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Low-Cost Respiratory Support: Reducing Early Neonatal Death in Rural Malawi

Through a partnership between bioengineers at Rice University, pediatricians at the University of Malawi and Baylor College of Medicine, and industrial design engineers from 3rd Stone Design have designed a novel, rugged bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (bCPAP) system which can be made in small volume at low-cost. This proposal will: (1) rigorously test the efficacy of this device at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi and refine it for use in rural district hospitals; (2) design a complementary training program for nurses and electromedical hospital staff; (3) engineer the bCPAP system for commercial manufacture; and (4) develop a country-wide plan to implement bCPAP at all district hospitals in Malawi. We estimate that on the African continent, where nearly one million babies die each year within a week of birth, the availability of affordable, effective bCPAP could reduce early neonatal mortality rates by as much as 30%.

More information about Saving Lives at Birth (Round 1)

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is part of the Grand Challenges partnership network. Visit grandchallenges.org to view the map of awarded grants across this network and grant opportunities from partners.