Warm and convenient
Researchers are developing low-cost warmers for infants even as doctors remain divided over the efficacy of the product
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
Embrace Care, which is developed for households, uses water to heat the