This years Commonwealth Innovation Awards has been awarded to Nitesh Kumar Jangir, an Indian engineer, who created a breathing device which prevents the deaths of newborn babies.
The 2019 Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Innovation for Sustainable Development Award celebrates the most outstanding innovators and innovations from any of the 53 Commonwealth countries.
It's a wonderful feeling when a doctor writes to you and tells you that your device saved the life of a neonate. Thank you, everyone, who is supporting our cause. @BIRAC_2012 @gatesfoundation @CCAMP_Bangalore @ficci_india @OlsonKristian1 @CAMTechMGH @AbhaySinghKr @MADevImpac pic.twitter.com/aXjJcytZIu
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This year the prize was awareded to Nitesh Kumar Jangir. Jangir is the creator of ‘Saans’, a breathing support device which was designed to stop avoidable deaths of premature babies from respiratory distress syndrome in hopstials that might not have access to more complex medical equipment.
Jangir has been developing Saans over the last four years.
Jangir received the award in the People category alongside 14 other innovators from across the Commonwealth. It was presented to him at an award at a ceremony in London last week by Prince Harry and Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland.
How does Saans help save pre-term babies?
While the device normally works using electricity it can take a range of power sources including a vehicle’s electrical supply, a rechargeable battery or compressed gas. However, it can also be operated using a failsafe manual mode without needing any other power source. This is critical in countries with erratic electricity supply and limited resources at public hospitals.
Jangir believes his invention is the first neonatal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device that can be powered in these different ways and it currently costs about a third of the price of existing CPAP devices.
The device was created so that it could also be used without any major training meaning that anyone, anywhere can use it and deliver crucial support to premature babies.
Saans has been trialied over the past three months across district hospitals of India that lack more complex neonatal ICU facilities. Jangir has promised to use the award to upscale the device across the Commonwealth countries.