Lifesaving Equipment

Newborns Vietnam’s objective is the advancement of newborn care and equipment is an important element. Three quarters of world’s births and most of the newborn deaths happen where there is little access to equipment that can make the difference between life and death. Appropriate technology is sometimes called ‘poor solutions for poor people’ – but the opposite is needed, essential lifesaving equipment should not just be for rich countries. Technology does not have all the answers but it can make a huge difference, however it must be suitable and affordable for the local context.

In Vietnam at provincial hospitals and commune health centres a range of equipment is required to support basic lifesaving interventions, and for the Da Nang NICU both simple more complex equipment for specialist care is needed. With more trained nurses and appropriate equipment to support the delivery of enhanced care, many more newborns could live.

Our target for 2013 is to raise sufficient funds to purchase 20 Neopuffs and 20 Oxygen Blenders for the Da Nang NICU. Read about why we need Neopuffs Click here

A donation of £640 will buy a Neopuff.

A donation of £2,000 will buy an Oxygen Blender.

Equipment for simple and complex conditions
A high number of neonates (newborns less than 28 days) die every year in Vietnam. Many hospitals do not have enough basic and specialist equipment. A wide range of equipment is needed to nurse newborns, some of these are described below.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
CPAP is a standard technology in developed world countries; it provides relief from respiratory distress and pneumonia, all problems common in premature and low birth-weight infants whose lungs are insufficiently developed. Pressurised air is delivered through prongs in the baby’s nose allowing continuous lung inflation.

CPAP has been instrumental in saving newborn lives around the world, and it remains one of the most important tools in the low-cost intervention lifesaving kit. CPAP machines are made in Vietnam using simple local technology.

For neonates with more complex respiratory problems and who struggle to breathe independently a mechanical ventilator is required. The ventilator gives small puffs of air to support the continued growth of the baby’s underdeveloped lungs. This is one of the most critical pieces of equipment in a neonatal unit.

A closed incubator provides the optimal growing environment for premature and critically ill babies, balancing the right amount of heat and humidity, and in some cases oxygen. The incubator’s goal is to mimic, as much as possible, the environmental conditions that the baby enjoyed in the mother’s womb.

Neonates and critically ill babies are unable to regulate their temperature and are highly susceptible to changes in external temperature and infection, a closed incubator allows babies to develop or be given lifesaving treatment in a controlled, safe environment.

Infusion Pump
The infusion pump handles any medications, nutrients and other fluids that a neonate needs.

Monitors help doctors and nurses keep track of how the baby is doing. The monitor displays the baby’s heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure and also the oxygen level in the blood.

Infant Warmers
A warmer provides radiant heat from above to keep the baby warm and allow easy access for nursing and mother care. The decision to use a warmer or an incubator would usually be made by the medical staff depending on the severity of the baby’s condition.

Pulse Oximeter
This is a machine that monitors the amount of oxygen in the blood. A tape cuff is wrapped around the baby’s toe, foot, hand or finger. This machine allows nurses to monitor the amount of oxygen in the baby’s blood without having to obtain blood for laboratory testing.

Phototherapy is a treatment for newborn jaundice. Newborns are constantly making new red blood cells, and breaking down old ones. One of the waste products of old blood cells is a yellow substance called bilirubin. The newborn liver has a limited ability to process unconjugated bilirubin thus, infants are prone to an accumulation of unconjugated bilirubin, and can develop jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia). Approximately 10% of all newborns (including both term and neonates) require such intervention. Phototherapy blue lights are placed over the infant warmer or incubator and help breakdown the extra bilirubin.

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