VOICES FROM THE FIELDTHE IRC BLOG
A breath of relief for refugees with asthma
August 23, 2012 by Jane Yang
|Photo: Jane Yang/IRC|
Around the world, many people living with asthma have difficulty taking their medication using standard metered-dose inhalers. If the inhaler is not used properly, the medicine isn't released directly into the lungs where it is needed.
Add-on devices called spacers are designed to make using inhalers easier and more effective. However, for many asthma patients in Kenya, these are prohibitively expensive, running 2,600 Kenyan shillings (more than $30 U.S.) each.
Last October, International Rescue Committee pharmacist Erenius Ngelecha came up with a low cost and environmentally friendly alternative for his patients in the Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya, modifying sanitized one-liter water bottles that would otherwise be thrown away as a spacer substitute.
Within a few months, his innovative “spacer” (shown above) was being used by nearly 100 asthma patients in the camp. For them, the device is a breath of relief.
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