Medical Oxygen as a Life-Saving Medicine: A rapid review of the oxygen landscape and innovative efforts in the World Health Organization Eastern Mediterranean Region in Response to COVID-19 and Beyond

Main Article Content

Chiori Kodama Mohamed Salem Gary Kuniyoshi Shaffi Koya Mohamed Salem Mostafa Monier Othman Kazuyo Iwamoto Abdinasir Abubakar Richard John Brennan


Background: Medical oxygen is an essential treatment for life-threatening hypoxemic conditions and is commonly indicated for the clinical management of many leading causes of mortality.  Many countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR) lacked robust medical oxygen systems prior to the COVID-19 (corona virus disease) pandemic and this situation was exacerbated by increased needs, particularly in remote and rural health facilities, resulting in many unfortunate deaths. The aim of this article is to describe the oxygen landscape in the region and the regional initiatives undertaken by countries and WHO.

Methodology: We conducted a rapid review to synthesize the available literature on the needs and availability of oxygen and its related resources and the regional initiatives undertaken. We conducted search in PubMed, relevant WHO and World Bank websites, and in general using google to understand the health of conditions that could benefit from the availability of medical oxygen, oxygen related resources including health workforce available for support and usage of medical oxygen, and the initiatives by WHO, countries and partners to improve the situation. We used a snowballing technique and reviewed all available databases for reports, surveys, assessments, and studies related to medical oxygen, besides WHO internal records, assessments, and consultation reports.

Results: The data on oxygen availability, supply demand gap, infrastructure facilities, and human resources were sparse. The regional initiatives have led to increase in resources, including human resources and oxygen production infrastructure. The Live Oxygen Platform (LOP), contributed to improved availability of quality data needed for supply-demand assessments.

Conclusion: A regional enterprise strategy to promote sustainable, decentralized, and contextualized production, supply, and monitoring of oxygen together with human resource support including training and placement by WHO, partners, and governments contributed to improved availability of oxygen in the region. Additionally, with the LOP, governments, WHO, and partners have access to better data availability for policy decision making and timely resource allocation.

Keywords: Medical Oxygen, COVID-19, mortality, WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region, Workforce, Live oxygen platform, Oxygen scale-up, Oxygen roadmap

Article Details

How to Cite
KODAMA, Chiori et al. Medical Oxygen as a Life-Saving Medicine: A rapid review of the oxygen landscape and innovative efforts in the World Health Organization Eastern Mediterranean Region in Response to COVID-19 and Beyond. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 7.2, july 2023. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 24 feb. 2024. doi:
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