Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Ukraine using Kenya-made CPAP device to save premature babies

A Kenya-made device is saving the lives of premature Ukrainian babies with difficulty breathing, reducing babies’ mortality rate amid Russian invasion.

• September 16, 2022
Pumani bubble CPAP
Pumani bubble CPAP [Photo Credit: Anudha Limited]

A Kenya-made device is saving the lives of premature Ukrainian babies with difficulty breathing, reducing babies’ mortality rate amid Russian invasion of the country.

Russian missiles have destroyed many Ukrainian hospitals and other health facilities. The few functioning facilities have an irregular power supply which intermittently cripples lifesaving machines. 

Ukrainian health workers are now using a Kenya-made device, a bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure system, or bCPAP, to preserve the lives of premature babies, who would have otherwise been placed in an incubator, had the power supply proved reliable.

Medical personnel at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu, Kenya, affirmed the effectiveness of the CPAP in relieving babies with respiratory distress.

“Currently, we have seen that there are babies who improve very well when we initiate CPAP,” Daisy Okech, a pediatric nurse at the hospital, told VOA in an interview.

The bubble CPAP delivers pressurised oxygen, bringing almost instant relief to babies struggling to breathe. Medical experts have described the device as a non-invasive way of getting newborns to breathe right, stressing the oxygen blenders supply pure oxygen to the babies and prevent damage to the brain and lungs.

The World Health Organisation in August asserted that 17 of 25 perinatal centres across Ukraine were using the bubble CPAPs to keep preemies alive.

The device is set for mass production as Revital Healthcare, a manufacturer in Kenya’s Kilifi County, and U.S.-based Vayu Global Health Foundation have partnered to produce the CPAPs in large quantities.

Explaining how the CPAP works, Revital’s technical director, Krupali Shah, said, “Once you have continuous 100 per cent oxygen flowing in the blender, which is where the magic of the entire device is and is, literally, where the magic happens, it’s able to pull ambient air from the outside as well.” 

She added, “You can adjust the oxygen concentration between 30-100 before delivery to the baby. The blended air can be filtered, humidified, breathed in by the patient and breathed out. There is also a pressure generator jar which controls the pressure and keeps the baby’s lungs open.”

The device is already being used in Belgium, U.S. and 20 nations in Africa. 

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