Global O2

An oxygen concentrator to fight child mortality


Hospitals and clinics in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) suffer from chronic shortages of medical oxygen, with dire clinical consequences for critical care, surgery, and treatment of infectious disease such as COVID-19 and pneumonia. Given the broken supply chain and expense of providing compressed oxygen in cylinders to LMIC hospitals, most facilities rely on oxygen concentrators. These have a high failure rate for a number of reasons: they are designed for residential use in high-income countries; require continuous and stable power to provide oxygen; are susceptible to high humidity and heat; and lack any service networks for both preventative and urgent maintenance..

120'000 children die each year due to lack of access to medical oxygen


The Project

We are focused on two transformative innovations with the goal of improving and expanding access to oxygen therapy:

  • The EssentialTech Centre is developing a more robust oxygen concentrator with improved resistance to heat, humidity, dust, and low-quality power. An innovative zeolite sieve-bed will improve humidity resistance; Self-cleaning filters will improve airflow and reduce dust penetration and decrease the burden of preventive maintenance; and a redesigned power management system is intended to improve resistance to power fluctuations. In addition, a combination of both power and oxygen storage will ensure that oxygen can be provided during periods of no power.
  • We are developing an innovative business model (integrated delivery solution) that focuses on the delivery of oxygen as a service, rather than the provision of equipment. This service will include equipment, training and maintenance, with the goal of reducing the burden of maintenance on the health care facility, and increasing up time.

Combined, these innovations have the potential to make oxygen available in more remote settings by reducing costs when compared with cylinders alone, reducing maintenance needs and ensuring that oxygen is available during periods of no power.
We are focused on supporting healthcare providers at the primary level of healthcare who are treating pre- and full-term neonates, as well as infants and children who require respiratory support.

Users: Nurses will be the primary operators of this device and medical equipment technicians will be the primary servicers.

Environment of use: The concentrators are intended to be deployed in primary healthcare facilities, characterized by: intermittent, poor quality power; a hot, humid and dusty environment; a lack of on-site maintenance expertise, tools and supplies; and, remote and difficult access by road. Deployment in less remote facilities is also anticipated.

Beneficiaries: The primary beneficiaries of the device are pre- and full-term neonates, infants and children under five presenting with symptoms of respiratory distress leading to hypoxemia. The device is also relevant to patients at the tertiary level including applications such as surgery, post-op recovery, and the treatment of diseases where oxygen therapy is critical—COVID-19 and pneumonia for example.sustainably in hot, humid and dusty climates. This project aims to develop a robust and low-cost oxygen concentrator, able to provide access to oxygen in primary health structures.

Gene Saxon

Gene Saxon

Project Manager

Academic Partners

Philanthropic Partners