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60 hospitals selected for test runs on pneumonia detection devices

NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 9 – Kakamega, Kitui and Uasin Gishu have been selected to have test runs on the use of Pulse Oximeters (POX) in detection of Pneumonia in children under 5.

Andrew Mulwa, Acting Director of Medical Services, Preventive and Promotive Health, said 20 health facilities had been selected in each of the three counties to participate in the exercise.

Health workers in selected facilities will be offered training on how to use the devices.

The test runs are part of the Tools for Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (TIMCI) project undertaken in conjunction with the Ministry of Health to lower the rate of infant mortality due to pneumonia.

Mulwa further stated that upon its success, the project would lead to the introduction of pulse oximetry and electronic Clinical Decision Support Algorithms into primary health care to be used in detection of severe disease in children under five years of age, including young infants (aged 0 to 60 days).

“The goal of the research component is to generate evidence on the operational fit and cost effectiveness of introducing pulse oximetry and electronic Clinical Decision Support Algorithms (eCDSA) into primary health care in low- and middle-income countries to facilitate national and international decision-making on scale-up,” a statement released on Tuesday read.

Pulse Oximetry is a solution recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in assessment of sick children and in 2018 it had been adopted into Kenya’s Integrated Management of Newborn and Childhood Illnesses guidelines (IMNCI).

Pulse Oximeters are predicted to improve primary health care workers’ ability to detect and diagnose severe illnesses in children before they succumb to it.

“Equipping them with Pulse Oximeters would accelerate the development and market entry of non- invasive devices that augment the features of standard POX…and improved detection of severe disease in children is the major goal of this project,” Mulwa added.

The project is set to take four years and is being implemented in four focus countries: Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh (UP), with support from Unitaid and the Swiss TPH (Tropical and Public Health Institute).

In Kenya, pneumonia is one of the top two killers of children under 5 accounting for 1 out of every 3 deaths. According to the Ministry of Health, 15 per cent of child deaths, almost 9,000 children under-five, were due to pneumonia in 2018, and it was the second biggest killer of children under-five in 2017.

Kenya’s under 5 mortality remains a key issue of public health concern and currently stands at 52 per 1000 live births, with the leading causes of under 5 mortalities being pneumonia, malaria, diarrhea and neonatal causes.

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