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Prize will expand use of life-saving neonatal device in Africa
Date:11/14/2013

HOUSTON -- (Nov. 14, 2013) -- A low-cost device that Rice University bioengineering students invented to help premature babies breathe more easily will be rolled out to teaching hospitals in three African nations, thanks to a $400,000 award from pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and London-based charity Save the Children. The technology, which is known as "bubble CPAP," earned the top prize in GSK and Save the Children's inaugural Healthcare Innovation Award program.

The prize was won by Friends of Sick Children in Malawi, the charitable arm of the pediatric department of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. The hospital, the University of Malawi College of Medicine and Rice University's Rice 360: Institute for Global Health Technologies are already partnering to distribute bubble CPAPs to 27 hospitals throughout Malawi. The funding from the Healthcare Innovation Award, along with backing from the Ministry of Health in Malawi, will allow Friends of Sick Children in Malawi and its partners to share the life-saving technology with teaching hospitals in Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa.

"This remarkable project shows what can be achieved through grassroots innovation, and we are delighted to be able to recognize the hard work of all involved," said GSK Country Manager Todd Mavende, who announced the award winners in London. "It is saving lives of Malawi's children today and can make a difference for millions of children around the world tomorrow."

The Rice-invented technology is a low-cost version of "continuous positive airway pressure," or CPAP, a standard feature of most neonatal units in the developed world. CPAP helps babies that are in respiratory distress by keeping their lungs inflated so they may breathe more easily. Respiratory distress claims the lives of about 1 million African newborns each year.

With a price around $6,000, conventional CPAP machines are too expensive for hospitals in the
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Contact: Jade Boyd
jadeboyd@rice.edu
713-348-6778
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

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Prize will expand use of life-saving neonatal device in Africa
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