Testing and development of the Infant Respiratory Rate Sensor (IRRS) device to improve the identification of sick neonates in developing countries

Organization Location: 
Millwood, VA, USA

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that when skilled health workers are not available, trained community health workers (CHW) who are linked to the health care system can conduct home visits to screen for and refer neonates with danger signs. Most of the signs that WHO recommends that CHWs look for can be assessed by simple observation or by asking the mother. The exceptions are fast breathing, which requires counting and the use of a timer or watch, and high/low temperature, which requires the use of a thermometer. These signs are essential for identification of pneumonia, ARI, dyspnoea and possibly sepsis. The Infant Respiratory Rate Sensor (IRRS), a simple, sustainable technology, helps CHWs to quickly and accurately identify rapid respirations and potential abnormal temperatures in neonates and support timely management. Using a tri-axial accelerometer with a built-in algorithm, the IRRS accurately measures a child's respiration rate and records his/her skin temperature. Well suited to the remote and low-resource environments that CHWs often work in, the IRSS is small and durable, and operates on a hand cranked battery. The device can be operated either by an illiterate, innumerate CHW or by more skilled health personnel. It can transmit data in a wireless mode to a cell phone or computer, supporting both improved data collection and improved supervision of field workers in remote locations. The proposed project will test and refine the IRRS in field conditions to determine if widespread use is feasible and of value.

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