Say hello to Project Pelican, DtM’s new program to design a pulse oximeter to diagnose newborns with pneumonia. Keeping with the animal themed project names from our most successful projects, Kinkajou and Firefly, the name Pelican was chosen due to the way a pulse oximeter hugs a newborn’s foot reminding us of a Pelican beak.
A 2013 Unicef report revealed 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. A pulse oximeter is the best way to identify newborns in need of oxygen, and diagnose pneumonia. We are currently designing a spot check pulse oximeter to solve this overlooked problem, and reach 1 million newborns.