Access to medical oxygen in Africa is a chronic problem with serious consequences. Decades of underinvestment in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of respiratory diseases have left many health systems lacking equipment, oxygen, and trained human resources. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, barely half of the oxygen needs were covered in most middle- and low-income countries. Since then, access to oxygen has become a top priority as it has proven to be an essential response in treating severe and critical cases of COVID-19.


Oxygen therapy is an essential response for the clinical management of patients in respiratory distress. Yet, many people in Africa lack access to it due to limited supply and weak health systems. Demand for oxygen is high and market bottlenecks prevent rapid supply. Securing the supply of medical oxygen and putting in place the appropriate infrastructure so that countries can rapidly expand the use of oxygen during the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond, can save lives. This is the goal of the “Breath for All” project, made possible through financial support from Unitaid.

Developed by ALIMA to improve access to oxygen in Mali, Guinea, Sudan and Burkina Faso, it aims to increase oxygen production and decentralize its sources so that every patient suffering from respiratory distress can be properly managed.

6,3 million

children under the age of five are expected to die from pneumonia between 2020 and 2030 if current trends continue

(UNICEF 2020)

3 respirators

only are available for the entire Central African Republic

177,000 children

under the age of five suffering from acute respiratory infections will be treated by our teams in 2021

The ALIMA response

ALIMA aims to strengthen access to oxygen at all three levels of the health pyramid in four sub-Saharan African countries: Sudan, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea with contextually appropriate and sustainable solutions to reduce COVID-19 deaths . Our project aims to increase oxygen production and decentralize its sources so that every patient suffering from respiratory distress can be properly managed.

Specifically, ALIMA supports patient care by providing equipment, oxygen, human resources, and technical expertise to train health care personnel in oxygen therapy, including equipment maintenance and supply chain management.

The Breath for All project proposes 5 strategic areas:

  1. Site assessment (oxygen supply capacity, installation of oxygen generators PSA)
  2. Supply of material and repair or rehabilitation of equipment
  3. Training in curative and preventive maintenance
  4. Training in the proper use of oxygen
  5. Supply of medical devices, equipment, drugs, COVID-19 rapid tests, medical equipment
Oxymètre de pouls

Photo  © Cora Portais / ALIMA

Our activities

Concentrateurs d'oxygène

In large hospitals where we intervene, oxygen production plants that have broken down are rehabilitated thanks to the expertise of our partner Build Health International, so that patients can be quickly cared for on the spot.

Technical support and training

In hospitals in rural areas, access to oxygen is made sustainable and autonomous through the installation of solar energy with the technical support of Electricians Without Borders and the training of technicians for maintenance. This system makes oxygen available even in remote areas.

Urgences médicales

Finally, the oxygen sources are decentralized in the form of mobile stations at the health center level in remote areas, so that each patient in  respiratory distress can be transported to the hospital with a supply of oxygen during the journey.

Related news

Cover picture © Benita Nnachortam / ALIMA

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