According to PATH, an international non-profit organization that transforms global health through innovation and reported by Medical News Today on Friday, ten health care innovations, if brought to scale immediately in low-resource countries, could have the potential to save the lives of some 1.2 million mothers and children in 2015.
Many women in third world and developing countries are not afforded the health care they need during pregnancy and birth, resulting in high percentages of infant and maternal mortality.
The ten, identified by international experts from hundreds of candidates, are ready to be deployed where they are needed most by the end of 2015, according to a new publication, breakthrough innovations that can save women and children now.
Tore Godal, M.D., Ph.D., special advisor to the Prime Minister of Norway and a leader behind the push for innovation puts it another way.
"If we are going to make further progress on reducing death and illness of poor women, their newborns and children, we will need to ensure access to these innovations in hard to reach pockets of very poor, marginalized populations."
Supporting the drive for innovation are governments, multinational agencies, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and health care workers, who are coming together to avert the deaths of children and women. The ongoing efforts involve both making better use of commodities, equipment and health workers already in place and finding ways to adapt these innovations where most needed. Here are the ten innovations:
- Kit Yamoyo is a kit that packages anti-diarrheal treatments with zinc and oral rehydration solution (ORS), along with soap, in a container that doubles as a measuring and mixing cup. The kit is designed to fit over Coca Cola bottles in delivery cartons.
- Anti-Shock Garment. This non-pneumatic anti-shock garment wraps around the lower part of the body to stop excessive bleeding after childbirth and keeps blood in vital organs until the mother can receive treatment at an emergency care facility.
- Low-Cost Antiseptic. Chlorhexidine is a low-cost antiseptic that prevents infections that can enter an infant's body through newly cut umbilical cords.
- Rotovac is a new vaccine to prevent rotavirus related diarrhea, which is common in developing countries. The vaccine, delivered with ORS and zinc, could virtually eliminate diarrhea deaths.
- The Backpack-PLUS delivers essential commodities that community health workers need to do their jobs at the "last mile" of delivery. The toolkit includes medicines such as zinc, ORS, antibiotics and anti-malarial drugs.
- Helping Babies Breathe, an initiative of the American Academy of Pediatrics and others, is working to train one million birth attendants to ensure every baby's first breath, no matter where they are born.
- Bubble CPAP, a bubble continuous positive airway device, saves lives of babies with severe respiratory illness, including pneumonia, by forcing oxygen into babies' lungs.
- Phone Oximeter, a low-cost, mobile phone-based monitoring device that measures blood oxygen levels can help front-line health workers diagnose and manage pre-eclampsia and pneumonia.
- Sayana Press is an inexpensive contraceptive packaged in a prefilled, single dose injection system called Uniject. The device can be used by less skilled health workers after minimal training and is effective for three months.
- Magnesium sulfate is the most effective treatment to stop severe pre-eclampsia and eclampsia - pregnancy-related conditions that are the second-leading cause of maternal death.
Innovation supporters estimate that $1 billion will be needed to implement these and other innovations.
The money is available through the more than $45 billion in financial commitments to support the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for reducing childhood deaths by two-thirds (MDG 4) and maternal deaths by three quarters (MDG 5) by 2015.
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Emily Sutherlin is also the Pregnancy Examiner.
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