Jaundice is a condition experienced by one in six newborns every year in the United States. It shows up as a yellow tint to baby’s skin and in the white part of their eyes. It is a sign there’s too much bilirubin in the baby’s blood. Most babies have mild jaundice, which usually gets better or goes away on its own within a week or two, without causing problems. However, jaundice should be taken seriously. If severe and untreated, it can cause deafness, cerebral palsy, brain damage and even death.
Simple blue light phototherapy treatment solves the problem in just a few days. This means placing babies (with eyes carefully shielded) under a special lamp that keeps them warm and exposes as much of their skin as possible to light treatment.
12 million babies need phototherapy treatment around the world every year. Traditional phototherapy devices cost upwards of $3000. Even when a hospital in a low income country manages to secure the right equipment, bulbs blow out and they are hard to replace, repairs are expensive, and parts hard to find.
According to Fast Company, social entrepreneurs at D-Rev have completely rethought phototherapy technology. An LED based solution, which is not only dramatically cheaper but also uses more efficient and cost effective bulbs, has been successfully used around the world and a newer model has just released. The price is between $400-$500 instead of over $3000. Suddenly, hospitals with tight budgets have a solution. More than 43,000 babies have been treated with this new machine – called the Brilliance Classic. That’s 43,000 babies who most likely would not have otherwise had access to this straightforward treatment.
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Check out the full article in Fast Company or learn more about how D-Rev’s social entrepreneurship approach is working in countries like India and around the world. The world’s big problems require a range of innovations and new ideas to solve them. Cheaper, more durable hospital equipment to treat the millions of babies with jaundice, is a great start.
Images via D-Rev