Global Newborn Solutions™ develops medical innovations to address the most vital components of neonatal health and survival in resource limited settings.
The Need for Action
When Dr. Hansen first started working on neonatal wards in rural Rwanda in 2010, she was surprised and frustrated to learn that hypothermia was a major obstacle to the care of newborns. Confronting startlingly high rates of hypothermia and hyperthermia – both of which can be dangerous – she struggled to find solutions.
About 30% of newborns were admitted cold. Skin To Skin (STS), also called Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC), worked much better than the few available incubators, but about 60% of babies remained cold despite STS. Mothers with twins would alternate warming one, then the other. Babies would often be admitted to the neonatal ward without their mothers because they were sick and had to stay in Labor and Delivery. Even if babies were admitted with the mother, the babies were often sick; healthcare workers had to watch their breathing and they needed to have IVs started and be on respiratory support, none of which worked well in combination with the positioning of STS. The babies who survived grew slowly and Dr. Hansen worried about their brain growth during this critical time in neurodevelopment.
Our Solution – The DreamWarmer™
Determined to address this problem upon returning home, Dr. Hansen partnered with engineers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to devise a non-electric skin temperature heating pad that is easy to prepare, use, and clean. The heating pad is designed to complement STS when available and to serve as a stand-alone external heat source when the mother is sick or otherwise incapacitated.
We began experimenting with various designs, always collaborating with the Rwanda Ministry of Health and Rwandan health care providers. After many modifications and improvements, we designed The DreamWarmer™, which has now been field-tested with extremely positive results and rave reviews from nurses and mothers.
The DreamWarmer™ has the potential to overcome many of the limitations encountered by current alternatives. It serves as a complement to STS and allows for easy medical access and treatment. The device can be used in a medical setting, during transport, or at home – either alone, or in combination with STS.
Our Goal is for DreamWarmer™ to Reach Hypothermic Newborns Across the Globe
Created in partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health, Partners In Health / Inshuti Mu Buzima, and the Rwandan Pediatric Association, the DreamWarmer™ is currently being used in Rwanda in a research setting. Once we have completed our Stepped Wedge Cluster Randomized Trial and secured Rwanda Standards Bureau certification, we will roll it out to hospitals, health centers, and transport ambulances across the entire country.
Where We’re Going
We will then expand to African countries in relative proximity to Rwanda, as well as other countries with critical needs whose health ministries have prioritized maternal and newborn survival. Our near term expansion goal includes:
- Sierra Leone
Then, we plan to reach other countries with critical needs such as Haiti, India, and Nepal.