Fiji Oxygen Project
St Johns Rotary decided in September 2018 to become a supporter of this project Remuera Rotary has with Cure Kids in Fiji.  This is a fitting project for St Johns Rotary to support because of our long association with Cure Kids and high level of involvement with Pacific projects, particularly in Fiji.  Most of the Rotary contribution is helping with project funding and providing general awareness of the project.
The following provides an overview of the project - additional information and current project news is at
Oxygen is a vital commodity across the health service but is expensive and logistically difficult to provide. Severe pneumonia in children, anesthetics for surgery and care of newborns are instances in which oxygen is needed. Approximately 200 children die each year because of severe pneumonia and newborn illnesses.
For severe pneumonia, oxygen reduces death by 35% and is a ‘must-have’ according to WHO treatment guidelines. Improving the availability, affordability and clinical use of oxygen is a high priority for the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services, with whom Cure Kids and the University of Auckland are partnering in this work.
In Fiji, oxygen is typically supplied in cylinders, which are very expensive, difficult to move and require a reliable supply chain. While hospitals in larger centers may have reliable oxygen supplies, smaller facilities often do not, and this leaves the people they serve vulnerable. Fiji needs a solution that saves lives by getting oxygen to those who need it without adding a burden to stretched health budgets.
The Oxygen Solution
Oxygen concentrators, machines which filter nitrogen from air to supply high quality oxygen, are much more cost effective than cylinder oxygen, and do not require transport back and forth. If the right equipment is used, they can work well in tropical countries. However, oxygen concentrators require reliable power, which is a barrier to their use in Fiji. We are using carefully specified 24/7 oxygen systems incorporating oxygen concentrators, with solar power where needed, and batteries for power storage.
The long-term goal is that no child in Fiji dies from lack of oxygen.
The Ultimate Goal
This programme draws on successful work carried out in Africa by Dr Stephen Howie (University of Auckland) and colleagues, and current pilot work in Fiji at Nausori Health Centre (pictured above), Nabouwalu Hospital, and Taveuni Hospital, providing proof of principle. The solutions being used in this project are highly scalable, and the ultimate goal in view is national coverage to ensure that no communities are left unprotected. Ultimately, we want every child in Fiji to have access to a reliable oxygen supply.
The medium-term aim is to realise the next stage of this vision over the next 3 years; going from 3 health facilities with reliable supplies, to a national network of 12. This is a critical period that will form the bridge between the pilot phase and the successful implementation of a full-scale national programme.