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Int J Tuberc Lung Dis. 2011 May;15(5):693-9. doi: 10.5588/ijtld.10.0544.

The functioning of oxygen concentrators in resource-limited settings: a situation assessment in two countries.

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Centre for International Child Health, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



The paediatric wards of hospitals in Malawi and Mongolia.


To describe oxygen concentrator functioning in two countries with widespread, long-term use of concentrators as a primary source of oxygen for treating children.


A systematic assessment of concentrators in the paediatric wards of 15 hospitals in Malawi and nine hospitals in Mongolia.


Oxygen concentrators had been installed for a median of 48 months (interquartile range [IQR] 6-60) and 36 months (IQR 12-96), respectively, prior to the evaluation in Malawi and Mongolia. Concentrators were the primary source of oxygen. Three quarters of the concentrators assessed in Malawi (28/36) and half those assessed in Mongolia (13/25) were functional. Concentrators were found to remain functional with up to 30‚ÄČ000 h of use. However, several concentrators were functioning very poorly despite limited use. Concentrators from a number of different manufacturers were evaluated, and there was marked variation in performance between brands. Inadequate resources for maintenance were reported in both countries.


Years after installation of oxygen concentrators, many machines were still functioning, indicating that widespread use can be sustained in resource-limited settings. However, concentrator performance varied substantially. Procurement of high-quality and appropriate equipment is critical, and resources should be made available for ongoing maintenance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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