Every day in Southeast Asia, almost 2,000 newborn babies will suffer from birth asphyxia, taking their first and final breath.
Neonatal resuscitation, done by properly trained health workers using bag valve mask (BVM) ventilation, is a simple intervention that could save their lives.
In low-resource settings like Cambodia, however, the lack of neonatal resuscitation practise and follow-up training means skills are not being maintained and lives are being lost.
In 2019, AHC biomedical engineer Peter Boyer led development of an innovative and sustainable solution to reduce neonatal mortality due to breathing-related deaths: the Baby Resuscitation Training system (BaRT).
BaRT is a digital solution that can help health workers learn how to administer correct ventilation technique, build muscle memory, and foster competency and confidence in neonatal resuscitation. The device measures, collects, and displays data on ventilation pressure and rate on a tablet or phone in real time, providing the user with immediate feedback and recommendations. By regularly practising with the BaRT system, health workers are able to maintain neonatal resuscitation skills that can save lives.
Currently, no such device is available that is affordable in a low-resource setting.
Over the next two years, AHC will pilot BaRT with rural health workers in Preah Vihear province, which has some of the highest rates of newborn deaths in Cambodia. If proven successful, the system could be replicated in low-resource settings around the world, helping millions of newborns take their first breath.