Nation Current Affairs 23 Nov 2017 Bengaluru: Made ...

Bengaluru: Made in India womb for preemies

Published Nov 23, 2017, 2:01 am IST
Updated Nov 23, 2017, 2:01 am IST
City engineers just helped address yet another healthcare challenge - premature births and infant mortality.
 City engineers just helped address yet another healthcare challenge - premature births and infant mortality.

Bengaluru: City engineers just helped address yet another healthcare challenge - premature births and infant mortality. GE Healthcare has designed Giraffe Omnibed Carestation incubator, a closed care bed, which resembles an artificial womb for babies born preterm. "A preemie was intended to stay in the mother's womb for an average of 40 weeks until they have adequately developed physically and neurologically to be able to sustain themselves in the outside world. When they are born too soon, the best thing we can do is to use technology to recreate an environment as closely as possible to a mother's womb," explains Terri Bresenham, president and CEO, GE Healthcare, Sustainable Healthcare Solutions. 

Calling it a closed care bed for a baby, she says, "It is designed to eliminate most kinds of stresses that can hamper the development of a preemie - sounds, temperature and humidity fluctuations and skin damage. For example, loud noises and constant light in the NICU are stressful to preemies and cause developmental issues for them. The Giraffe Omnibed uses design principles to deflect sounds away from the baby so that nurses can hear them but they are very muted for the baby, keeping the sound levels low. The mattress rotates so doctors and nurses don't unnecessarily touch and move the baby when providing treatment, which is also stressful to the baby. Babies have very a sensitive and fragile skin and in the womb which is immersed in the amniotic fluid. In a preemie, we need to maintain this humidification, while ensuring it is completely sterile."

The incubator is a few levels above the normal NICU as many preemies are bedded in an open warmer. "This exposes the baby to round the clock noises from alarms, harsh light and limited humidity control. At the same time, they are also constantly losing moisture from their body which can cause blood electrolyte imbalance and weight loss; stable blood chemistry and weight gain are two very important goals of preemie care. So, while the baby often survives, they don't always receive the best environment suited for help them catch up developmentally with normal term babies. This could lead to developmental challenges in the long run," she adds. 

Adding that the incubator is a wholly Make in India product, she says, "We have more than 1,600 engineers working at our Bengaluru centre (John F Welch Technology Centre), designing products and solutions that meet the needs of hospitals and patients in India and around the world. The entire Lullaby range of warmers, phototherapy and resuscitation devices are not only designed in India, keeping the Indian conditions and requirements in mind, but are also made in India at our manufacturing facility in Bengaluru."

Location: India, Karnataka, Bengaluru


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