Breathing Device That Saves Newborn Babies Wins Award In India

The device could save thousands of babies lives.

Nitesh Kumar Jangir, an engineer living in India, has been recognized for his invention Saans, the first ever neonatal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device.

Kumar won the 2019 Commonwealth Secretary-Generals Innovation for Sustainable Development Award for the invention, which will help support newborn children who have respiratory failure immediately after birth. The device is especially innovative because it can be powered by handpump, rechargeable battery, compressed gas or even a car's electrical supply, making it accessible for those living in rural or poorer areas.

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"Our mission is to try and ensure that babies don't lose their lives due to the lack of access to a piece of technology," Jangir said from London. "In countries like India, with erratic electricity supply and limited resources at public hospitals, this neonatal breathing support equipment can be used without any complex training. So, anyone, anywhere can use this device and deliver crucial support to premature babies."

Jangir is based in Bangalore and co-founded Coeo labs, according to India Today. His company works on medical devices that help stop preventable deaths around the world. So far, Saans has been used for a few months around hospitals in India that don't have the kind of neonatal intensive care spaces some hospitals do in other places. The Saans device is a low-cost option for a neonatal breathing assistant, but Jangir was recognized for its high quality. 

"This award will go a long way in upscaling this device across the Commonwealth countries, for use in similar conditions in regions like Africa," Jangir said.

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