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24 Feb

BEMPU: Commercializing life-saving health technologies

According to WHO statistics, about half the number of mothers and newborns in developing countries do not receive skilled care during and immediately after childbirth. Nearly 41% child deaths under-five, are among newborn infants, i.e. Babies in their first 28 days of life or the neonatal period

Statistics have it that there are 8 million low-birth weight babies born in India every year, and these babies suffer from issues like hypothermia and infection which cause poor growth and often death. 

Hypothermia basically refers to when the body’s core temperature falls below 36.5ºC (97.7ºF). The word ‘hypo’ means ‘below’, and the word ‘thermia’ means ‘heat’. Newborns are unable to regulate their body temperature, and low temperatures can lead to life-debilitating illnesses.

For this purpose, regular monitoring of the infants body temperature is the most reasonable way to ascertain and prevent these issues; however, in areas where there are very few skilled nurses and even more uneducated parents, constant monitoring may seem impractical at such low-resource settings.

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In order to deal with the issue of regular monitoring of the infants body temperature, Ratul Narain, the founder of BEMPU, a social enterprise developed an affordable medical device called ‘BEMPU’ for newborns in India. Ratul is a graduate from Stanford University and an Echoing Green Fellow. He is an American, and currently resides in Bangalore, India. His mission is to radically improve maternal and child health outcomes in developing countries by developing and commercializing life-saving health technologies. 

The BEMPU Hypothermia Monitoring Device (BEMPU Bracelet) is the first such technology in the BEMPU portfolio; an easy to use device, usually fastened around the wrist of the infant. BEMPU is a novel bracelet for hypothermia which empowers a mother to better manage her newborn’s health, and prevent such death and illness.

In the event of neonatal hypothermia through an intuitive audio-visual alarm, the device alerts the carer or the mother, to take action well before any life-threatening issues occur.

The device is easy to use, affordable, robust and accurate, and is now commercially available around India. It is made from 100% medical grade silicon rubber, BEMPU is radiation-free, and is designed to ISO certified standards.

This unique innovation has been saving lives of infants in India, by summer of 2016, the BEMPU Bracelet has protected over 1000+ babies in approximately 150 centers across India.

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