– Newborn Foundation co-founder and chairman Annamarie Saarinen today presented at the 13th Annual Design of Medical Devices Conference, (http://www.dmd.umn.edu/2014/devicefornations.html) taking place April 7-10 in Minneapolis. The meeting is among the world’s largest medical device innovation conferences and provides a national forum to bring together world-class medical device designers, researchers, manufacturers and the public sector to share perspectives and innovations in medical device design.
The session, Devices for Developing Nations: Examples of Low Cost, High Impact Projects from Pediatric & Adult Medicine, was convened by Gwyneth Fischer, MD, Professor of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, University of Minnesota and featured three keynote presenters focused on device innovations for young patients in low-resource settings – including bubble CPAP, mobile stethascope screening, and neonatal pulse oximetry screening.
Saarinen presented on the BORN Project – Birth Oximetry Routine for Newborns – the first global health initiative to reduce infant deaths through earlier detection of neonatal sepsis, pnuemonia, infections, pulmonary hypertension and asymptomatic congenital heart defects through access to mobile-enabled pulse oximetry technology that effectively measures blood-oxygen levels in newborns. A lynchpin of the BORN project has been the development of mobile device compatible pulse oximetry technology, developed by industry partner Masimo, which provides measurements specifically valid during patient motion and low perfusion, both common in newborns.
In the session, Saarinen explained how the Newborn Foundation’s efforts started with parent advocacy and pulse oximetry pilot studies to advance a simple, low-cost screening to help detect heart problems in newborns – and has since become a global health initiative that has the opportunity to reduce preventable newborn deaths by more than one-third.
“It was a privilege to share the story of how non-profits, industry and international governments can collaborate to find scalable, affordable solutions to global health issues. My own daughter Eve, survived 2 heart surgeries afte being diagnosed with the critical heart defects just prior to hospital discharge,” said Annamarie Saarinen, co-founder and chairman of the Newborn Foundation. “Eve’s journey became a catalyst to ensure newborns are diagnosed for serious health conditions in a timely fashion – including those that can be effectively addresses with oxygen therapy or a course of antibiotics. No child, regardless of geography or economy, should die a preventable death when early detection and treatments are within our reach.”
Globally, nearly 4 million newborns die within the first month of life, with neonatal infection, sepsis, pneumonia representing up to one-third of those deaths, according to the World Health Organization. The BORN Project was developed to leverage with clinical studies have shown – that timely pulse oximetry screening can help reduce neonatal mortality, a critical Millennium Development Goal. Formally launched as a pilot in China, The BORN Project will be providing education, training, clinical and public health data to demonstrate the sensitivity and efficacy of mobile-device enabled pulse oximetry screening for newborns.
About The Newborn Foundation
The Newborn Foundation is an international non-profit working specifically to leverage health IT and medical technologies to improve access and outcomes while reducing disparities for newborns. The organization has been integral in the policy development, adoption and implementation of technologies for early detection, intervention and care of the youngest patients, including universal newborn heart screening as a public health initiative.