Neonatal Care and Resuscitation Support
Annually, 136 million babies are born worldwide. Birth asphyxia is the second leading cause of neonatal death causing 1-2 million deaths each year, 96% of them in low and middle-income countries. Successful resuscitation could prevent a large proportion of these deaths and improve the outcomes of neonates surviving asphyxia. A recent study from Burkina Faso reported a neonatal mortality rate (NMR) of 46 per 1000. High Income countries such as Sweden have seen a dramatic reduction of NMR from 7,9 per 1000 in 1973 to 1,6 per 1000, however more than 200 children per year are still at risk of brain damage after asphyxia.
In low resource settings even simple things as proper ventilation are often not being performed. The quality of resuscitation in both facility and community-based births must rise.
The WHO estimates that 1 million babies die from birth asphyxia every year, and that 96% of these deaths occur in the developing world. According to the global educational initiative Helping Babies Breathe, the first ‘golden’ minute of a newborn’s life is the most critical. The most important thing to determine at the outset is the baby’s heart rate, but the machinery is costly and often not available in rural hospitals. Tap4life is a smartphone application that allows midwives to accurately measure a newborn’s heart rate by tapping on the screen after each heartbeat. The app has a color-coded interface that keeps track of time and uses voice prompts and simple imagery to assist the user. There is an integrated checklist to help determine risks and identify danger signs. The app came about during a research project in Uganda, with Makerere University in Kampala, the Centre for International Health in Uganda and the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. The first prototype, NeoTap, evolved into Tap4life, a fully integrated m-health platform for use in any setting. The application is in use in a hospital in Kampala, where doctors report that it has already saved lives. Tap4life will be teaming up with Helping Babies Breathe in an existing training initiative in Burkina Faso, a country with a very high infant mortality rate, to further develop the features and adapt it for Francophone use. Tap4life was the recipient of a 50 000 USD grant from Swedish Patient Insurance 2015 to develop the technology for use in Swedish neonatal clinics. They were also finalists in the 2015 Saving Lives at Birth awards. The eventual goal is to be able to offer their app for free globally, saving lives of newborns worldwide in the crucial golden minute.
Sierra Briscoe - https://www.linkedin.com/in/sierrabriscoe/