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8 April 2024 - Story

Every Breath Counts - Airway Pressure Devices are Making Respiratory Treatment Accessible

Acute respiratory infection (ARI) is one of the major causes of death for children under 5 in rural areas of Bangladesh, with less than 50% seeking advice from healthcare providers or facilities. Health is a basic right not accessed by 4.5 billion people worldwide. In developing countries like Bangladesh, this access is commonly hindered by a lack of awareness and overburdened health systems. Solutions centered on innovation become the catalyst for ensuring that quality health services are available in the most remote areas, where challenges like electricity are unfortunately all too common. Our Saving Woman and Premature Babies (SWAP) project introduced the Vayu bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (bCPAP) device to treat newborns with respiratory distress in health facilities. Through non-invasive measures, the Vayu bCPAP system provides positive airway pressure to breathing neonates. The device can work without electricity, making it a cheaper alternative to traditional systems. Additionally, it is portable enough to be transported at low-resource settings. We initiated Vayu bCPAP in public and private hospitals across Bangladesh, including Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College, MR Khan Shishu Hospital, Mohammadpur Fertility Services and Training Centre (MFSTC), and Lakshmipur District Hospital. SWAP project facilities have treated 304 newborns with respiratory distress with the Vayu bCPAP (February 2024). Our success inspires us to scale up until all health facilities, especially those in remote areas, breathe renewed life into newborns.