Published By: BHI Communications

BHI Delivers First-of-its-Kind Oxygen Training and Capacity Building Program in Liberia

Combining on-site training with follow-on virtual support, the program aims to expand local capacity to repair and maintain essential oxygen systems.

December 14, 2022 – Beverly, MA – This fall, Build Health International (BHI) led a medical oxygen training program in Liberia, aimed at expanding local capacity to repair and maintain critical oxygen infrastructure to ensure that life-saving oxygen systems remain functional over time.

“Oxygen is essential medicine, but it remains out of reach for far too many. In places where oxygen generating systems are available, too often those responsible for maintaining it lack the training, spare parts, and support required to make sure that it stays operational,” said Andrew Johnston, Director of Medical Oxygen Education and Training at BHI. “By bringing participants from across the country together for this training, rather than focusing on one plant at a time, we were able to more effectively break down barriers to access, increase capacity, foster connection and collaboration, and set up sustainable support systems to improve the delivery of oxygen in Liberia in the long-term.”

Over five days, the BHI team worked closely with 29 participants, including technicians, operators, managers, and staff from hospitals and oxygen plants, responsible for six different oxygen systems across Liberia. The training took a holistic approach, combining basic education on plant principles, functions, day-to-day upkeep, and preventative maintenance with hands-on learning through field visits and on-site technical practice. To ensure participants continued to feel supported after the training wrapped, the BHI team also incorporated a virtual resource, using WhatsApp to create accessible groups where trainees could connect, seek guidance, and share information and expertise. Since the training, that group has continued to serve as a central resource and community for trainees to collaborate with one another and BHI trainers. Maintenance tracking logs, quick-fix questions, and spare parts sourcing information have all been exchanged to ensure longer-term oxygen delivery across the country, even after BHI’s training was completed.

“Our approach is unique because our goal is self-sufficiency for the communities we work with,” added Theogene Ngirinshuti, Global Health Program Manager on BHI’s medical oxygen team. “Our hope is that, by sharing what we know, we can equip the people we train with enough expertise and information to be able to sustain their own plants, and teach others to sustain their own plants, without having to depend on us or other external partners for help. It’s about building sustainable health systems, and it’s about building and fostering community.”

Developed in collaboration with the Liberian Ministry of Health (LMOH), BHI’s training in Liberia was made possible thanks to funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates and Skoll Foundations, and support from BHI’s partner organizations, Partners in Health (PIH) and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) in Liberia.

Prior to this work in Liberia, BHI convened 23 technicians in Lesotho for an oxygen training and capacity building program. To date, the team has also conducted a series of “Find and Fix” assessments in countries around the world – including Liberia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, and Guinea-Bissau – aimed at identifying opportunities to improve existing oxygen infrastructure.

BHI’s next oxygen training will be held in Nepal in December, and additional information about BHI’s work to expand global access to medical oxygen can be found here:

About Build Health International:

Build Health International (BHI) believes that every person has a right to quality healthcare. In 2010, following the Haitian Earthquake, BHI built the Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM), Haiti’s flagship teaching hospital. Since then, BHI has designed, built, and equipped over 200 dignified spaces in more than 30 countries for care in the world’s most vulnerable communities, enabling local clinicians to work at their full potential. Working closely with ministries of health, partner organizations, and local workforces, BHI promotes sustainable design, and empowers communities, and enables access to dignified and affordable healthcare in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.

Additional information about other projects in the BHI pipeline, including oxygen work, can be found here: