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ChARM Pneumonia Detection

The ChARM (children's automatic respiratory monitor) is a rugged, reliable way to measure pneumonia in children in low-resource settings. The lightweight, easy-to-read medical device measures the rate of respiration of the child (correlated with age) and can aid in differential diagnosis of children with fever. The device has the following properties:

  • Color-based readout for easy triage
  • Two versions (one for community health workers)
  • Rugged sustainable design good for 10,000 readings

THE PROBLEM

Pneumonia is a leading killer of children around the world, with approximately 800,000 children dying of the infectious disease each year (150,000 of them newborns). RSV is the most common pathogen, accounting for about 30 percent of all episodes while influenza is second most common. With proper diagnosis and medicine, pneumonia can be treated. Case management at the community level is key to bringing down pneumonia morbidity and mortality in low- and middle-income countries. Pneumonia can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms are variable and are often similar to those seen in colds or influenza - this, combined with the fact that the disease is a leading killer of children, makes offering a way for community health workers to accurately diagnose pneumonia essential. 

THE SOLUTION

The ChARM (children's automatic respiratory monitor) is specifically designed to allow community health workers to detect pneumonia in low resource areas. The lightweight measuring device sits on a child's or infant's chest, secured by a strap, and measures respiration rate (fast breathing) through an ingenious algorithm. The device lights up green when the (age-adjusted) breathing rate is below the WHO threshold and red when the breathing rate is above the threshold. Pictographs make the device easy to use for non-literate health workers. Philips has developed this affordable respiration monitor that automatically and accurately measures the breath rate of a child under the age of 5 in response to a call for innovation from UNICEF.  

The device is power independent and robust so 
it withstands and can operate in harsh conditions. Its clinical decision support functionality provides instant feedback, to support the care provider in determining a correct diagnosis, clearly indicating the risk of a fast-breathing rate of the child, based on the WHO IMCI guidelines.

There are two versions of the ChARM. One non-rechargeable battery is less expensive and meant for community health workers. The second version ChARM 2 has a rechargeable battery. The long-lasting battery makes both versions power-independent, suitable for areas without electricity. The device is dust-proof, water-splashing-proof and can be used in extreme temperatures. It is small and easily portable for use in community and clinical settings. The user interface is pictogram-based, designed to be intuitive and easy to use, suitable for providers with low literacy.

The ChARM device (CHW version) is a low cost, rugged and clinically tested, first-of-its-kind single diagnostic device for pneumonia. A study by Save the Children in Kenya found that the ChARM device was at least as accurate as a physician in counting infant/child respiratory rate. Put another way, the ChARM puts physician-level diagnosis closer to the community, meaning that children can be diagnosed more effectively. This is one way to avoid overprescription of antibiotics and misdiagnosis of pneumonia, a leading killer of children around the world. 

Battery

The ChARM (children's automatic respiratory monitor) is a rugged, reliable way to measure pneumonia in children in low-resource settings. The lightweight, easy-to-read medical device measures the rate of respiration of the child (correlated with age) and can aid in differential diagnosis of children with fever. The device has the following properties:

  • Color-based readout for easy triage
  • Two versions (one for community health workers)
  • Rugged sustainable design good for 10,000 readings

THE PROBLEM

Pneumonia is a leading killer of children around the world, with approximately 800,000 children dying of the infectious disease each year (150,000 of them newborns). RSV is the most common pathogen, accounting for about 30 percent of all episodes while influenza is second most common. With proper diagnosis and medicine, pneumonia can be treated. Case management at the community level is key to bringing down pneumonia morbidity and mortality in low- and middle-income countries. Pneumonia can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms are variable and are often similar to those seen in colds or influenza - this, combined with the fact that the disease is a leading killer of children, makes offering a way for community health workers to accurately diagnose pneumonia essential. 

THE SOLUTION

The ChARM (children's automatic respiratory monitor) is specifically designed to allow community health workers to detect pneumonia in low resource areas. The lightweight measuring device sits on a child's or infant's chest, secured by a strap, and measures respiration rate (fast breathing) through an ingenious algorithm. The device lights up green when the (age-adjusted) breathing rate is below the WHO threshold and red when the breathing rate is above the threshold. Pictographs make the device easy to use for non-literate health workers. Philips has developed this affordable respiration monitor that automatically and accurately measures the breath rate of a child under the age of 5 in response to a call for innovation from UNICEF.  

The device is power independent and robust so 
it withstands and can operate in harsh conditions. Its clinical decision support functionality provides instant feedback, to support the care provider in determining a correct diagnosis, clearly indicating the risk of a fast-breathing rate of the child, based on the WHO IMCI guidelines.

There are two versions of the ChARM. One non-rechargeable battery is less expensive and meant for community health workers. The second version ChARM 2 has a rechargeable battery. The long-lasting battery makes both versions power-independent, suitable for areas without electricity. The device is dust-proof, water-splashing-proof and can be used in extreme temperatures. It is small and easily portable for use in community and clinical settings. The user interface is pictogram-based, designed to be intuitive and easy to use, suitable for providers with low literacy.

The ChARM device (CHW version) is a low cost, rugged and clinically tested, first-of-its-kind single diagnostic device for pneumonia. A study by Save the Children in Kenya found that the ChARM device was at least as accurate as a physician in counting infant/child respiratory rate. Put another way, the ChARM puts physician-level diagnosis closer to the community, meaning that children can be diagnosed more effectively. This is one way to avoid overprescription of antibiotics and misdiagnosis of pneumonia, a leading killer of children around the world. 

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