Severe pneumonia and newborn illnesses leading causes of death among children in Fiji - Dr. Stephen Howie

Severe pneumonia and newborn illnesses leading causes of death among children in Fiji - Dr. Stephen Howie

By Karishma Kumari
Sunday 07/04/2024
Photo:Screen Grab from Cure Kids Fiji

Severe pneumonia and newborn illnesses are the leading causes of death among children in Fiji.

This has been revealed by Pediatrician Associate officer Dr. Stephen Howie from the University of Auckland during the Rotary 2023-2024 District Conference, who says in the last 5 years approximately 1000 children have died because of these illnesses.

Dr. Howie says if a person has pneumonia that means the oxygen in their body is low.

However, he says, if they get oxygen then their chances of surviving are at least 35 percent higher.

He says the usual way of treating oxygen is to use cylinders rather than relying on concentrators, which are small machines that take the air around and push it through a filter to introduce high-quality oxygen.

Howie says if the power is reliable then this can just be plugged into the wall but if there is no reliable power supply then they bring in custom-designed solar power units to power this concentrators for oxygen.

The Associate Officer says they are already doing this in Fiji where 1000 families have been served with a good oxygen system.

He says their vision is to be true in the whole of Fiji and make sure that health facilities are included in this project.


Meanwhile, Cure Kids Fiji General Manager Tim Edmond says they are doing this to ensure that this equipment is well maintained and is sustainably used and improves healthcare.

He says they are working with the Ministry of Health to listen to their priorities and bring experts from internationally as well as locally to work together on implementing solutions.

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