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Wireless Wearable for Continuous Monitoring of Neonates in Ethiopia

Rudolph Gleason of Georgia Tech Research Corporation in the U.S. and Abebbaw Fekadu of CDT-Africa in Ethiopia will develop a low-cost, wearable device that wirelessly monitors the vital signs of neonates in low-resource settings to help lower mortality rates. In Ethiopia, and many other regions, the leading causes of neonatal deaths are respiratory distress, infection, and asphyxia. However, the key warning signs of these conditions - temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood oxygen concentration - are difficult to monitor in low-resource settings that often lack sufficient technical resources and medical staff. They have built a first-generation device that they will test on 50 neonates over seven days in a hospital in Addis Ababa to assess its performance in the clinic and gather user feedback from nurses and parents. Using the results, they will employ a user-centered design approach and engage Ethiopian engineering students to improve the device design and perform a market analysis and cost assessments for local manufacturing.

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