Incubators Can Significantly Reduce
Neonatal Mortality and Morbidity
Preterm births are a serious global social and economical problem with uneven distribution by race, income and geography. Preterm birth, defined as childbirth occurring at less than 37 completed weeks or 259 days of gestation, is a major determinant of neonatal mortality and morbidity and has long-term adverse consequences for health.
Premature infants have higher rates of cerebral palsy, sensory deficits, learning disabilities and respiratory illnesses compared with children born at term. The health complications of preterm infants also include difficulty breathing, breastfeeding, and maintenance of optimum body temperature and are more prone to jaundice, anemia, and other chronic diseases.
Preterm babies are prone to serious illnesses or death during the neonatal period. Without appropriate treatment, those who survive are at increased risk of lifelong disability and poor quality of life. Complications of prematurity are the single largest cause of neonatal death and the second leading cause of deaths among children under the age of 5 years.
Global efforts to further reduce child mortality demand urgent action to address preterm birth. This leads to billions of dollars in human and capital loses annually. Currently, there are no affordable, fully functional incubators for low-resource and emergency settings. Modern hospital incubators are stationary, large and heavy, and require a constant 110-240V electricity, are prohibitively expensive to purchase and complex to disinfect and to maintain.
According to the WHO, Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) have more than 80 million underserved babies annually with more than 3.3 million preventable deaths. One clear factor in neonatal morbidity and mortality in developing countries is the lack of functioning infant incubators.
In LMICs, newborns are usually presented with multiple life threatening illness that can be treated with incubators. However, the delivery of affordable, quality healthcare is prevented by inadequate hospital NICU infrastructure, a scarcity of qualified healthcare providers, and fragmented care pathways.
WHO IS MOST AFFECTED?
The development and use of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) saved millions of lives, but neonatal incubators are still too big and too expensive to meet demand causing global scarcity. The complexity also makes them difficult to transport and to maintain.
An ideal incubator will allow direct access without compromising the internal environment while offering protection from contaminants, noise and temperature change. The portable structure should allow a heat source, oxygen supplementation, fluid level maintenance and be able to sustain humidity to prevent dehydration via skin and respiratory evaporation. A dynamic, multi-modal incubator will insure that one unit can provide many treatments, such as phototherapy for jaundice.
Reducing neonatal morbidity and mortality are Sustainable Development Goals: without a comprehensive solution millions of babies die annually from preventable causes with tens of millions more disabled.
These complications include breathing, breastfeeding, and maintenance of optimum body temperature. Neonates are also more prone to anemia, jaundice, infections and other chronic diseases.
Infant morbidity and mortality are directly associated with global development. Preterm births result in serious economic and social problems that affect millions of children annually, and billions are spent to improve these issues with limited success.
Children who are born prematurely experience a serious range of illnesses and disabilities, directly relating to the lack of available infant incubators.
WHERE DOES IT HAPPEN?
The highest rates of preterm birth were in Africa and North America (11.9% and 10.6% of all births, respectively), and the lowest were in Europe (6.2%). Neonatal deaths now account for 40 percent of all deaths under the age of 5 (WHO, UNICEF 2012).
NICI is a Solution for the U.S. Crisis
Each year 380,000 babies (1 in 10 newborns) are born premature across the U.S., which has the highest rates of infant mortality among developed nations.
Only 40% of preterm babies are delivered in a hospital NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), leading to more sick and dying newborns - and profound trauma to our families and communities.
American minority newborns have 2-3 times higher rates of infant mortality, and rates for all newborns have been climbing in recent years.
NICI will increase access to incubators, improve safety, and reduce healthcare costs to help providers, mothers and newborns everywhere.
WHAT ARE THE COSTS?
The morbidity associated with preterm birth often extends to later life, resulting in enormous physical, psychological and economic costs. Estimates indicate that in 2005 the cost to the U.S. alone associated with preterm birth were more than US$ 26.2 billion.
An Incubator for All Situations
Over 160 rural U.S. hospitals closed in recent years due to high costs and many large city hospitals also face financial constraints.
48% of full term babies need a neonatal incubator at least once. Adding to that, the incidence of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) - associated with opioid overuse in pregnant mothers - has also increased by 433% in rural U.S. areas; increasing the need for baby incubators.
80% of preterm infants and over 50% of full term infants develop jaundice, which adds a significant cost to healthcare.
NICI is purpose-built for all situations and will provide a practical, affordable and multifunctional incubator to help as many newborns as possible, no matter how far.
keywords: Neonatal, infant, Preterm birth, Disposable incubator, Neonatal intensive care incubator, Breegi scientific
Across 185 countries, the rate of preterm birth ranges from 5% to 18% of babies born. A NICU would provide the greatest clinical benefit to reduce over 35% of children under five who die from neonatal causes.