“I pray hard that this could be put into practice. If we have this kind of equipment, I think it will help us so much to save our babies.”
These were words of a midwife in rural Uganda. In May 2016, we brought the NeoLife Ventilator to Uganda for the first time to gather feedback from doctors and administrators. They were thrilled and told us of the desperate need they have for this technology.
The need became more real when during one of our visits, a newborn that was struggling to breathe was brought into the NICU. The baby needed a machine like our NeoLife Ventilator, which we had in the bag next to us, but the hospital didn’t have the right equipment to go with the ventilator and it had not yet been through the proper testing to be used on a baby. This experience has solidified our passion and commitment to delivering an efficient, portable, user-friendly, and affordable newborn ventilator/CPAP machine to the people of East Africa, and eventually throughout the entire continent.
Africa has the highest number of newborn deaths of any continent in the world. Roughly 1.16 million infants die each year in Africa, 51% of the world’s total. We estimate that our NeoLife Ventilator could prevent approximately 27% of these deaths. We are starting by targeting the East Africa region where 302,859 children under the age of 5 die each year, many from preventable respiratory-related causes.
In the East African Community, we estimate that our NeoLife Ventilator has the potential to prevent the deaths of 33,627 newborns each year who suffer from respiratory related issues. Uganda holds 32% of the newborn respiratory deaths in the East African Community. In this country alone, that potentially makes 10,756 newborns who will have the chance to live with access to this machine. After getting our start in Uganda we will spread throughout the region.
It is important to note that there are hundreds of births that do not happen in the hospitals. By providing a cost-friendly but high-quality product in hospitals and health centers, we hope to create community awareness of what resources are available and improve the local confidence in the health care system, thus motivating more mothers to give birth in a medical setting.
In addition to having a full-time employee in Uganda, we are partnering with the Ugandan Ministry of Health to run a clinical trial in Kampala this fall. Following the trial, we will begin to sell the NeoLife Ventilator to government, PNFP (NGO), and private Hospitals in Uganda. We will train doctors operate the device and provid continued support and training through partnerships with American hospitals and videos on our app.fter which we will in the Ugandan market.