Rice 360° brings together an international group of faculty, students, clinicians, and private and public sector partners to design innovative health technologies for poor settings, to develop and implement entrepreneurial approaches that increase access to these technologies around the world, and to prepare students to lead tomorrow’s global health technology workforce.

Bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (bCPAP) Device

Acute respiratory infections are the leading cause of global child mortality: 20-38% of deaths in the first 48 hours of life are attributed to pneumonia.  Moreover, conditions associated with premature birth, often related to breathing problems, are responsible for an additional 30% of neonatal mortality.  In the developed world, these conditions can be treated using bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (bCPAP), but, at $6,000, these systems are too expensive for many developing world settings. 

In partnership with Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, and 3rd Stone Design, Rice 360° has developed a low-cost, high-performance bubble CPAP system to treat infants with respiratory distress syndrome in the developing world. With support from a Saving Lives at Birth seed grant in 2011, a clinical trial of the bCPAP device was implemented at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. The device was shown to significantly improve neonatal survival related to respiratory distress.

The system can be sold worldwide for less than $800 and provides the same therapeutic pressure as bubble CPAP system in use in hospitals in the United States. Certain GAVI countries may be eligible for special pricing. A teaching module, user manual, and repair manual are included with the system.  

With support from a Saving Lives at Birth transition grant, Rice 360°, its partners, and the Malawi Ministry of Health are now working to scale up implementation of the device in all central and district hospitals in Malawi. Additionally, an award from GSK and Save the Children is funding the roll out of this life-saving technology to Zambia, Tanzania, and South Africa.

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