Guwahati: Following the success of a pilot project to reduce neonatal mortality with special equipment ‘SAANS‘, the Assam government has decided to use the air pressure machine developed by a Bangalore-based start-up across its hospitals, officials said on Thursday. ‘SAANS’ is a portable neonatal Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) system that can provide lifesaving breathing support to infants in hospital settings as well as during travel.
A senior official of the start-up InnAccel Technologies claimed that the machine was used with some babies at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital as a pilot project and demonstrated “excellent results”.
“Following this, more than 50 SAANS devices have been deployed across medical colleges in Assam to date with more deployments underway to district hospitals,” he told PTI.
For the development of the machine, InnAccel Technologies, incubated at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), joined hands with the SAMRIDH Healthcare Blended Finance Facility to strengthen respiratory support for newborns and pediatric populations in Assam.
SAMRIDH is a multi-stakeholder innovation and financing platform supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by IPE Global.
“Through this partnership, InnAccel Technologies will receive access to affordable finance and technical assistance to expand the production and distribution of SAANS,” said the maker of the indigenous life-saving device to reduce neonatal mortality due to Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS).
The partnership between InnAccel, C-CAMP and SAMRIDH with support from the National Health Mission, Assam and the Government of Assam will help deploy 307 units of SAANS in the state, the company official said.
The distribution of these quantities of machines is expected to meet almost all the state’s current demand to supplement respiratory support technology, an official said.
Commenting on the development, InnAccel Technologies Co-Founder and CEO Siraj Dhanani said: “SAANS is a revolutionary product that has already saved almost 10,000 babies in India and Ethiopia. These are babies that would have otherwise been lost due to a lack of breathing support at the point of care.
“We are confident that SAANS will universalise breathing support for all infants in Assam, providing the breath of life that so many of our babies desperately need to survive.”
NHM Assam Mission Director M S Lakshmipriya said that this partnership will help curtail the current rate of neonatal deaths and address the required infrastructural support in the state.
“The deployment of this technology can prevent such deaths in remote, inaccessible districts of the state where statistics for infant mortality are particularly grim,” she added.
RDS is the cause of over 1.5 lakh deaths among newborns annually in India with one-third of deaths occurring during transport to hospitals with CPAP capabilities.
In Assam, there are 40 deaths per 1,000 live births, registering the third-highest infant mortality rate in India.
“The condition can be treated with CPAP. However, existing CPAP solutions are not portable and require the use of neonatal intensive care unit-grade infrastructure, which makes them unusable during transport,” InnAccel Technologies said.