Bangalore based engineer Nitesh Kumar Jangir won the 2019 Commonwealth Secretary General’s Innovation for Sustainable Development Award in London. His low-cost neonatal device has saved the lives of many new-born babies in India, particularly across the small towns. Jangir created “Saans” a breathing device so that the lives of new-borns, who suffer from respiratory diseases at the time of birth, can be saved from probable death.

“In countries like India, with erratic electricity supply and limited resources at public hospitals, this neonatal breathing support equipment can be used without any complex training. So, anyone anywhere can use this device and provide crucial care and support to premature babies”

In many small towns, children die due to respiratory diseases as they do not have access to advanced medical equipment. 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. He received this award in the “People” category alongside 14 other innovators. Almost 53 countries are members of this award program.

“In countries like India, with erratic electricity supply and limited resources at public hospitals, this neonatal breathing support equipment can be used without any complex training. So, anyone anywhere can use this device and provide crucial care and support to premature babies. Our mission is to take care that babies do not lose their lives due to the lack of access to a piece of technology”, Jangir told Times of India.

Jangir received the award in a ceremony last week from Prince Harry, he is the Youth Ambassador of Commonwealth, and Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland. Jangir is a Bangalore based electronics engineer and is also the Co-founder of Coeo Labs. This is a medical device company that aims at providing machines in order to prevent avoidable deaths, in the field of emergency and crucial care.

“While this device is low cost, at least three times cheaper than any such machine, we had to ensure that it is of high quality. This award will go a long way in up scaling this device across the Commonwealth countries, for use in similar conditions in regions like Africa,” he added.

“While this device is low cost, at least three times cheaper than any such machine, we had to ensure that it is of high quality”

Jangir’s “Saans” is the first of its kind Neonatal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). This device can be powered in multiple ways. It can be powered through Direct Source Electricity, including a vehicle’s electrical supply, a rechargeable battery, compressed gas or even manual air pumping. In the Commonwealth Innovation Awards, he received a trophy, a certificate and 2000 pounds in prize money.

“By showcasing the contributions their innovations are making towards building a better world, these awards will help our hitherto unsung heroes win that crucial next round of support, mentoring and investment they need to scale up and fulfil their dreams. Equally, these awards are intended to inspire the incredibly youthful population of Commonwealth countries to dream big and believe that no problem is too big to solve through innovation”, he added.

About 0.75 million neonates die every year in India, the highest for any country in the world. The neonatal period which is the first 28 days of life, carries the highest risk of mortality per day than any other period during childhood.

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