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PAHO/WHO and the Government of Canada donate portable hand-held pulse oximeters to support the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital

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Belize City, Belize, July 6, 2021 (PAHO/WHO) – The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the Government of Canada donated 25 portable hand-held pulse oximeters to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital’s COVID-19 Unit.

The donation of pulse oximeters is part of PAHO’s ongoing technical support to facilitate the monitoring of oxygen saturation among patients admitted to the KHMH for observation and treatment of COVID-19. The device, used in case management and patient follow-up, provides quick and accurate, non-invasive measurements of oxygen concentration in the bloodstream.

Dr. Edwin Bolastig, PAHO/WHO Health Systems and Services Advisor, said “PAHO/WHO continues to provide support to KHMH through procurement of much-needed medical equipment as part of the overall strategy to improve health outcomes and save lives of those who have been afflicted with COVID-19.”

He further explained that these equipment represent continuing efforts to help strengthen the health system’s capacity to respond to the pandemic and beyond.

Five (5) oximeters were purchased from a grant from the Government of Canada to PAHO/WHO aimed at supporting countries in the Americas to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The remaining 20 oximeters were purchased from WHO Funds for COVID-19 response.

“These portable pulse oximeters will be used in the monitoring of patients who have been discharged from the COVID-19 unit and are recovering,” said Dr. Adrian Coye, Acting Director of Medical Services of the KHMH. “Some of these patients may still have respiratory symptoms for a while therefore we need to be able to monitor their oxygen levels. With this tool, we can monitor their oxygen status and the heart rate, which is an important indicator to determine how well they are.”

The KHMH is the only public facility in the country providing critical care services for COVID-19 patients. By monitoring the oxygen status for the clinical management of moderate to severe cases of COVID-19, more lives are saved. Improving KHMH’s capacity will allow the national referral facility for COVID-19 to be able to play a more effective role in the overall national health system response to the pandemic.