Technological Solutions Can Save Kids’ Lives

By Tosan Yembra & Mohit Pramanik

May 17, 2018

At this year’s World Health Assembly in Geneva next week, innovators will have the power to transform families’ lives.

For the fourth year in a row, the Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace, in collaboration with the UN Foundation and other partners, will host an exciting, interactive event alongside the World Health Organization’s annual meeting. The May 23rd gathering will showcase five unique innovations that promote women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Innovators will present their solutions to Ministers of Health, business leaders, and development agencies, in the hopes of securing support to help deliver their solutions to more people in more places. One fascinating example? The Bempu Hypothermia Bracelet.

Ratul Narain, CEO and Founder of Bempu Health, witnessed inequality while traveling to low-income countries like India while growing up. This sparked a deep interest in health technologies. He moved to India from the U.S. to pursue his vision to help mothers and families in poor communities live healthier, happier lives, tapping experience developing medical devices for companies like Boston Scientific, Johnson & Johnson Cordis, and Embrace Innovations.

Ratul’s BEMPU Hypothermia Bracelet fits on a baby’s wrist and continuously monitors the infant’s temperature. It alerts the mother or caregiver if a newborn baby is hypothermic—with a dangerously low temperature. If the baby’s temperature drops too much, the bracelet beeps and flashes orange; when the temperature stabilizes, the bracelet blinks blue. Neonatal hypothermia is one of the leading contributors to illness and death of newborns, especially in low-resource settings. Once the caregiver has been alerted to possible hypothermia, they can warm the baby with Kangaroo Care (skin-to-skin contact) before serious harm like oxygen or glucose loss, or even sudden death, occurs. A pilot program testing the device in Rajasthan, India showed that using the Bempu bracelet helped babies gain weight and parents provide better care. The bracelet also helped to identify cases of sepsis early at home before serious complications arose.

Other innovations being presented include:

  • Save the Children’s First Steps program in Rwanda which promotes healthy development of infants and toddlers through radio programs and peer-learning groups providing parenting education;
  • The Ellavi Uterine Balloon Tamponade from Sinapi Biomedical in South Africa to tackle post-partum hemorrhage, experienced by more than 10 million women a year;
  • Iron-Fortified Tea from researchers at the University of Toronto, which aims to combat anemia in India, leveraging the country’s high ratio of tea drinkers;
  • A market-based sanitation solution developed by Population Services International (PSI) that connects local entrepreneurs, manufacturers and consumers to increase demand and use of toilets, and thus reduce open defecation in India.

Take Action Challenge

  • Learn more about these lifesaving innovations and how you can collaborate with these innovators by contacting Dr. Teesta Soman teesta.soman@grandchallenges.ca

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