Oxygen, currently the most frequently used treatment for COVID-19, is included in the ACT-A therapeutics pillar. ACT-A 2022 targets for oxygen include the supply of essential medical oxygen to 6 to 8 million severe and critical patients by September 2022. However, reports of oxygen shortages continue.

PATH provides estimates of COVID-19 oxygen needs for LMICs (which can be viewed by country and income group) based on the number of confirmed COVID cases and assumptions about how many of those cases will require oxygen. The tracker does not include data on available supply or shortages within LMICs.

As the February 2022 African Union Statement on Access to Medical Oxygen notes, supply of oxygen cylinders and ventilators is not the only issue. Barriers to oxygen access in many LMICs include lack of spare parts to repair equipment, insufficient piping and storage infrastructure, and a lack of financing to implement national oxygen plans.

Recent funding updates:

  • Of the $3.5 billion requested by ACT-A for the therapeutics pillar (which includes $2.5 billion expected to come from donor countries, as tracked in this report), $1.4 billion is requested to support oxygen supplies in 2022.

  • Unitaid, which chairs the ACT-A Oxygen Emergency Taskforce, recently announced a $56 million contribution to increase access to medical oxygen but the pillar has been largely unfunded by donor countries.

  • The US Government committed $75 million in December 2021 to USAID’s Rapid Response Surge Support effort, which included oxygen production and delivery.

Overall, there is very little public data available on real-time oxygen needs (including actual supply, demand, and shortages). This remains an important gap in the data.