A robust incubator for newborns
Glass bottles filled with hot water are used to keep the inside of the incubators warm during blackouts.
About three million children die within one month of life each year in the world. 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries. Among the causes of neonatal mortality, hypothermia (low body temperature) is one of the most important in developing countries, even though up to 40% of deaths associated with hypothermia could be prevented by simple and appropriate thermal management.
Most existing medical devices in industrialized countries cannot fulfill – or be adapted to fulfill – the technical specifications of the context of district hospitals in developing countries. Neither can they fulfill the stringent requirement of a radical reduction of the “cost of ownership” (total cost of the device during its complete lifecycle). Attempts have been made to develop appropriate incubators or simplified infant warmers. They suffer from a series of drawbacks like inability to be carried into industrial production and solutions not meeting safety standards.
1.1 Million newborns die of hypothermia before their first month
The essential incubator must be simple and intuitive to use, bearing all the features of a “high-tech” incubator whilst being well adapted to the context of a district hospital in the developing world
- Resistance to deleterious effects of voltage spikes and ‘unclean’ electricity
- Thermal Battery to allow the continuous operation of the heating system in spite of electrical black outs and power cuts
- Resistance to humidity of 98%, temperatures up to 50°C and high levels of dust
- Low maintenance
- Quality thermal regulation, maintaining the zone of thermo-neutrality of the newborn
- Integrated phototherapy unit to treat neonatal jaundice in order to avoid cerebral palsy caused by kernicterus
- Safe use by untrained staff
- Largely language-independent, i.e. rely on pictograms
First complete prototype of the incubator using the thermal battery. Successful proof of concept.
Major advancements on the technology and design with the help of several interns.
Second prototype of the thermal battery (patented).
Financial support from International Rotary Club, Geneva
“THE Port” hackathon that allowed to explore different incubator designs.
Hackathon « THE Port » qui a permis d’explorer différents designs de couveuse
1st prototype of the thermal battery (patented), presented to our Cameroonian partners.
Partnership with an neonat incubator manufacturer for the development of a thermal battery that will allow to mitigate power cuts.
Prof. Sophia Haussener
Prof. Christophe Moser
Prof. Véronique Michaud