Life-saving program

A NEW life-changing program that could help improve survival rates of children suffering from rheumatic heart diseases is being spearheaded by Cure Kids Fiji.

The charitable organisation has piloted a project to install solar-powered oxygen delivery system designed to offer pure oxygen to children with illnesses such as severe pneumonia.

Cure Kids Fiji operations manager Sally Cooper said the project would lead to the installation of more systems across the country.

“Rheumatic heart disease affects about one child in each classroom here in Fiji,” she said.

“The work we are doing in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services is providing early detection, ongoing care, awareness and education.

“Oxygen is a lifesaving treatment for many severe illnesses in children, including severe pneumonia in children and severe newborn illness, which are leading causes of death in Fiji.

“For severe pneumonia, oxygen treatment has been shown to improve survival by 35 per cent.”

Ms Cooper said the first system was installed in 2016.

“Mid last year we installed a pilot solar powered oxygen delivery system in Nausori to monitor its effectiveness in Fiji with the climate and conditions.

“The units are designed to take the ambient air, filter out the nitrogen and deliver 98 per cent pure oxygen via five live feed tubes at one time.

“As they are run with solar power and cell battery storage, once installed, the oxygen delivery systems cost next to nothing. The pilot site proved successful over a six-month period and so a secondary system has just been installed in Taveuni with a third system to be installed in Vanua Levu in February next year. We have a plan to install 22 units over 24 months.”

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