Embrace developed a low-cost and energy-efficient infant warmer, which addresses the key challenge of preventing hypothermia for infants with low birth weight in developing countries. The design looks like a miniature sleeping bag and incorporates phase change material, which maintains a constant, clinically ideal temperature for up to 6 hours. Unlike traditional incubators, it allows physical contact between mother and child, promoting the development of a strong maternal bond. It is an intuitive device that can be reused, sterilized and repaired locally.
The design of the device incorporates a wax-like phase change material (PCM) which, when heated for 25 minutes using an electric heater, ensures that the infant remains in a clinically approved temperature for up to 6 hours. The device was engineered to minimize the heat loss from the PCM to its surroundings. The electric heater requires intermittent access to an AC power source; however, it can also run off a generator or any alternate AC power source. A new version of the infant warmer, which is heated by boiling water and would therefore be suitable for more remote and resource-poor areas, is currently under pilot testing.
Approximately 15 million babies are born prematurely every year, not completing the 37 weeks of gestation, with numbers rising (WHO). According to a study conducted by the US organization March of Dimes, over one million of these premature babies die each year before completing their first month. Over 85% of all premature births take place in developing countries. 75% of these children could be saved if the simplest methods were employed, such as for example keeping the infants warm the first few days after their birth.
The infant warmer is a very useful and much needed device, as even the big hospitals in developing countries are often not adequatly equipped with efficient working incubators. The device is made of a durable, hypoallergenic, bio-compatible, medical grade material that can be repaired easily in rural, resource poor areas. The infant warmer is designed to complement Kangaroo Mother Care (practice of providing warmth with skin-to-skin contact), because it enables physical contact between mother and child. Notably, it allows mothers to breastfeed and gives them the flexibility and freedom to work, to tend to family needs, and to perform other critical daily tasks.
Material: Wax-like phase change material (PCM)
Energy Demand: Electric heater requires access to an AC power source for 25 minutes
Lifecycle: Can be repaired locally, sterilized and reused (estimated) 50 times
Costs: 150 USD
Listen to Nissima's Story and get to know the wonderful Embrace Nest.
Asia: Afghanistan, India, China
Africa: Somalia, South Sudan,Uganda, Zambia
North America: Mexico, Guatemala,
Organization: Embrace - USA
Contact: Alejandra Villalobos
Used by: Afghanistan, China, Guatemala, India, Mexico, Mozambique, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, Zambia