Brasília, February 1, 2021 (PAHO) – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) donated 4,600 oximeters last week to the Amazonas State Health Department and to the Manaus Municipal Health Department. These devices help monitor the health conditions of patients with COVID-19.
PAHO has also sent 45 oxygen cylinders to supply health facilities in the state and 1,500 thermometers to take patients’ temperatures.
In addition, the international organization has guaranteed the delivery of 60,000 rapid antigen tests to support COVID-19 diagnosis. PAHO has donated these supplies to several countries in the Americas in order to facilitate the identification of people infected with the disease, even in hard-to-reach communities.
Rapid antigen tests are more accurate in determining if someone is currently infected. In contrast, rapid antibody tests can show when someone has had COVID-19 but usually provide a negative result during the early stages of infection.
Oximeters are medical devices that monitor the level of oxygen in a patient's blood and alert the health-care worker if oxygen levels drop below safe levels, allowing rapid intervention. These devices are essential in situations such as emergency and intensive care, surgery and treatment, and recovery in hospital wards.
According to data published on 31 January by the Health Surveillance Foundation of Amazonas (FVS-AM), 1,400 new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in the state, totaling 267,394 individuals infected by the disease. In addition, 8,117 people lost their lives in Amazonas due to COVID-19.
PAHO technical support to Amazonas
Laboratory: hiring of 46 workers to guarantee that the state central laboratory could work for 24 hours a day, seven days a week; preparation of technical guidance and training on adequate execution of the rapid antigen tests.
Health system and clinical management: continuous field support in health care and management to local health authorities, including technical guidance for the use of equipment, such as oxygen concentrators, rational use of medical supplies, mainly oxygen, as well as distribution in field hospitals.
Vaccination: technical support to the Central Committee for Crisis Management in Amazonas in implementing the immunization plan, including technical information for logistics, sending supplies, analysis of distributed doses, and investigating possible adverse events following immunization, such as pain around the site of injection or low fever.
Surveillance: technical support in the analysis of home deaths; in implementing an information system to record vaccination data; in collecting and analyzing data; and in the creation of automated routines, enabling a quick analysis of the situation and decision-making in a timely manner.
In January, PAHO suggested, as part of its collaboration with the Amazonas state government, using oxygen concentrators to treat patients with COVID-19 in hospitals and wards in the capital, Manaus, and in units in the interior of the state.
These devices draw in room air to provide continuous, clean and concentrated oxygen to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and, in higher concentrations, for severe chronic hypoxemia and pulmonary edema. The use of oxygen concentrators is a cost-effective strategy, especially when oxygen cylinders and piped oxygen systems are unavailable.
The equipment is also recommended for home care, after the hospitalization of people affected by COVID-19 who still need some oxygen support.