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How a Simple Design Can Change Neonatal Care in Developing Countries How a Simple Design Can Change Neonatal Care in Developing Countries

How a Simple Design Can Change Neonatal Care in Developing Countries

by Devika Patel

March 10, 2014

My birthday is May 7. It was supposed to be June 30.

My mom remembers rushing to the hospital, scared out of her mind. She knew nothing. As an immigrant from India, and quite young, my mother didn’t know what to do in such a situation. I was born early, weighing less than five pounds. Luckily, the power of the modern day incubator saved my life, and I was out of the hospital quickly and soundly.

Many women, unlike my mother, are not as lucky. Not as lucky to have doctors and nurses who can teach you about premature birth, to have amazing care available to you, to have incubators at our disposal. Premature and low weight babies need warmth to survive problems like neonatal hypothermia. A mechanism to access this warmth is not available readily in developing countries. 

I'm a sophomore at Stanford studying product design engineering and building amazing products, and together with my friend Jonathan and our friends at Indiegogo, we decided to have a crowdfundathon with Embrace Life, through the Stanford Design Initiative. The Embrace baby warmer is replacing unsafe alternatives like light-bulbs and hot water bottles in these regions.

My team and I are running this campaign is to raise awareness and funds for neonatal education. Embrace is on a mission to create a community of empowered and educated healthcare workers working shoulder to shoulder with mothers to save babies in developing countries.

Education is key. By creating easily accessible information, and teaching the mothers how to take care of their premature children, we can save lives and build stronger families and communities. This is only the beginning, however. In countries like my maiden India, child mortality is a pressing and devastating problem. It is with campaigns with Embrace, and my own work in sanitation in India, that education and engineering have made impacts on communities.

This project is part of Push for Good, our guide to crowdsourcing creative progress.

design women changemakers social design empowerment global health crowdfunding international women's day push-for-good impact design change health
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