The shampoo bottle to save babies from pneumonia

“It was my first night as an Intern and three of the children died before my eyes. I felt so helpless that I cried.”

In 1996, Dr. Mohammod Jobayer Chisti, worked in the Department of paediatrics of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital in Bangladesh. This evening, he made a promise that he would do something to stop children dying from pneumonia.

About 920,000 babies and small children every year die of the disease, especially in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

After two decades of research, Dr. Chisti has now come up with a low-cost device with the potential to save thousands of babies lives.Expensive Machines

Pneumonia affects the lungs after infection by bacteria such as Streptococcus (strep) or a virus, such as respiratory synctial virus (RSV). The lungs swell and fill with fluid or pus, reduced their ability to absorb oxygen.

In developed countries, hospitals fans use to help breathing in children with pneumonia.

But each machine can cost up to $15,000 (£11,000) and is operated by specially trained staff, you can make it too expensive for hospitals in developing countries such as Bangladesh.

The world health organisation’s recommended low-cost alternative treatment for severe pneumonia – low-flow-oxygen – yet the results in one in seven children die.

Dr. Christ has his inspiration from a machine that he saw, while Australia operates in Melbourne. This uses continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), in order to prevent the lungs from collapsing, and helps the body to absorb enough oxygen. But it is expensive.

If he gets back to work, at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, he started working on a simpler, lower-cost bubble CPAP.

He and a colleague took a discarded plastic shampoo bottle from the intensive care unit, filled it with water and one end of the plastic supply hose.

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“The children of a inhale of oxygen from a tank and to produce exhale through a tube inserted in a bottle of water bubbles in the water,” Dr. Chisti declared.

The pressure of the bubbles open keeps the small air sacs of the lungs.

“We tested it on four or five patients at random. We saw a significant improvement within a couple of hours.”A Successful Test Phase

“The doctors worked so hard, oxygen, a pipe for food, and then a white round bottle was bubbling with the water,” said Kohinoor Begum, whose daughter Runa was treated by the device.

“After the treatment, if my child recovers, I felt so happy.”

After a two-year study, Dr. Chisti, the results published in the journal Lancet. It children were to be treated with the bubble CPAP device had a much lower mortality rate compared with those with low-flow oxygen. At a price of only $1.25 (£1), which appeared in the device, cut the mortality rate by 75%.

The device also makes much more efficient use of oxygen, slashing the hospital’s annual oxygen bill of $ 30,000 (£23,000) for only $6,000 (£4,600).

Dr ARM Luthful Kabir, professor of Pediatrics, Ad-din Women’s Medical College, says a nationwide study is still needed, but the results are encouraging.

“I think that this innovation says a large potential to reduce mortality dramatically, because every hospital can afford this,” says Dr Kabir.

So far, about 600 children in the enjoyment of the low-cost life-saver.

Dr. Chisti was promoted and is now head of clinical research at his clinic, but the father-of-three still finds time to play with the children on the Station.

When asked how he feels to be the fulfillment of that promise that he made 20 years ago, he replies: “I have no language to Express this.”

He wants countries in every hospital in the development of the CPAP device.

“On this day, we can say that the pneumonia-related mortality to almost zero.”