By Beryl Okendo and Jeremiah Ongili and Beryl Alaka.
It was an honor for Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) to host one of the most celebrated scientific innovators in the world, Dr. Thomas Burke.
Dt Burke was accompanied by a team from the manufacturers of most of the regularly used medical equipment in Kenya, Revital Healthcare (EPZ).
The team was led into JOOTRH by Dr. Greggory Ganda, Chief County Health Officer together with other County Health Officers, they visited the maternity and newborn unit.
The team’s main aim was to introduce to the facility life-saving equipment known as the Vayu bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure(Vayu bCPAP) innovated by Dr. Burke and manufactured by Revital Healthcare (EPZ). The equipment is to be used to save the lives of preterm babies and babies under 5 months of age (below 10kgs) suffering from Acute Respiratory distress.
In a conference consisting of JOOTRH clinical officers and pediatricians, Dr. Thomas Burke explained to our health workers what the equipment is and how it works. He expounded on the vitality of its qualities in ensuring safe oxygen delivery to pre-term babies and those below 5 months of age.
“CPAP is a non-invasive form of respiratory support which does not require complex technical expertise. Furthermore, less complex CPAP devices such as the Vayu bubble CPAP are preferable due to their ease of maintenance and affordability. The equipment does not require any electricity to work.” He said
“The Vayu bCPAP oxygen delivery system is further enhanced by an easy-to-use adjustable blender that regulates the amount of oxygen that a patient in this case a newborn baby/baby below 5 months requires.” Dr. Burke explained.
The device is equipped with a system that has regulated pressure, regulated oxygen flow, and humidification that is right for the baby. It is also reusable for a period of at least 3years if used according to the manual provided by the manufacturer.
Dr. Burke also demonstrated to the health professionals the procedures involved in setting up the Vayu bCPAP.
Causes of death among infants can be categorized by Stillbirth, Neonate, and Infant and Child, and provide separate views for all causes of death, and infectious etiologies
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of CPAP for the treatment of preterm infants with respiratory distress. Respiratory support to manage acute respiratory distress in neonates can therefore be provided by Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) or mechanical ventilation.
Yearly, it is estimated that about 2.9 neonates die worldwide. These deaths are often caused by prematurity, intrapartum-related conditions, and infections. Acute Respiratory Distress is also among the leading causes of neonatal deaths worldwide and our region is mostly affected by this.
In Kisumu alone, it is estimated that out of all the 85% of deliveries done in hospitals a whole 38% end up being maternal deaths. This is a worrying trend that is mostly caused by a lack of proper and adequate equipment to cater to preterm babies. The affordability of the device also enables it to be procured by most health facilities to reduce the number of deaths of pre-terms that occurs during a referral to distant facilities.
It is therefore a vital initiative by the County Government of Kisumu to ensure that all mothers who deliver in hospitals come out with live healthy babies. This concurs with the core mandate of JOOTRH which is to provide accessible, responsive, quality healthcare services through innovation, training, and research.
The innovation by Dr. Thomas Burke which has so far been implemented in about 19 countries worldwide including Vietnam and the Philippines has therefore been highly embraced by the JOOTRH management and is already in use in the maternity and newborn unit aiming at welcoming live and healthy newborns into the world.
Present at the conference was Monica Ogutu, Deputy chair of the Board of JOOTRH who expressed her gratitude to Dr. Burke and his team for ensuring Kisumu specifically JOOTRH is among the first beneficiaries of the Vayu bCPAP after Mombasa County.
She also expressed a worry about the availability of only one device in the facility currently. This, she said denies other babies the right to life as their lives can be lost while only one baby can use the device at a time.
She reiterated that there is a need to ensure that all preterm newborns and under 5s benefit from this life-saving innovation. She, therefore, stressed that there is a need to form a public-private partnership with private hospitals to ensure that all pre-term babies are given an equal chance to live.
The Deputy CEO Dr. Dedan Ongonga also assured us that measures will be put in place to ensure that the new affordable and quality Vayu bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure(Vayu bCPAP ) is procured and is reliably serving our patients at JOOTRH.