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How Embrace infant warmers are saving lives in developing nations

Article / Review by on November 2, 2011 – 9:30 pmNo Comments

How Embrace infant warmers are saving lives in developing nations



November 2th, 2011

As previously reported on Scope, a group of Stanford graduate students recently developed an inexpensive, portable incubator to keep premature babies warm and well in low-resource countries. The above video, posted on CNN today, takes a look at how the devices are helping reduce infant mortality rates in an Indian state where more than three in ten babies are born premature or with dangerously low birth weights.

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November 15th, 2010

More than 20 million babies are born prematurely worldwide each year, and keeping them warm is crucial for keeping them well. Traditional incubators – priced anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000 – are out of reach for many developing countries, and a group of Stanford graduate students recently developed a low-cost alternative. As described byEllen Lee in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Their design was simple: A cozy nylon sleeping bag swaddles the baby. Inside the back of the bag is a pouch where they insert a heating pad filled with a wax-like substance. The pad is heated in an electric warmer or, if no electricity is available, in a water warmer, for 20 minutes. Slipped inside the sleeping bag, the heating pad can keep the baby warm for four to six hours.Instead of $20,000 each, their solution will cost about $200 – possibly less. It can be used at home, in hospitals and clinics, and as a means to transport infants from a village to a hospital in a larger city.

The entrepreneurs tested their product and started a company, Embrace, and they plan to sell the portable incubators in India, other parts of Asia and Africa by the end of the year. The infant warmer might also have applications in the U.S: In an upcoming trial at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, it will be used as a way for preemies to stay close to their mothers.

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* Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions – Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

**  The above story is adapted from materials provided by Stanford University School of Medicine

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