9 Sep 2013

New innovation to treat pneumonia will be tested in PNG

5:45 am on 9 September 2013

Papua New Guinea will be the testing ground for a new invention designed to overcome the challenges of treating pneumonia patients in remote areas.

The University of Melbourne's Dr Bryn Sobott came up with the idea after attending a symposium in 2010 where he learnt pneumonia is one of the major health problems in the developing world, killing more children than any other illness.

Dr Sobott says in developed countries doctors normally use oxygen generators until antibiotics kick in but that's a problem in remote areas without electricity.

He's built a device that can generate oxygen simply using creek water as its source within kilometres of a health facility.

"We've worked on it for two and half years without funding, you know after hours, on weekends, building prototypes and the really valuable thing about this prototype is that it's independent of water quality and the other big thing is there's virtually no running costs."

Bryn Sobott has won a grant from the Gates Foundation to trial it and says PNG, which has one of the highest rates of pneumonia in the world, is the ideal environment.