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Cherie Blair

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Innovations in Global Child Healthcare

Innovations in Global Child Healthcare

Midwife Resuscitation Training in West Aceh, Indonesia

Innovations in Global Child Healthcare

Young infant and the tube that saved his life

Four million infants die within a month of birth every year. Ninety eight percent of these infant deaths occur in developing countries. Worldwide, neonatal deaths account for forty percent of mortality among children under five.

These are tragic statistics which also represent a deep personal tragedy for those involved. Yet sadly in so many cases, with the use of simple techniques, these lives could have been saved.

An innovative team in the USA is working on imaginative solutions to this global problem.The Global Health Initiative, within the Centre for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology which is linked to Massachusetts General Hospital Boston reaches out to women and children in particular across the globe. Its work focuses on the needs of under-served patient populations in America and around the world, the majority of whom are children. CIMIT uses its collaborative power to bring doctors and engineers together to help those in emerging nations to help themselves. This is achieved by developing a Medical Access Program (MAP), which brings local medical resources together and pinpoints projects that can improve health conditions in emerging communities. Planners identify the needs of communities and work with residents so they will be able to cope with medical issues on a long-term basis.

The team at CIMIT are currently expanding their mothers-and-newborn health services by creating education programmes for midwives and mothers to enable them to learn safety techniques for during and after childbirth. They, in turn, will teach others. The unique collaboration between health and engineering at the heart of CIMIT has also come up with some incredibly effective yet simple medical inventions such as the "low-tech" resuscitation device featured in these photos, which has already saved the lives of many new born babies around the world. It is a simple plastic tube and mouthpiece which can be used on newborns whose air passages are congested following birth. Its simplicity is echoed in its low cost so it can easily be produced on a large scale.

Their most recent proposal is to create mobile incubators at 3% of their normal cost which are built using locally acquired car parts, which can be repaired by local handymen. Learn more here