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October 12, 2015

What is this treatment that can be taught to parents? What is the cost? What expertise is needed?

Remarkably, a new study proves that with this treatment a child’s autism is over 30% improved; the treatment is a daily speciallized 15-minute massage.

Massage as effective treatment of autism

Recently published research in Oregon quantified and verified what Dr. Louisa M. T. Silva has seen in practice for years. Autism first presents itself with social delay and the first social interaction a child has is characterized by touch. Newborns bond with their mothers through everyday interactions including holding and nursing. Much study has been given to the area of maternal touch, but what happens when a child is autistic? Touch elicits different responses in children with autism than is seen in the general population. What is felt as a positive, pleasurable touch is not and what most children would feel as pain may not register that way. These differences are what Dr. Silva has been focusing on and developing methods to help the children achieve different responses to the same stimuli.

Autism is typically diagnosed in the preschool years and in that time these tactile abnormalities can be severe and universal. Dr. Silva’s study shows that these young children respond well to treatment with a daily massage protocol directed at tactile abnormalities (QST massage for autism). Qigong Sensory Treatment is a specific...

thermospot, hypothermia,
September 23, 2015

The Hospital for Sick Kids in Canada, in partnership with Aga Khan University, are using an effective human resource and a set of proven, simple interventions to save brains in Pakistan. The secret sauce? Equipping Lady Health Workers, a unique an powerful home visiting cadre in Pakistan, with a kit of newborn interventions.

The intervention takes place in Rahim Yar Khan district, 700 kilometers northeast of Karachi and will determine whether this set of innovations can reduce infant mortality in this region by 30-40 percent. The kit includes the Maternova mylar blanket, the ThermoSpot thermoindicator, a warming mattress, sunflower emollient and the very powerful but low cost chlorhexidine (for the umbilical stump).

We know from studies in South Asia that sunflower oil as an emollient can prevent infections that enter newborns through the skin. Studies have shown dramatic effects of chlorhexidine applied to the umbilical stump. We also know that hypothermia (being too cold) can affect the health and neurological development of a newborn. Maternova researched and source mylar hooded blankets for newborns and rebranded the ThermoSpot, a stick-on hypothermia indicator that lets non-literate, non-numerate mothers know when the baby is too cold. Special heating mattresses can then help the infant regain healthy core body temperature. Put these interventions all together and you have the newborn kit funded by Baby Hero.

The study will train almost...

August 19, 2015

Malaria is the most destructive parasitic illness, by many accounts, but the second most is much less well-known.

Schistosomiasis [shis-tuh-soh-mahy-uh-sis] infects over 250 million people.

It is a common in areas with stagnant water where the where the parasitic flat-worms can enter even unbroken skin and take up residence in a host. The flat worms then produce thousands of eggs per day that can overwhelm the host’s organs. The disease itself is effectively treated with praziquantel but reinfection can occur quickly. This is a disease desperate for a vaccine.

Schistosomiasis is of interest to Maternova because it is particularly harmful to pregnant women and young children as these populations have less developed or compromised immune systems. Repeated infection with schistosomiasis causes anemia and stunted growth. For girls, a specific strain we nickname SCHISTO-H is a threat to the reproductive organs. Furthermore, the scarring and wear and tear caused by SCHISTO-H can also leave girls and women more vulnerable to HIV.

How do you treat schisto? The drug, praziquantel, has been the sole recommended treatment to combat Schistosomiasis and has been around for over 30 years. A concern though, is that this common, effective (and cheap) treatment has not determined to be safe in pregnancy or dosed appropriately for very young children who seem to be much more susceptible to the disease. The...

MUAC | manutrition | pregnancy | low birth weight
August 02, 2015

Simple color coded devices for triage always come first on our list at Maternova. In humanitarian settings a quick, lightweight band to wrap around an arm and make a referral decision is a lifesaver.

MUAC tapes used to screen pregnant women

As mentioned in a prior blog post, MUAC tapes are used to assess the malnutrition status of pregnant women. The mid upper arm circumference has been shown to correlate well with Body Mass Index (BMI) and the MUAC does not change much over the course of a pregnancy. Overall the measure indicate protein reserves. Though there is not a firm consensus on the cutoff value, studies have used a range from 21 cm to 23.5 cm for pregnant women in a humanitarian setting.

MUAC tapes can predict low birth weight babies

Beyond their role in assessing the nutrition status of pregnant mothers, the MUAC tape can
also be used to assess women at risk of low birth weight babies.

A [study from this year indicates that there is no consensus on a cutoff but that a cutoff of 23 cm would be a way to identify more women at risk of delivering low birth weight babies (...

Pratt Pouch, nevirpaine, PMTCT, HIV, VIDHA, #globalhealth
July 14, 2015

Dosificación de medicina antirretroviral a recién nacidos dentro del Programa de Prevención de Transmisión Materno Infantil de VIH de Fundación VIHDA y Hospital Maternidad Sotomayor

Luego de estudios y comparaciones con otros métodos de administración de medicinas realizadas por Fundación VIHDA de Ecuador y Duke University de EEUU desde 2012 a 2015, el Pratt Pouch se muestra como una opción de gran exactitud y de mayor facilidad a la hora de dispensar los antirretrovirales líquidos a los niños recién nacidos en las dosis correctas y con una óptima conservación del contenido.

La prevención de la transmisión materno infantil del VIH implica la detección temprana del virus en la mujer embarazada. La toma de medicación antirretroviral (ARV) durante la gestación por parte de la futura madre, la administración de ARV intravenoso durante el nacimiento, y la toma de medicación ARV líquido al niño recién nacido por vía oral, son procedimientos que se cumplen a fin de reducir a menos del 2% la transmisión materno infantil del virus del VIH.

En Ecuador la medicina ARV oral para recién nacidos llega en presentación de frascos de 240 ml. Por lo que de 1 frasco se puede administrar medicación a 2 niños aproximadamente. Esto implica una dosificación personalizada a cada niño, donde se considera también el peso del recién nacido. Anteriormente, al dosificar la medicina se la entregaba a las madres en recipientes individuales esterilizados con la cantidad...

MUAC | malnutrition | pregnant women
July 08, 2015

How can severe malnutrition be determined locally?

Severe malnutrition can readily be determined without scales, with minimal training and with objective accuracy. The mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) has been endorsed and recommended as a reliable screening tool for acute malnutrition. It is an easy and objective measurement that can be followed over time. An important update to this MUAC approach is a recent study that proves even minimally trained persons can use the inexpensive color coded bands to measure a small child or infant’s arm circumference.

This home-based approach allows much easier screening for severe malnutrition in areas with little access to trained medical personnel. Since the results have been determined to be reliable, MUAC can be used by a mother to monitor the nutritional progress of her child, thereby she can play an even greater and proactive role in the complete care of her child.

This band with graduation in millimeters has an easy to read color code: green, yellow and red indicating the risk/severity of indicate the nutritional status of a child or adult. The color coded bands can be used by a minimally trained person to measure the diameter of the upper arm of a 6 – 60 month old. Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) is indicated by a red reading.

This study, published in the Archives of Public Health, demonstrated that there is no difference between measuring the dominant vs. non-dominant arm as was previous...

PMTCT | Pratt Pouch | ARV | malkin, foil pouch for ART, nevirapine
July 07, 2015

Pratt Pouches have been in the development for over three years. This foilized pouch is a medical device designed to improve the delivery of antiretroviral therapy to newborns.

Who developed these pouches?

Robert Malkin and the engineers at the Developing World Healthcare Technology Laboratory at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering saw a need and sought to find a medically effective, simple and cost effective solution to an ongoing dilemma in the fight against HIV. Ironically, the class originally set out to look at failure (why ARV dosing devices were failing) and they ended up creating a solution

What so difficult in giving ART to newborns?

It is well known that giving newborns antiretrovirals in the first 24 to 72 hours drastically decreases the transmission of HIV from the mother to baby but the means to do so in areas most in need is prohibitive on two fronts. In areas most in need, more than half of the mothers deliver at home with little access to a clinic or community health workers. The only way to ensure that the baby gets these lifesaving drugs is to give them to the mother to store before delivery (sometimes months before delivery) with easy to follow instructions and adequate shelf-life. Other delivery methods, including a pre-measured syringe in a sealed foil pack, have been tried in the past with unsatisfactory results.