Neonatal Temperature Monitoring for Neonatal Wards in Sub-Saharan Africa

Organization: 
William Marsh Rice University
Organization Location: 
Houston, Texas, USA
Project Location: 
Malawi

Neonatal hypothermia is a pervasive global challenge; as many as 85% of infants born in hospitals in low-resource settings are too cold. Although temperature monitoring is critical for neonatal care, there is no broad consensus on the best method to use in these settings. This project will develop and evaluate neonatal temperature monitoring (NTM): a simple, affordable and rugged tool to continuously monitor and display neonatal temperature, providing a rapid way to alert clinical staff and mothers to periods of hypo- or hyperthermia. The project will improve treatment provided to infants needing thermal care by comparing accuracy, usability, and impact of three temperature monitoring techniques that hold promise to monitor temperature in Malawi. 

The objective of this proposal is to (1) evaluate the accuracy of NTM and other temperature monitoring methods; and (2) evaluate the influence of these methods on treatment, nurse response, guardian response, method of intervention, time to intervention, and efficacy of intervention in the nursery and KMC wards. This evaluation will improve care for the millions of babies born at risk for hypothermia each year. This proposal will make visible the hidden crisis of hypothermia by developing and evaluating a simple, affordable and rugged tool to continuously monitor and display neonatal temperature. This system and two other commercially available systems will be evaluated to assess the efficacy of each monitoring strategy to maintain normothermia in Malawi.