World Prematurity Day on 17 November aims to raise awareness of the estimated 15 million babies who are born preterm every year. Preterm births cause 1 million deaths globally, mainly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
It hardly sounds like a reason to celebrate, but this year Diamedica was honoured to join a party held at Mbale Hospital in Uganda for over a hundred children who had been treated at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) as preterm babies. It was wonderful to see so many happy and energetic children enjoying life thanks to the care and attention they received at the hospital.
Many of these children received treatment as preterm babies on the Diamedica Baby CPAP, a simple, robust device delivering affordable bubble CPAP therapy in low-resource settings.The nurses in the NICU have dubbed the Diamedica Baby CPAP the “miracle machine” as it keeps preterm babies with serious breathing difficulties alive.
Diamedica MD, Robert Neighbour has visited the NICU at Mbale on numerous occasions to install and service equipment. On this visit, he found Baby CPAP machines that had been run for almost 26,000 hours, which is equivalent to being used constantly 24/7 for three years!
Despite the many challenges they face, some hospitals in Uganda have successfully increased neonatal survival rates thanks to improvements in training and facilities. At Mbale the newborn mortality rates have fallen from 52% to 11% in just 3 years. A fantastic achievement.
A portable version of the Baby CPAP will be launched early next year at Arab Health 2020 in Dubai. This battery-operated device is designed to support preterm babies during transport within or between hospitals and during power outages.
To read more about Mbale and some of their Mama’s Tales please visit their website: www.bornontheedge.org.