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Wearable Technology Saves Newborns By Monitoring Vital Signs

An innovation in wearable monitoring technology is being used to take care of babies in the infant wards of the hospitals in Uganda.

This comes from a Chicago-based company called Neopenda founded by two women, Teresa Cauvel and Sona Shah. They raised money on Kickstarter to launch their startup company.

The women said in their Kickstarter page in 2016 that there are about three million newborn babies who die each year. Of those babies, 98 percent are in third-world countries. They raised just over $40,000 from 280 backers to be able to make their first production run of wearable baby caps that monitor the vital signs of newborn babies.

The women met while they both were studying for a Master Degree in Engineering at Columbia University. They visited Uganda together, where they noted first-hand the deaths of babies in the newborn wards in hospitals because of the shortage of nurses.

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Since that time, Business Insider reports that the company raised $750,000. The technology is now in use in Uganda as the first field test for the product. The product design has changed from being a baby cap to a wearable headband along with monitoring equipment that is gently and securely placed on the baby’s forehead. The new design improves the accuracy of the readings taken by the equipment.

The hospitals in Uganda are so under-staffed that babies were dying from preventable causes. Now, with the help of this technology, the nurses are able to save the lives of many newborn babies. A single nurse can monitor the vital signs of up to 24 babies using this wireless remote-sensing solution.

The sensors measure the baby’s heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature, and blood-oxygen saturation. If a baby’s vital signs are showing an emergency, the nurse is immediately notified and can rush to give aid to the infant.

All over the world, infants die in an unusual way called sudden-death infant syndrome. Many believe that this happens from causes that are preventable if only caregivers and/or parents could be notified that the infant is experiencing life-threatening problems. This life-threatening problem can be caught by monitoring the infant’s vital signs. As the company expands its marketing and production, the benefits of this technology will extend to all who have babies and care for babies worldwide.

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