During the 2017 DevelopmentXChange on July 27, Saving Lives at Birth awarded $7.3 million to accelerate innovations that prevent neonatal and maternal mortality in low-resource settings. Competing against 550 applicants, three teams that have passed through the CAMTech platform in various capacities accepted awards from Saving Lives at Birth. Sisu Global Health received a Validation Award, and both Bempu Health and the Augmented Infant Resuscitator (AIR) received Transition-to-Scale Awards. The Saving Lives at Birth partnership is a global call for groundbreaking, scalable solutions to improve neonatal and maternal health, and the Validation and Transition-to-Scale Awards bring each of these affordable medical technologies one step closer to commercialization.
“Building a device, clinically validating it, launching it on the market and driving sales and adoption can be difficult and can take a long time before you really start to see your impact,” said Ratul Narain, Founder of Bempu Health in Bangalore, India. “However, going through this rigorous review process and being selected gives us validation that we’re on track and that the work we are doing is wanted by the global health community.”
Saving Lives at Birth recognized Narain’s team for their work innovating the Bempu Hypothermia Monitoring Device, a bracelet that detects hypothermia early and alerts the mother with an intuitive audio-visual alarm to perform Kangaroo Care. With support from UNICEF and the Indian government, the Transition-to-Scale Award helps Bempu Health scale with Indian state governments, Indian private hospitals and international governments and agencies.
“The CAMTech India Bootcamps helped orient me and my team on the process and challenges for reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health innovation,” Narain said.
With three years of support from CAMTech, Bempu Health connected with several neonatologists who advised Narain on clinical and fundraising challenges. Lattice Innovations, CAMTech’s on the ground partner in India, also connected Bempu Health with the National Health Systems Resource Centre to collaborate with the Indian government.
Among four other nominees, Saving Lives at Birth presented the AIR device a Transition-to-Scale Award. This $2 million grant is to fund further development of the AIR device and a trial in Ghana, Uganda and India. Dr. Data Santorino, Dr. Kristian Olson, Dr. Kevin Cedrone and Craig Mielcarz of the AIR Team accepted the award on behalf of Mbarara University of Science and Technology, CAMTech’s partner in Uganda. Results from the recently concluded randomized control trial demonstrate the time needed to achieve effective ventilation reduces in half when using the AIR device, and the duration of effective ventilation increases by more than 50%. Seconds matter at birth, and the AIR device empowers birth attendants to save time during service delivery.
Among seven other nominees, Sisu Global Health accepted a Validation Award from Saving Lives at Birth for the Hemafuse, a handheld, mechanical device for intraoperative autotransfusion of blood collected from an internal hemorrhage. The Hemafuse is meant to augment or replace donor blood in emergency situations.
In partnership with GE Healthcare Solutions, CAMTech awarded Sisu Global Health $25,000 as grand prize winners of the First Mile Innovation Challenge. The First Mile Innovation Challenge recognized the Hemafuse as an affordable and innovative technology that directly addresses safe surgery in challenging environments. As grand prize winners, GE Healthcare Solutions invited Sisu to present at the World Health Assembly and CAMTech invited Sisu to work at the CAMTech Uganda Co-Creation Lab at Mbarara University.
With long-term strategies focused on ideation, innovation, co-creation and acceleration, each of these affordable medical technologies moves closer to commercialization and patient impact for populations in low-resource settings.
“Commercialization and driving adoption has been a bigger challenge for us than actual device development and commercialization,” Nairain said. “Effectively, the cost and effort to find, convince and convert a customer is high, especially for a new product concept like ours where there is no predecessor or competitor.”
CAMTech congratulates Sisu, Bempu and the AIR Team for their awards and is excited about continuing these partnerships to improve neonatal and maternal health in low-resource settings.