“You sick, you poor, you die.”
These are the words a financial minister of Cambodia spoke to us as he took us through his district to assess the health situation. Thousands of newborns in Cambodia each year don't get a chance to live because of a lack of access to medical care, funding, or confidence in the medical system. We're here to change that.
Cambodia loses roughly 5% of live births annually due to asphyxiation, respiratory and other related complications (World Bank data on neonatal and infant mortality rates). These deaths could be significantly reduced with the use of a breathing device like the NeoLife Ventilator.
We conservatively estimate preventing at least 3,500 newborn deaths a year with this ventilator. It has the potential to prevent up to 75% of the reported 6,662 newborns (ages 0-1 month) that die each year in Cambodia.
Additionally, 12,600 babies in Cambodia die each year after one month of age. If these infants could be treated with the ventilator as newborns, we anticipate being able to prevent many of these deaths and significantly reduce this statistic as well.
Furthermore, there may be hundreds more unreported cases that may be more motivated to visit their local medical center if they had confidence in its level of training and equipment.
In May 2017 we started a trial run of two CPAP devices at two rural health clinics in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. With the two devices we sent a neonatal respiratory therapist to provide an intensive training course on newborn resuscitation and the use of CPAP. We are currently saving 1-2 babies each month each clinic where these devices were placed.
With the support of the Cambodian government, we have partnered with Weber State University's nursing and respiratory therapy programs to send a group of 5 faculty and around 20 students back to Cambodia in May 2018. They will place more devices, implement more training, and gather data for us on the impact that our technology and training module are having and how we improve. This will pave the way for the eventual placement of hundreds of devices throughout the country.