Meeting oxygen needs in Africa: an options analysis from the Gambia.

Howie, SR; Hill, S; Ebonyi, A; Krishnan, G; Njie, O; Sanneh, M; Jallow, M; Stevens, W; Taylor, K; Weber, MW; Njai, PC; Tapgun, M; Corrah, T; Mulholland, K; Peel, D; Njie, M; Hill, PC; Adegbola, RA; (2009) Meeting oxygen needs in Africa: an options analysis from the Gambia. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 87 (10). pp. 763-71. ISSN 0042-9686 DOI:

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OBJECTIVE To compare oxygen supply options for health facilities in the Gambia and develop a decision-making algorithm for choosing oxygen delivery systems in Africa and the rest of the developing world. METHODS Oxygen cylinders and concentrators were compared in terms of functionality and cost. Interviews with key informants using locally developed and adapted WHO instruments, operational assessments, cost-modelling and cost measurements were undertaken to determine whether oxygen cylinders or concentrators were the better choice. An algorithm and a software tool to guide the choice of oxygen delivery system were constructed. FINDINGS In the Gambia, oxygen concentrators have significant advantages compared to cylinders where power is reliable; in other settings, cylinders are preferable as long as transporting them is feasible. Cylinder costs are greatly influenced by leakage, which is common, whereas concentrator costs are affected by the cost of power far more than by capital costs. Only two of 12 facilities in the Gambia were found suitable for concentrators; at the remaining 10 facilities, cylinders were the better option. CONCLUSION Neither concentrators nor cylinders are well suited to every situation, but a simple options assessment can determine which is better in each setting. Nationally this would result in improved supply and lower costs by comparison with conventional cylinders alone, although ensuring a reliable supply would remain a challenge. The decision algorithm and software tool designed for the Gambia could be applied in other developing countries.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
PubMed ID: 19876543
Web of Science ID: 270695100010


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