February 2019 Member Newsletter


Photo by Fredrik Lerneryd, Save the Children: Clinical officer Agnes, is reviewing Rebecca* and her baby, Lawrence*, who has severe pneumonia. Lawrence* is doing much better after three days in the health center.




With the new year well underway, we have exciting network news and events to share. We are eager to announce the first two webinars in our annual PIN webinar series: Influenza and child pneumonia and Respiratory syncytial virus and child pneumonia (see our announcements column for more information). In this month’s newsletter, we are featuring a blog post by Dr. Roger Rassool, the co-founder of FREO2, and an exciting annoucement regarding Dräger’s launch for a new respiratory support system for newborns. Be sure to also check out the Events section for conferences and deadlines for abstract/ proposal submissions, as well as the Publications section for recent papers on pneumonia-related topics. If you have any updates that you would like to share with the network, don’t forget to send them to PIN coordinator, Mari Couasnon (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), for a newsletter feature. We look forward to collaborating with each of you in the coming months in our continued effort to fight against the number one infectious killer of children worldwide.






MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Fast approaching are two new webinars as part of the 2019 Pneumonia Innovations Network webinar series:

  • Influenza and child pneumonia webinar: February 28, 2019 at 10AM EST. Listen to talks by Drs. Kawsar Talaat, Thushan de Silva, and Janet Englund.
  • Respiratory syncytial virus and child pneumonia webinar: March 14, 2019 at 10AM EDT. Listen to talks by Drs. Ting Shi, Marijke Proesmans, Louis Bont, and Keith Klugman.

Emails with webinar access details will be sent out soon. We hope you join us for these two exciting webinar events!







Imagination is more important than knowledge

by Roger Rassool, physicist at the University of Melbourne and co-founder of the FREO2 Foundation


Imagination is more important than knowledge. This was confirmed for me during a meeting of individuals from very divergent backgrounds where my physicist colleagues and I were introduced to the concept of equity and global health. Our friends from the Nossal Institute for Global Health invited our team of physicists to a “No Limits” symposium where they discussed the many challenges they faced, hoping that we might have some technology solutions. This was the first time we heard about the plight of childhood pneumonia. We listened carefully as they explained the key role that oxygen could play in treatment. Oxygen to them was a medicine. We were hooked.


Can you imagine a hospital ward without a light or without a power point? And what about without an oxygen outlet? Almost a third of the world’s population has no electricity, little money, and a shortage of oxygen in their health services.



Above, photo by Peter Casamento: FREO2 Uganda team in Mbarara.

From (L) to (R) Frank Kiwanuka, Sandrah, Ivan Muhumuza, Sheillah Mutetire Bagayana and Patrick Semata



This symposium we attended catalysed the creation of the inter-disciplinary research collaboration which subsequently spun out from the University of Melbourne and established the FREO2 Foundation. Our work is shaped by an ambitious long-term goal which is to ensure that “every health facility that cares for in-patients has a reliable supply of oxygen.”


Above, photo by Peter Casamento:

Roger and Frank installing the FREO2 system in the pediatric ward of Mbarara Referral Hospital


As a first step in this journey, we set ourselves a simple objective - to produce and store oxygen in the field without relying on electricity. This solution would need to be appropriate and affordable for low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Our aim was to challenge the notion that you always needed conventional electricity to produce oxygen. We now have achieved this objective with several innovations, which can be strategically combined to create an uninterruptable oxygen supply. A recent clinical trial in Uganda has confirmed that over a 3-month period, the FREO2 system provided 100% availability of oxygen to four beds in a ward. During this trial there were more than 85 blackouts and yet the oxygen flow was never interrupted.


An important part of our rollout strategy is to empower communities by creating local ownership and employment in the installation, maintenance, and repair of FREO2 oxygen systems. Our team in Uganda is led by a young vibrant engineer, Sheillah Mutetire Bagayana. Her team installed and maintains the systems. It is their skill and dedication that delivered the positive outcome for the trial.


Above, photo by Peter Casamento: Sheillah and Patrick check the system


And so in this small ward, they no longer have to imagine. There is an oxygen outlet, and the nursing staff can rely on it to deliver lifesaving oxygen.







The recent staggering decline in pneumonia R&D funding

Pneumonia Innovations Network Co-Chair, Leith Greenslade shares the latest G-Finder Report figures that paint a grim picture: "According to the G-Finder Report, Global R&D funding for pneumonia drops sharply in 2017. Global R&D for pneumonia is at its lowest level since 2008." Leith asks a simple but important question: Why do we find it so difficult to invest the most in fighting the leading causes of death?

Access the G-Finder report here.



Submit your JPIAMR proposals by February 15

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) is supporting the 2019 call for proposals from the Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR) with up to SEK 35 million (approx. 3.4 million Euro) for researchers from 30 African countries. Researchers in Africa* are invited to form or join transnational teams together with counterparts in Asia, Europe or North America to produce tools, technologies and methods for diagnostics and surveillance of antimicrobial resistance. The call specifically promotes projects with partners and impact in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) in Asia and Africa. Researchers from Asia are supported by funding from IDRC-Canada. Researchers from all fields of science, including social sciences, are welcome to apply. Approximately 20 million Euro will be available for funding transnational research projects through this 9th JPIAMR Call. More information is available at https://www.jpiamr.eu/9thcall/.


*Researchers based in the following African countries will be eligible for support from Sida through the JPIAMR Call: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Dem. Rep.), Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe. This list is based on the World Bank list of low-income countries in Africa and the list of African countries where Sida has bilateral development cooperation.



Submit your draft recommendations of the Ad hoc Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance

The Ad hoc Interagency Coordination Group (IACG) on Antimicrobial Resistance has a mandate to provide practical guidance for approaches needed to ensure sustained effective global action to address antimicrobial resistance. The terms of reference for the IACG include to promote, plan and facilitate collaborative action, to align activities so gaps are closed, to explore the feasibility of developing global goals and targets related to antimicrobial resistance, and to report back to the UN Secretary-General by the 73rd General Assembly in 2019. The IACG is composed of representatives from major United Nations and multi-sectoral agencies and a range of individuals with different areas of expertise. More information on the IACG is available here. IACG Members and the Secretariat are engaging with partners, including Member States, United Nations organizations, non-governmental and civil society organizations, private sector entities, philanthropic foundations, academic institutions and interested individuals, through web-based discussions and other events, to obtain stakeholder input on the draft recommendations and help ensure that they address key needs in the response to antimicrobial resistance.

All stakeholders are now invited to provide written feedback on the draft IACG recommendations, which may be accessed here.

All feedback should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than 19 February 2019.



Dräger launches new respiratory support system for newborns

Dräger has launched a new respiratory support system, Seattle PAP, for newborns. Seattle PAP is a patented innovation developed in the USA for the treatment of respiratory distress symptoms in babies and children. It helps respond to the global need for an affordable, easy-to-use and easy-to-maintain respiratory support system for Neonatal Care.

Access Dräger's full press release on the Seattle PAP device here.






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Sunday, 23 February 2020