In Spring 2014, we raised over $20,000 through an Indiegogo Campaign to launch creation of Pelican pocket pulse oximeter, a durable, affordable tool for diagnosing babies with pneumonia.

We continue to raise funds and awareness of pneumonia, a condition that we in the U.S. hardly ever worry about, and the #1 cause of death in children under five. We conducted initial field research in Haiti in September 2014 and are planning another trip overseas. 

Pelican has the potential to help save hundreds of thousands of babies worldwide.

But we need your support to make this happen!

A 2013 UNICEF report revealed that pneumonia is the leading cause of child deaths worldwide. In 2012, over 1.1 million children, including 330,000 newborns, died of pneumonia. To put this in perspective, 132,000 children died from AIDS, and 462,000 children died from Malaria. Though 1 in 4 childhood pneumonia deaths are newborns, technology targeting newborns remains overlooked. 

The UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) end in 2015. There is no better time to address pneumonia, the leading cause of childhood mortality. Organizations are dedicating monumental resources to reach MDG childhood mortality reduction targets in time for 2015. Design that Matters believes we can make a major impact in meeting the MDGs by designing solutions that address pneumonia and newborns.

A pulse oximeter is the best way to identify newborns in need of oxygen. We are currently designing a spot check pulse oximeter to reach 1 million newborns. We have already interviewed more than 60 experts. Our experts have identified some of the typical misfits of technology in the developing world. The high price of western devices is only the tip of the iceberg. 

  • High-end, western medical devices are easily destroyed. 
  • Even the most highly-trained professionals struggle to apply finicky, complicated, pulse oximeter sensors to newborns.   
  • Quick spot checks make more sense in low-resource settings that don’t don’t have the human resources for continuous patient monitoring.
  • Oxygen is underused and overused. Pulse oximeters that can move from patient to patient can help tailor and reduce expensive oxygen therapy for many.   

Today, any adult in the U.S. can buy an easy-to-use pulse oximeter at the drugstore, but there are few options for tiny newborns in resource-poor settings. DtM sees an opportunity for a durable, affordable pulse oximeter device that can enable medical professionals with little training to perform accurate blood-oxygen spot checks (1 minute checks) on the foot to identify newborns with pneumonia who require referral for respiratory therapy, and to help adjust that therapy.