Toward reducing infant mortality via smart and low-cost pulse oximetry

Sepsis kills over six million children in the developing world every year, many of those die at home and thus it is believed that a distributed, community‐based intervention would be most effective in reducing mortality. I am part of a multidisciplinary research group that wants to put an end to this carnage by developing an easy‐to‐use and robust mobile health platform for early screening and diagnosis in low-resource settings. Pulse oximetry allows the measurement of blood oxygen saturation (sometimes called the fifth vital sign). We have developed a low‐cost pulse oximeter by connecting a simple probe to a mobile phone through the universally available audio jack. However technology needs to be developed specifically tailored for spot check monitoring of neonates and infants, and in particular to develop reliable methods of detecting and rejecting artifacts created by movements. This will provide a reliable tool for community health workers to screen those infants in need of urgent care. It is hoped that such early and timely intervention will significantly reduce neonate/infant mortality.

Project leader(s):
  • Guy Dumont (University of British Columbia)

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