It’s a shame that so many medical resources we have in America are unavailable in low-resource countries even though the innovations aren’t that expensive and in many cases, don’t require materials. My friend is a nurse and a couple times a year she donates her time in various different countries. She comes back with pretty heart-wrenching stories about sick children that only need a vaccine or medication that can be produced for less than a dollar. It makes me wonder how many children could be saved with the change I get back from buying a cup of coffee every day.
These medical innovations are designed to specifically address the needs of mothers and infants in order to help lessen the infant mortality rate in low-resource countries. This call for a focus on innovation is led by PATH, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Government of Norway, the United States Agency for International Development, the United Kingdom's Department for International Development, UNICEF, Grand Challenges Canada, and the United Nations Foundation.
The first medical innovation is called Kit Yamoyo, and it contains packages of anti-diarrheal treatments along with zinc and oral rehydration solution. Also included is soap, and everything is able to fit in a container that doubles as a measuring and mixing cup. The kit is designed to fit over Coca Cola bottles in delivery cartons.
An anti-shock garment is designed to wrap around the lower part of a mother’s body to stop excessive bleeding after childbirth. It also keeps blood in vital organs until the mother can receive emergency care treatment. Post-delivery hemorrhage is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality, and it kills approximately 72,000 women each year.
A low-cost antiseptic called Chlorhexidine prevents infections that can enter an infant's body through newly cut umbilical cords. These infections cause some 12% newborn deaths each year. By supplying access to Chlorhexidine, hundreds of thousands of infants will be able to fight infection and live.
Magnesium sulfate is probably the most effective treatment for stopping severe preeclampsia and eclampsia, which is a pregnancy-related condition that is the second leading cause of maternal death.
Helping Babies Breathe
This is an initiative of the American Academy of Pediatrics and others, and it involves training one million birthing attendants to ensure every baby is able to take their first breath. The program has already reduced early newborn mortality by as much as 47% in Tanzania. The program uses innovative teaching tools, like the newborn simulator NeoNatalie, which teaches health workers to safely deliver babies in any setting with simple supplies.
Source: Hoffman & Hoffman Worldwide (2013, September 25). Innovations could save lives of mothers, children. ScienceDaily.