NAIROBI: A new innovation by a Dutch-based health and wellbeing company is poised to prevent some 935 000 childhood deaths caused by pneumonia in low-resource countries yearly. The Children’s Automated Respiration Monitor, developed by Royal Philips, aims to improve the diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia.
It has the potential to assist community health workers in establishing a more accurate measurement of a sick child’s breathing rate to help improve the diagnosis of the medical condition. The Philips Children’s Automated Respiration Monitor is expected to become commercially available from the second quarter of 2016.
Officials said the Philips Children’s Automated Respiration Monitor will be “a game changer” in diagnosing and treating pneumonia. “If we can remove the subjectivity associated with health workers counting breaths, we can improve the quality of treatment and help improve patient outcomes,” said Salim Sadruddin, Senior Child Health Advisor at NGO, Save the Children.
JJ van Dongen, CEO Philips Africa, said as a leading health technology company, Philips’ vision was to improve people’s lives through meaningful innovation. “Today, the population growth is highest in emerging markets like Africa and South East Asia, and innovation can help drive sustainable solutions that bridge the divide between the privileged and lesser privileged sections of society to improve the quality of life at all levels,” said van Dongen.
One important aspect in diagnosing pneumonia is monitoring a child’s breathing rate. In many emerging markets, community health workers manually count through visual inspection, how many breaths a child takes in the span of one minute. But achieving an accurate count can be difficult, as shallow breaths are hard to detect, children often move around and there may be distractions and other checks to perform.
The Philips Children’s Automated Respiration Monitor converts chest movements detected by accelerometers into an accurate breathing count, using specially developed algorithms. The monitor not only provides quantitative feedback, but also qualitative feedback to the healthcare provider based on the World Health Organization’s IMCI(5) (Integrated Management of Childhood Illness) guidelines to diagnose fast breathing rates, which is one of the key vital signs to diagnosing pneumonia.
Each year, pneumonia kills more children than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined, and remains the leading infectious cause of death among children under-five, killing nearly 2 500 children a day. The Phillips Children’s Automated Respiration Monitor has been launched to coincide with World Pneumonia Day, celebrated on November 12.
SOURCE: CAJ NEWS AGENCY