What problem are you trying to solve?
In 2015, my son had jaundice 48 hours after birth, we had difficulties in treating him because of unavailable phototherapy units at the hospital. Globally, according to the World Health Organization, an estimated 6 million other jaundiced babies do not receive treatment for neonatal jaundice because they lack access to effective phototherapy devices. The dire consequences of untreated jaundice are hearing loss, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, kernicterus or even death. A large percentage of affected babies are in African and Asian communities where there is very poor or no access to electricity. Jaundice is a leading cause of the 1.16 million deaths that occur in infants in their first month of life. 1 million other babies do not live to their full potential because of avoidable conditions like jaundice. In Africa, many infant deaths happen at home and unseen and cannot even be recorded because mothers lack awareness and strong sensitization on infant health.
What is your solution to this problem?
We have built the “Crib A’glow” Unit – a solar-powered foldable phototherapy crib for the treatment of newborn jaundice. We provide these units to hospitals and health centres in nondescript suburban and rural communities where access to stable electricity and access to good healthcare delivery is poor. The Crib A’glow Units have the required LEDs with lower temperature compared to most existing phototherapy units, ruling out dehydration, skin burn and fever in the babies.
Most existing phototherapy devices are expensive and are not effective where electricity is absent. The Crib A’glow Solar Unit is designed to solve the problem of COST, ACCESS AND ELECTRICITY with the required standard of phototherapy. “Neonatal Jaundice Sensitization” is a core activity we also carry out periodically to educate pregnant and nursing mothers in collaboration with community health workers. The more sensitizations we carry out, the fewer infant deaths are recorded in poor communities.
What is your latest update on your innovation?
The Product – Since the Crib A’glow Unit was launched in 2017 to save jaundiced babies in poor communities to contribute to the reduction of infant deaths, the device has gradually transformed from being bulky and difficult to move around into a lightweight collapsible and portable crib. This year, we have developed an addition to the unit that now makes it an oxygenated box. The essence of this is to be able to transport premature babies who are born in communities across the water to hospitals that can cater to them. In the past year, we have had reported cases of infant deaths as a result of premature births and the constant restraint was transporting the baby across the water to a hospital that can cater for their need to thrive. The Crib A’glow oxygenated phototherapy box is currently being used in just one community in Nigeria.