The first-of-its-kind public-private partnership, announced this week at the final CGI Annual Meeting, will seek to expand access to medical oxygen and pulse oximetry for women and children in Ethiopia.

Other partners in the Alliance, which has fifteen members in total, include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the United Nations, PATH, Philips, the Pneumonia Innovations Team, Save the Children, UNICEF, and USAID.

Lack of medical oxygen access contributes to the deaths of more than 120,000 young children and thousands of pregnant women, globally, each year. It is estimated that in Ethiopia alone, each year 11,000 women die in pregnancy or during childbirth, 60,000 babies die in their first month, and 30,000 children die from pneumonia.

Many of these deaths could be prevented by better access to medical oxygen and reliable pulse oximetry technology.3 An oxygen access agenda is central to that of the Ethiopian government, which has made it a part of their 2015-2020 Health Sector Transformation Plan and National Newborn and Child Survival Strategy.

United for Oxygen will partner with the Ethiopian government to increase availability of pulse oximetry screenings and oxygen therapy technologies across the country. In addition, it will provide training for local staff; establish sustainable financial solutions for procuring, installing, and maintaining equipment; and promote oxygen access and technologies in the policies and guidelines of Ethiopian health authorities.

After the pilot program, the Alliance hopes to roll out similar medical oxygen and pulse oximetry programs in other countries where women and children are particularly at risk.

Leith Greenslade, Co-Chair of the Pneumonia Innovations Team, commented, “United for Oxygen is the first time companies and development agencies have joined forces to support a government to increase access to pulse oximetry and oxygen therapy across an entire African nation – in this case Ethiopia.

:My hope is that we will demonstrate that not only can pulse oximetry and oxygen prevent many more Ethiopian children from dying of pneumonia, but that health systems that routinely provide pulse oximetry screening and oxygen will be much more effective at driving down death rates from childbirth, unsafe surgery, cardiac arrest and injury.”

Masimo, as a global leader in noninvasive monitoring technologies and whose SET® Measure-through Motion and Low Perfusion™ pulse oximetry technology is estimated to be used on more than 100 million patients around the world, will be responsible for improving the availability of pulse oximetry in hospitals and health centers, particularly in maternity and pediatric units.

Masimo’s role in United for Oxygen will also include developing an efficient, effective health screening model to prevent, detect, and treat pneumonia, as well as collaborating on recommendations for sustaining the program post-deployment through training, education, and maintenance.

Rasa Izadnegahdar, Senior Program Officer on the Pneumonia Team, BMGF, noted, “Masimo is uniquely positioned to provide leadership in the introduction of innovative life-saving devices in partnership with countries as recently exemplified by the Oxygen Roadmap of the Ethiopia Federal Ministry of Health.”

“This cannot be overstated: regardless of where you live or were born, you deserve access to quality healthcare—including the life-saving benefits of reliable pulse oximetry and oxygen therapy,” said Joe Kiani, Founder and CEO of Masimo.

“Masimo continues to champion systematically safe, dignified health care for all, and we are proud for the Masimo Foundation to be one of the founding members of United for Oxygen. We look forward to collaborating further on this important project.”