Newborn Foundation

Eight babies die every minute due to lack of detection of serious health conditions, including the top killers for infants: pneumonia, sepsis and asymptomatic congenital heart defects. Annamarie’s global health initiative leverages mobile pulse oximetry technology to combat neonatal mortality. This targeted education-and-implementation project offers low-cost, effective screening for the most common, life-threatening conditions in newborns. The project aims to reduce preventable newborn deaths by 25–30% and improve health outcomes by 75% through earlier detection of serious health conditions.

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The BORN Project leverages a newly launched mobile phone-enabled pulse oximeter (iSp02) to help diagnose newborns with serious health conditions - including the top killers on babies, pneumonia, sepsis and asymptomatic congenital heart defects. Building on a successful implementation model, the BORN Project – Birth Oximetry Routine for Newborns – is screening more than 52,000 newborns and impacting hundreds of hospital clinicians and rural health workers in 50 delivery sites in rural Sichuan Province (SW China). The project aims to reduce newborn deaths by 25-30% and improve health outcomes by 75% through earlier detection of pneumonia, sepsis and asymptomatic congenital heart defects.
It is the first program developed to evaluate efficacy and implementation for a low-cost, medical grade, mobile-phone pulse oximeter to assess neonates for hypoxemia – low oxygen saturation in the blood. Measuring pulse oximetry evaluation in newborns yields important, actionable information for health workers BEFORE other visible signs of disease or illness take hold – at which point it is often too late for the most effective interventions, particularly for babies in remote and low-resource settings. Southwest China is a region that captures many important elements for a data-driven pilot project, diversity of socioeconomic status, remote and rural birth settings and challenging referral pathways for young patients. The project is being designed to apply to children outside the neonatal period, providing a training and implementation model also address pulse ox evaluation for under-5 pneumonia and respiratory illness. Nearly 1/3 of all newborn deaths (more than 1M/babies annually) can be attributed to infection in the neonatal period, primarily pneumonia and sepsis. An additional 10% of deaths in infancy are from congenital heart problems. The vast majority of babies stricken with these conditions have a uniform symptom: hypoxemia – or low levels of oxygen saturation in the blood. Early detection of hypoxemia may be one of the single most effective tools available in providing appropriate and timely interventions for these fragile newborns.