Two great panelists at the recent Better World by Design conference put on by Brown University and RISD deserve special mention because the represent exactly the kinds of social entrepreneurs Maternova loves to feature.
"The future is here, it is just not distributed equally"
A New CPAP by Design that Matters
I loved this little maxim by Tim Prestrero of Design that Matters. Tim discussed his firm's increasing involvement in the health care space. He is off to Vietnam to continue to innovate the CPAP , a key machine for addressing neonatal respiratory distress in facility settings. Given the huge burden of neonatal mortality, and the fact that innovation must move closer and closer to the communities where births (and deaths) occur, Design that Matters is working to bring the cost of CPAPs down even further and thus bring the technology out to the lowest level of facility possible. Tim's point was that there is no reason to refer neonates in respiratory distress up to higher level facilities--the 'needs are so basic and so enormous.' His vision is a CPAP machine that can be used at a very low level facility and reduce the need to refer very sick neonates, who risk losing their lives in transit. His points made me rethink one of my pet peeves-- people doing 'what has already been done'-- I would have said we already have a CPAP (Breath of Life, see the Innovation Index), but Tim would say that it can be redesigned and costs can be reduced. Tim sees the need for 'synthetic thinkers,' organizing disparate activies into meaningful systems. It makes so much sense.
Neonatal Rescue Cot by Impact Pediatrics
Jonathan Spector comes at design from the perspective of a clinician, one who has worked for MSF and others in the most extreme settings. He and a team called Impact Pediatrics are working on a Neonatal Rescue Cot which embodies Tim Prestrero's concept of 'meaningful systems.' The current scenario in many settings is for the birth attendant to lay an infant on the floor while attending to the mother. Jonathan's alternative is a basin or piece of molded plastic which has a well for the baby, a slot for an infant ambu-bag and a slot for a suction device. In addition, the final neonatal birth well will include stickers with memory devices to aid the health worker in providing the most appropriate levels of care-- this idea is truly a system-for-neonates. It bundles together a few key devices and adds a safe sterile 'place' for the newborn, as well as pictoral reminders stuck to the platform, reducing the risk of infection and the additional risk of forgetting!
We look forward to following both these efforts.
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