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Inspiraid: Improving the Availability of Oxygen in the Developing World

Team Members:
  • Ting-Yu Lai
  • Adam Lightman
  • David Shin
  • QX Ye
  • John Sampson, MD
  • Lynn Kanyuuru
  • Kusum Thapa
  • Jhpiego


Oxygen is a critical, life saving medicine. It is used to manage childhood pneumonia, COPD, obstetric emergencies and is necessary for performing surgeries. Despite these facts, oxygen is generally not available below the district hospital level in the developing world. There are multiple technologies available for supplying patients with oxygen in the developing world, yet no technology has proven to be a sustainable solution for resource starved clinics.

Our team has analyzed oxygen delivery from the perspectives of technological solutions, business model innovations, and policy level efforts. Using this knowledge, we have devised a sustainable business model to improve the availability of concentrated oxygen in lower-level facilities in developing countries. In this model, local entrepreneurs purchase kits of affordable oxygen concentrators and bottling equipment and sell filled oxygen cylinders to health facilities within a catchment area. The model incentivizes equipment maintenance and simplifies distribution, common pitfalls of previous attempts to provide concentrated oxygen to lower-level facilities. When combined with a parallel effort by NGOs to promote oxygen demand, we project our model to create a sustainable enterprise while dramatically increasing the availability of oxygen.

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