Health, Science-Technology

Cameroon invents smart incubators for babies

Neonatal incubators are connected to smartphones

Aurore Bonny   | 21.12.2019
Cameroon invents smart incubators for babies

DOUALA, Cameroon

To prevent the shortage of incubators for premature babies, a Cameroonian created connected incubators with novel temperature management systems.

Starting from the observation that Cameroon has more than 100,000 premature births out of nearly one million births each year and that the lack of incubators is a factor of mortality, Serge Armel Njidjou developed such a solution.

According to him, these incubators are an innovation for several reasons. They are made up of a device that makes them sensitive to recurrent energy variations that very often damage incubators.

"To prevent numerous power cuts and therefore unstable electrical energy, these devices have a system of autonomy that allows them to operate even without electricity," explained the Cameroonian inventor.

Later he hopes to integrate a solar energy system.

He said those boxes are also the only ones in the world with the ability to manipulate temperatures to avoid plastic incubator burns. At the same time, temperature is captured at its best for the babies.

Another special feature of these incubators is the implementation of a digital system remotely monitored from a smartphone. This device makes it possible to remote doctors on status of incubators and to technicians to do preventive maintenance thanks to sensors that indicate breakdowns. All this data is archived and also helps the medical system to have important statistics for potential research.

These neonatal boxes also allow air circulation speed, the ambient temperature and the water level to be controlled.

This true multitasking machine also has a customized appearance according to the choice of the clients.

They have a technology that does not necessarily use distilled water as conventional incubators do. Instead, they use tap water that is safe for everyday use.

Njidjou's production workshop manufactures 30 incubators monthly for a selling price of about $3,400 each. They are thus less expensive than those imported and sold for higher prices at a range of $6,000-100,000.

According to the Cameroonian engineer, the shortage of incubators has been around for so long that people have finally got used to not using them anymore.

"It is unfortunately no longer a central concern. And our goal is to remind people of incubators essentiality and demonstrate that sustainable local solutions can be produced," he told Anadolu Agency.

He also plans to install as many incubators as possible wherever needed on the Cameroonian territory. The project is supported by the Health Ministry.

Njidjou's greatest pride today is to have accomplished a humanitarian mission through this innovation.

"I am happy to help babies who need it. This product has also received many local and international recognitions," he added.

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