In recent news, East Meets West Foundation (EMW) delivered 40 Firefly devices to 22 hospitals across Myanmar! This is extremely exciting as the country was only recently opened up for international aid agencies in 2011, ending the isolation that has prevented outside intervention, most recently leading the UN to note the unprecedented lack of international access available after Cyclone Nargis killed over 130,000 people in 2008.
In East Meets West partner hospitals in Myanmar, health care staff are giving 1000 exchange blood transfusions a year. EBT is the jaundice treatment of last resort, requiring total replacement of a newborn’s blood supply. If the rates at EMW partners hospitals are similar at other hospitals in Myanmar, this would mean 5000 EBTs a year countrywide. Luciano Moccia, International Coordinator of Breath of Life for EMW commented, “severe jaundice is by far the biggest problem in Myanmar.”
This is an astronomical number when compared to the number of such procedures done in first world settings. Dr. Steven Ringer, Chief of Newborn Medicine at Brigham and Women’s, mentioned he had seen only one blood exchange transfusion for newborn jaundice performed in the U.S. during his 30+ year career. We hope Firefly’s introduction into Myanmar eliminates the severe jaundice that plagues the country.
- Will Harris, IDSA
Design that Matters would like to express our sincere thanks to our Firefly project partners the East Meets West Foundation and Vietnamese manufacturer Medical Technology Transfer and Services. Their partnership made Firefly possible.
Additional thanks to Firefly’s lead donors: The Lemelson Foundation, The van Otterloo Family, Bohemian Foundation, an anonymous donor, ANT Italy - Friends of Trento Neonatology, The Autonomous Province of Trento, Italy, and Martin and Debbie Hale.