxygen is an essential, lifesaving treatment that everyone should have access to when they need it. However, the stark reality is that many health facilities in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) still do not have affordable and reliable access to medical oxygen, which means many people living in these countries cannot receive oxygen therapy to treat common, life-threatening conditions.
This report from the Foundation analyses what six of the largest producers of medical liquid oxygen (medical LOX) have done to tackle this inequity, outlining six priority areas for action these companies can engage in to expand access to medical LOX – both during public health emergencies and to meet the day-to-day health needs of people living in LMICs.
What's in the report:
Why we need access: Aside from the treatment of COVID-19, medical oxygen is required for an array of conditions, including pneumonia and tuberculosis, and is required for routine medical interventions such as surgery and during childbirth. Ensuring that health systems in LMICs are better equipped with medical oxygen as part of their arsenal of health products is critical to quality of life and survival for people living in these countries.
The critical role of gas companies: Given the fact that just a handful of gas companies produce medical LOX, any changes in their business practices and policies that prioritise access to medical LOX can significantly impact the accessibility and affordability of this essential healthcare product in LMICs.
What have companies done so far? Starting with a high-level overview of companies’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, the report looks at standout examples of company action to date. While companies have taken some promising steps, clearer long-term commitments are urgently needed.
What can companies do next? Tailored recommendations for gas companies in each of the six priority areas guide companies on action they can take to further pursue progress and step up access efforts.
What can other stakeholders do? A list of catalysers provides insights for other stakeholders who play a role with the broader medical oxygen ecosystem. Institutional investors can also utilise this report as a tool to engage gas companies.
About the Medical Oxygen Programme
The Access to Medicine Foundation has been working on access to medical oxygen since 2020 and also participates in key oxygen groups. Through the Medical Oxygen Programme, the Foundation has co-hosted three roundtable events with the Every Breath Counts (EBC) Coalition and a fourth with Chatham House, all focused on the subject of access to medical oxygen in LMICs.
This is the first research report to be published as part of the Foundation's Medical Oxygen Programme.