Image Source- Times Of India
Nitesh Kumar Jangir, a Bangalore based engineer grew up dreaming of becoming a doctor. But when he couldn’t crack into the medical school of his choice, he decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in electronics engineering. He innovated ‘SAANS’ a Neonatal Breathing Device at a low-cost to save infants suffering from Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS).
How he started his Humanitarian Cause?
After a two-year stint as an engineer at Electro Systems Associates, he was accepted as an intern in the Stanford-India Bio-design program, collaboration among Stanford, the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. There, he developed a device called Thorashield, which can help physicians remove extra fluid that builds up in lung walls due to diseases such as tuberculosis. Licensed to medical supply company Mecmaan Healthcare, in New Delhi, the device was introduced to market in March.
This decision altered his life and potentially those of the many others in India. Late last year, Nitesh co-founded Coeo Labs, in Bangalore with the motto of preventing death in the field of emergency and critical care. His low-cost and affordable neonatal device has saved innumerable lives of new-born babies, suffering from respiratory distress syndrome. ‘Saans’ is world’s first neonatal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device. This neonatal breathing support equipment can be used without any complex training; hence anyone can use this device anywhere and provide crucial care and support to premature babies. This device is low cost, at least three times cheaper than any such machine; ensures that it is of high quality.
In many small towns, the death rate of infants is increasing tremendously mostly due to respiratory diseases. Jangir’s device helps tackle these avoidable deaths, most of which occur due to Respiratory Distress Syndrome, which needs a piece of complex medical equipment. With erratic electricity supply and limited resources at government hospitals, this neonatal breathing can be powered in multiple ways; through direct source electricity, including rechargeable battery, vehicle’s electricity supply, and compressed gas. ‘Saans’ has been in circulation for the past 3 months across several public hospitals of India that lack neonatal ICU Facilities and also its development is done in medical colleges for 4 years. This innovation will go a long way in up scaling this device across the Commonwealth countries, for use in similar conditions. The significance of this device is highly needed in countries such as India, Africa where there is inconsistent electricity supply and very limited resources at public hospitals. This innovative equipment comes as a boon as it can be used without specific training. Once a nurse in a rural clinic inserts breathing tubes into babies’ nose, a family member could pump the breathing device until the infant reaches a hospital.
Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Innovation for Sustainable Development Awards
The objective of Commonwealth Secretary-General’s innovation is to celebrate and support impactful innovations and solutions that help the Commonwealth countries achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) along with the advancement values in Commonwealth Charter. The selection process was based on impact or potential of innovations to advance one or more 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and some of the other winners were from countries in Caribbean, Africa, Australia and Canada. He received the award in a ceremony from Prince Harry; he is the Youth Ambassador of Commonwealth, and Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland.
Device Innovation – The Success Story
The Neonatal Breathing Device Engineer has patents pending in India as well as through the International Patent System on these and three other devices. The company nabbed this year’s Tata Social Enterprise Challenge, a competition to find Indian start-ups likely to have the greatest social impact. Nilesh won several awards, including the All IEEE-R10 Young Engineers’ Humanitarian Challenge in 2011, which recognizes people under the age of 35 who are developing a technology that addresses humanitarian need. He was named one of India’s top 50 innovators jointly by the Indian government’s Department of Science and Technology and Lockheed Martin, the aerospace company. He also received the award in the “People” category alongside 14 other innovators. Almost 53 countries are members of this award program.
Portable Suction Machine –Jangir’s other notable Innovation
The other device is a portable suction machine connected to a thin endotracheal tube inserted through the nose or mouth into the air passage of a patient on a ventilator. Patients cannot properly clear their mouths and nasal passage secretions, which can get contaminated with germs and travel to the lungs. The device senses and removes the secretions before they reach the lungs. An external machine-learning interface controls the suction. Computer simulations and the numerous tests on medical airway training mannequins show that the technique works well. Coeo plans to begin clinical trials next year. The technology was selected as a regional winner in the health challenge category by the worldwide incubator and investment fund 1776. Jangir aims to do more for the community and it’s people.