HemoGlobe: Revitalizing Maternal Anemia Prevention and Treatment Globally

Organization: 
Jhpiego Corporation
Organization Location: 
Baltimore, MD USA

Anemia is a persistent global health problem affecting millions of mothers and newborns and contributing to 100,000 maternal and 600,000 newborn deaths annually. Despite massive global investments in nutritional and supplementation programs, continued high prevalence of maternal anemia has unfortunately relegated its status to routine. Jhpiego and the Johns Hopkins University Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design are developing an innovative method to facilitate the dual goal of community-based screening and national-level anemia surveillance. The proposed tool, HemoGlobe, is a small, very low cost device that transforms rural health workers' cellphones into noninvasive, prick-free hemoglobinometers. Hemoglobin levels are pictorially displayed on the cellphone screen for easy, actionable interpretation. Concurrently, the information is transmitted to a central server via automatic SMS, which contributes data to a real-time geographical map of anemia prevalence and severity that can be used for higher-level public health policy decisions. This tool will enable (1) community-based, noninvasive screening of maternal anemia to detect those at highest risk and to encourage severely anemic patients to seek therapy beyond oral iron supplementation; (2) better targeting of public health resources such as prevention campaigns, blood transfusion facilities, and parenteral iron programs to areas with a high prevalence of severe maternal anemia; and (3) health system accountability, especially for helping individuals who are least likely to be reached. We are seeking seed funding for technology refinement and pilot-testing of the concept at the community level in Kenya.

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