Inventions Saving Infant LivesEven with the rapidly developing technology around today, giving birth and nursing are still some of the toughest experiences a mother can go through. Those experiences are, unfortunately, even tougher for mothers giving birth in developing countries. With fewer resources and more exposure to disease right out of the womb, developing countries have some of the highest mortality rates. Here is a list of five inventions saving infant lives worldwide.

5 Inventions Saving Infant Lives

  1. Neopenda: Neopenda is one of the inventions saving infant lives. It is a hat made for babies which helps monitor their vitals such as heart rate and breathing capacity. The company was founded in 2015 and was marketed for newborns in Uganda. The design was tested in Uganda since 2017 and was finally funded in 2019. Neopenda has since won multiple awards for its revolutionary concept and application.
  2. Khushi Baby: Khushi Baby is a digital necklace for newborns that can store all of their medical information at an inexpensive cost. Khushi Baby was designed as part of UNICEF’s Wearables for Good contest and won. The necklace, along with the mobile app, allows nurses to keep track of patient data that can get easily lost in their busy and often underfunded healthcare systems. The necklace has been lauded as an ingenious idea that helps to digitalize immunization records for babies. This helps ensure more accurate and faster readings. Khushi Baby is working with NGO Seva Mandir to run vaccination clinics in rural villages in India. The company has expressed interest in expanding to Africa and the Middle East as well.
  3. Solar Suitcase: Another one of the inventions saving infant lives is the Solar Suitcase. It is an invention designed by Dr. Laura Stachel. The suitcase is a miniature kit powered by solar energy from two panels which produces a light strong enough for child delivery for nearly 20 hours. The kit was inspired by a visit Dr. Satchel made to Nigeria in 2009. She witnessed multiple times power outages that could harm babies and mothers during birth. The kit was tested in Nigeria by Dr. Stachel herself and proven to be a huge success. Since then, her charity We Care Solar has been helping to decrease mortality rates in Africa, Central America and Asia.
  4. The Odon Device: The Odon Device is a plastic bag that inflates to help pull a newborn’s head during delivery. The Odon Device was developed by Jorge Odon, a car mechanic from Argentina and made into a prototype in 2013. Funded by the World Health Organization, the Odon Device is meant to save newborns and their mother’s lives by limiting complications during birth. The product was tested in Argentina and South Africa and achieved a success rate of over 70%.
  5. TermoTell: TermoTell is a bracelet designed to recognize malaria early on in newborn babies. Another design created for UNICEF’S Wearables for Good contest, TermoTell reads babies’ temperatures to safely detect malaria and alert the doctor. If a newborn has malaria, the bracelet will glow and send an alert to a doctor’s phone. The invention was targeted towards sub-Saharan Africa where malaria can cause the deaths of nearly a million children. TermoTell is still just a prototype. The invention is still in the process of improving the design for more accurate readings in the future.

These five designs are just a few of the inventions saving infant lives all around the world. Most inventions are aimed at larger developing countries to help decrease mortality rates. Sub-Saharan Africa still has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world with more than 50 deaths per 1,000 births while India has close to 30 deaths per 1,000 births. Inventions such as the five listed above have the potential to save thousands of lives and improve the mortality rate for many less developed countries whose mothers and infants have suffered for far too long.

Hena Pejdah
Photo: Pixabay

Project CASITAProject CASITA, created by Partners in Health in Peru, identifies infants and toddlers with developmental delays and trains parents and caregivers to stimulate children and encourage age-appropriate behavior. The program is designed to help children aged six to 24 months who exhibit signs of potential developmental delay, such as lack of communication and mobility. The program began in November 2013 and in 2016 had enrolled 180 children and families. Researchers found that 85 percent of children exhibiting early developmental delays showed improvement after time in the program. The program is located in Carabayllo, a province north of Lima.

Community health workers aid the mothers and teach them activities to do with their children to encourage mobility and language development. The community health workers help parents design toys to exercise their infants’ tongues and play games to promote language development. Toddlers also work on picking up small objects to develop their fine motor skills. Some health workers meet parents weekly in their home and other parents attend education sessions at a central location. Health workers and caregivers typically work together for three months.

Grand Challenges Canada helps to support Project CASITA. Initially, Grand Challenges Canada provided a grant of $199,000. In May 2016, they provided a second grant to help Partners in Health expand the program to reach 3,000 children. In order to successfully expand, 30 additional community health workers were trained.

Partners in Health also cooperates with the Peruvian Ministry of Health to ensure programs are integrated and sustainable on the community and municipal levels.

Project CASITA supports families in other ways as well. They provide food baskets and mental health services. Families also receive help in applying for national identification cards which grant them access to a variety of public services.

Sarah Denning
Photo: Flickr

6 Ways to Bring an End to World Hunger
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates nearly 870 million people are suffering from chronic malnourishment despite the world producing more than enough food to feed everyone. Nearly all of these people, 852 million, live in developing countries. What can be done to solve world hunger?

1. Prevent Land Grabbing: The ugly truth of the future food supply scarcity issue is that wealthy, land-poor countries, including those in the Gulf and South Korea, are obtaining tracts of land in developing countries to use as allotments. Many African countries, including Ethiopia, Sudan, and Madagascar, have already been targeted. A reported estimate totaling an area the size of Spain has been taken from these countries leaving many families unable to feed their children. The push to end land grabbing is the main campaigning focus of the Enough Food For Everyone IF campaign.

2. Reform and Regulate: Large amounts of investment funds have flooded into the commodities markets since the 2008 financial crisis. The automated trading systems, which exploit the tiniest of flaws in the market, encourage volatility. This makes it extremely difficult for traditional traders to keep prices stable and capable of hedging against spikes in the market. Though this was a topic much discussed in the G20 and G8, an international agreement to reform and regulate the commodities markets has not yet been reached.

3. Produce Less Biofuel: With the pressure to reduce carbon emission from fossil fuels, wealthy countries have been turning sugar, corn, and other crops into ethanol and biodiesel. Burning large amounts of food in our cars reduces the amount available to eat and results in much higher food prices. If that does not sound catastrophic enough, evidence shows that many biofuels actually release more greenhouse gasses than fossil fuels. More greenhouse gasses means hotter, drier seasons, dying crops, and even more hungry people.

4. Support Small Farms: Many African farmers are less productive today than US farmers were 100 years ago. There is an agreement between NGOs and governments that supporting small farmers is the smartest solution for future food security. With a combination of aid, education in better farming methods, and the introduction of better seeds and fertilizer, a green revolution could soon be within Africa’s reach.

5. Target Infant Nutrition: Many companies and wealthy nations are backing an African government-led plan to eliminate malnutrition, and large improvements have already been made. The solution is education on good feeding techniques and getting the proper nutrients to the mother and child at the beginning of pregnancy. This aid is key because malnutrition is responsible for an 11% decrease in GDP in affected areas.

6. Reduce Poverty: No surprise here; economic growth is the key to reducing hunger. More trade, financial liberalization, and open markets will aid in the flow of food. Successful poverty-reducing methods in China have led many economists to believe that hunger in the country will be eradicated by 2020. As for the rest of the world, the UN’s Millennium Development Goals aim to end extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. If each UN-member state does its part, these goals can be achieved.

– Scarlet Shelton

Sources: The Guardian, World Hunger