Special contribution by Girls in Tech Paris member,
Elizabeth Ifaturoti .
Chat with James Roberts honoured for his incubation solution for preterm babies.
E.I: What served as inspiration and how did you go about research before finally arriving at a solution?
J.R: I was horrified at the staggering rate of neonatal death after watching a Syrian crisis documentary. Initial research involved sifting through existing research on the subject and a subsequent meeting with the documentary producer and visiting hospitals in Uganda. A hospital had 24 incubators of which 23 had malfunctioned. A makeshift incubator that still functioned had been abandoned for the reason that it resembled a coffin; I took this into account during the design of the mom incubator.
E.I: Who has access to a MOM incubator?
J.R: Access is strictly reserved to trained medical staff; professional knowledge is primordial in protecting a preterm baby’s life especially in rural areas. In non-conventional settings such as a home birth, the assisting midwife would be the person in charge of the device.
E.I: What role (if any) did governmental agencies play during the research phase of the project?
J.R: The MOM incubator has received approvals and certifications from top medical boards (FDA and its UK equivalent). The true challenge lies in tackling the regional politics and cultural disparities that are inevitable in diverse cultures such as those in Africa and India.