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BackgroundThis study aimed to assess on-the-ground barriers to the provision of oxygen therapy for paediatric patients in three government-funded Eastern Ugandan district general hospitals (DGHs).MethodsSite visits to DGHs during March 2017 involved semi-structured interviews with medical officers, clinical officers, paediatric nurses and non-clinical staff (n = 29). MAXQDA qualitative data software was used to assist with response analysis.ResultsThe healthcare professionals reported that erratic electricity supplies, few and/or malfunctioning oxygen cylinders and concentrators, limited or no access to pulse oximetry, inadequate staffing and lack of continued professional training were key barriers to the delivery of oxygen therapy. Local populations were reportedly fearful of oxygen therapy and reluctant to consent for oxygen therapy to be administered to their children.ConclusionAccording to healthcare providers in three Eastern Ugandan DGHs, numerous barriers exist to oxygen therapy for paediatric patients. Healthcare professionals reported lack of facilities and training to effectively deliver oxygen therapy. Quality improvement work prioritising oxygen therapy in government-funded district general hospitals should focus on oxygen supply and delivery issues on a site-specific level and sensitizing communities to the potential benefits of oxygen.

Original publication





BMC health services research

Publication Date





Wellcome Trust Centre for Clinical Tropical Medicine and Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, London, W2 1PG, UK.


Humans, Oxygen Inhalation Therapy, Attitude of Health Personnel, Pediatrics, Qualitative Research, Child, Health Personnel, Hospitals, District, Health Services Research, Uganda, Interviews as Topic, Quality Improvement, Surveys and Questionnaires