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Improving Identification of Respiratory Distress in Children

ALIMA (The Alliance for International Medical Action), together with Terres des hommes, Solthis and Inserm, is committed to promoting the integration of pulse oximeters into the primary health consultations of children under five to help reduce infant mortality in four countries of intervention: Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

Pneumonia and its complications are one of the leading causes of death in children under the age of five in West Africa. 

Making pulse oximeters available at primary health centers and training health workers to accurately identify signs of respiratory distress during consultations for children under five can help save the lives of many children.

The AIRE project, funded by Unitaid, aims to demonstrate the effectiveness and acceptability of the pulse oximeter.

407 000

children under five to attend consultations


health centers equipped with pulse oximeters

PartenairesAsset 196


health workers trained in Integrated Management of Childhood Illness and the use of the pulse oximeter


Hospitals equipped with oxygen extractors

Intervention strategy

At community level
  • Training community health workers on identifying danger signs in children under the age of five
  • Raising community awareness of danger signs in children under five and encouraging early use of health services
At health center level
  • Training healthcare workers in using pulse oximeters
  • Providing medicines and consumables for the care of children under five
  • Joint supervision of activities by health districts and project teams
At hospital level
  • Continuous support of pediatric wards with medicines, consumables and oxygen for adequate care of referred children
  • Monitoring hospital activity (number of children referred from health centers)

Investing in pulse oximeters and oxygen access in Africa

National and regional advocacy

In the last phase of  the project, between March and May 2023, ALIMA and its partners presented the project research results  to political decision-makers, technicians and health workers in each of the four project countries.

On 24 and 25 May 2023, the consortium organized a regional conference in Dakar. The theme of the conference was : 

 Fighting Child Mortality: Investing in Pulse Oximeters and Oxygen Access in Sub-Saharan Africa”

The conference brought together  representatives from the Ministries of Health of eight West African countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal), as well as technical and financial partners (WHO, UNICEF and other United Nations agencies, NGOs, etc.). The objective was to share the results of the research with all those involved in reducing infant mortality linked to respiratory distress, and to advocate for improved access to oxygen in the region.  It’s time to make investment in pulse oximeters and access to oxygen a public health priority in sub-Saharan Africa, said Marine Vignon, Head of the AIRE project, as she opened the conference.

For full details, see the press release available here.

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Areas of intervention


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