Hypoxemia is a life-threatening condition and is commonly seen in children with severe pneumonia. A government-led, NGO-supported, multifaceted oxygen improvement program was implemented to increase access to oxygen therapy in 29 hospitals in Kaduna, Kano, and Niger states. The program installed pulse oximeters and oxygen concentrators, trained health care workers, and biomedical engineers (BMEs), and provided regular feedback to health care staff through quality improvement teams.
The aim of this study is to evaluate whether the program increased screening for hypoxemia with pulse oximetry and prescription of oxygen for patients with hypoxemia.
The study is an uncontrolled before-after interventional study implemented at the hospital level. Medical charts of patients under 5 admitted for pneumonia between January 2017 and August 2018 were reviewed and information on patient care was extracted using a standardized form. The preintervention period of this study was defined as 1 January to 31 October 2017 and the postintervention period as 1 February to 31 August 2018. The primary outcomes of the study were whether blood-oxygen saturation measurements (SpO ) were documented and whether children with hypoxemia were prescribed oxygen.
A total of 3418 patient charts were reviewed (1601 during the preintervention period and 1817 during the postintervention period). There was a significant increase in the proportion of patients with SpO measurements after the interventions were conducted (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 5.0; 4.3-5.7, P < .001). Before the interventions, only 13.7% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 12.2-15.3) of patients had SpO measurements and after the interventions, 82.4% (95% CI: 80.7-84.1) had SpO measurements. Oxygen administration for patients with clinical signs of hypoxemia also increased significantly (aOR 5.0; 4.2-5.9, P < .001)-from 22.8% (95% CI: 18.8-27.2) to 77.9% (95% CI: 73.9-81.5).
Increasing pulse oximetry and oxygen therapy access and utilization in a low-resourced environment is achievable through a multifaceted program focused on strengthening government-owned systems.

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