Rwanda: Designing a Low-Cost Infant Warmer
Of the four million infants who die within their first month of life, one million die on their first day. During the first hours and days of life, thermal stabilization is especially challenging for low birth-weight infants and often leads to hypothermia and death. The LBNL Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies (LIGTT) and the Berkeley Infant Warmer (BIW) team aim to address the above need by producing a cost-effective, high-performing, and user-friendly infant warmer. The BIW team will help LIGTT design an infant warmer prototype that will meet several important criteria – the device should be low-cost (ideally $10, but no more than $20); off-grid and effective at ≈ 37°C for > 4 hours; safe and easy to clean; and adaptable for different use cases and various locations.
The BIW team has began collaboration with LIGTT, including conducting research related with infant warming needs in Rwanda, understanding initial testing results and current processes to make the modular. The BIW team has started the design process for two use cases of the infant warmers, i.e., immediately afterbirth and kangaroo care. Specific tasks include identifying and testing insulation materials. The team also conducted five interviews on nurses and professionals in the field.