Warm and con­ve­nient

Re­searchers are de­vel­op­ing low-cost warmers for in­fants even as doc­tors re­main di­vided over the ef­fi­cacy of the prod­uct

Down to Earth - - HEALTH - MANUPRIYA DOWN TO EARTH |

Inot likely to meet the Mil­len­nium NDIA IS Devel­op­ment Goal 4 which aims to re­duce mor­tal­ity of chil­dren un­der five years of age by two-thirds be­tween 1990 and 2015. A ma­jor rea­son for the coun­try’s fail­ure to meet the tar­gets is its in­abil­ity to keep new­borns warm, who need to main­tain a body tem­per­a­ture of 370 C.

Ba­bies born with low weight have a ten­dency to lose heat,or be­come hy­pother­mic, be­cause they have low en­ergy stores, which can­not be spent on gen­er­a­tion of heat, says V K Paul,pro­fes­sor and head of the depart­ment of pae­di­atrics at All In­dia In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Sciences, Delhi. Such ba­bies need ex­ter­nal in­ter­ven­tions to make up for the heat deficit. Ac­cord­ing to unicef, such in­ter­ven­tions can re­duce neona­tal mor­tal­ity or mor­bid­ity by 18 per cent to 42 per cent.Tra­di­tion­ally, th­ese are done in var­i­ous ways, such as keep­ing the baby dry and clothed,co-bed­ding with mother, heat­ing the room and kan­ga­roo mother care (kmc) in which a low birth-weight baby is placed on mother’s or fa­ther’s chest to of­fer max­i­mum skin-to-skin con­tact.

When th­ese tra­di­tional mech­a­nisms do not work, ra­di­ant warmers and in­cu­ba­tors are used. But th­ese de­vices are ex­pen­sive. In poor coun­tries,low-cost de­vices that can keep ba­bies warm can be a huge help in check­ing in­fant mor­tal­ity.With this tar­get,non-prof­its and com­mer­cial en­ter­prises are try­ing to de­velop low-cost warmers.

Em­brace Nest, one such at­tempt by a team from the US and In­dia,is a sim­ple de­vice that could pro­vide a con­stant tem­per­a­ture and does not re­quire con­tin­u­ous power sup­ply.An in­ter­est­ing as­pect of the prod­uct is that the re­searchers at Em­brace In­no­va­tions were in con­stant touch with the end users dur­ing the

COUR­TESY: GLOB­ALGIV­ING.ORG

Em­brace Care, which is de­vel­oped for house­holds, uses wa­ter to heat the

sleep­ing pouch

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