Oxygen and pulse oximetry in childhood pneumonia: surveys of clinicians and student clinicians in Cambodia

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Abstract

Objective

To better understand the availability of oxygen and pulse oximetry, barriers to use, clinician perceptions and practices regarding their role in the management of childhood pneumonia, and the formal education and training regarding these technologies received by student clinicians in Cambodia.

Methods

In the clinician survey, we surveyed 81 clinicians practising at all national paediatric, provincial and district referral hospitals throughout Cambodia. Respondents were primarily physicians whose scope of practice included paediatrics, and most reported the presence of oxygen (93% (95% confidence interval (CI) [87, 98])) but less availability of pulse oximetry (51% (95% CI [39, 61])).

Results

Common barriers to use included a lack of policies and guidelines, as well as a lack of training. In the student clinician survey, 332 graduating medical and nursing students were surveyed, and most reported learning about oxygen (96% (95% CI [94, 98])) and pulse oximetry (72% (95% CI [67, 77])) during their training.

Conclusions

Data from both surveys indicate that despite their utility, oxygen and pulse oximetry may be underused in Cambodia. The reported barriers and perceptions of the tools indicate a clear role for improved training for clinicians and students on the use of oxygen and pulse oximetry, the value of oxygen and pulse oximetry for managing childhood pneumonia, and the need for improved policies and guidelines governing their use.

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