Infant warmer bag: a device designed to maintain the baby's normal body temperature during hypothermic conditions.
Kamya, Abdul Aziz
Iratuje, Deus Alex
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Every year, over 20 million low birth weight and preterm babies are born in Uganda (Byaruhanga R, 2005) Of the 20 million births, 4 million babies die within their first 28 days of life majorly because of the inability of their bodies to automatically regulate the body temperature within the normal ranges of 36.5 – 37.4⁰C leading to hypothermia. Incubators and infant warmers were designed to solve this problem, but unfortunately, hospitals in developing countries can’t afford this equipment and if purchased or donated, they need a constant stable power supply which is still a great challenge in such settings. Therefore, a solution designed to maintain the body temperature of hypothermic babies is pivotal in increasing their chances of survival. To solve the problem of neonatal hypothermia, the Thoth Medicals team embarked on developing a low-cost infant warmer bag made from locally available materials. The Warmer has an isolated zipped pouch that includes a phase-change material (beeswax) that can be heated using hot water until it melts, following which it maintains the neonate’s body temperature within normal ranges for about 4 hours without electricity. Various tests to evaluate the functionality, usability, comfortability and portability of the design were performed where the functionality test was carried out to evaluate the duration of the infant warmer to keep the baby’s temperature within the normal ranges of 36.5 – 37.4⁰C. From the results, we observed that beeswax was capable of maintaining the baby’s normal temperature range for at least 2hours. The usability test was performed to determine the difficulty in using the equipment which had to be as minimum as possible. The comfortability test was performed to determine the complex interaction between the fabric, garment design, physiological and psychological variables of design, and the neonate. Other tests performed included the portability test where the weight and size of the device were investigated, by weighing the device three times using different weighing scales where the average weight obtained was 20N and dimensions of the length of 50 cm (top) 30 cm (bottom), 35cm width,and 20cm height. The results obtained from the testing process were weighed against the design criteria and the users’ requirements to determine the level of success of the design. Therefore, the team went through the redesigning process which included, reducing the dimensions, the aesthetic appearance, increasing the amount of wax used, the thickness of the heat absorbent, and changing of casing material from polyester to mackintosh material which is waterproof and disinfectable having registered successes in the usability and comfortability criterion. The team thereafter, developed the business canvas and intellectual property claims to ensure the sustainability and stability of the device to achieve its efficacy