Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Matlab - Simple Ideas Saving Lives

Another icddr,b innovation: Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC)
I was blown away with the work the Matlab crew does. From the doctors who performs deliveries, to the healthcare workers in each sub-center who ensures proper vaccination of the children, proper use of birth control among the women and proper resources being available to the expectant mother. One example of this is that each woman who is expecting a baby is given a birthing kit, in case they either prefer to deliver at home or of an emergency delivery where they can’t get to the hospital or the sub-centers fast enough.

These kits contain sterile gloves, gauge and other supplies and a birthing mat (designed by icddr,b) which has a color changing border. This border will change its’ color and indicate that too much bleeding has occurred, and that medical assistance is required. This kit is a genius idea, because not only is it low cost, it is simple to use and can be distributed widely.

As we all know premature babies cannot maintain their body temperature and this has been the cause of many pre-term deaths. The goal of KMC is to battle this. The concept is quite simple. Since hospital around Bangladesh, and icddr,b cannot afford expensive incubator, they decided their own mothers can act as their natural incubator. The mothers simply strap babies to their chest, so that their body heat can transfer to the babies. They also continue to breast feed of course. The KMC ward is in one word adorable. We walked in to see mothers with their tiny babies on their chest. But as the on-call nurse tells us it can be hard, because there mother are told that they only should unstrap the babies when they are taking a shower or going to the washroom. So for months at a time, these mothers are stuck in the KMC ward. However, as every mother there will tell you “anything for my baby.”


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