Assam to use portable device ‘SAANS’ to stop neonatal deaths

Guwahati, Sept 22: After the success of a pilot project to reduce neonatal mortality using special equipment “SAANS”, the Assam government has decided to use the air pressure machine developed by a Bangalore-based start-up company in its hospitals, officials said on Thursday.

“SAANS” is a portable CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) system for newborns that can provide life-saving respiratory support to infants in the hospital and while traveling.

A senior official at start-up InnAccel Technologies claimed the machine was piloted on some babies at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital and showed “excellent results”.

“After that, to date, more than 50 SAANS devices have been deployed at medical colleges in Assam, and further deployments at district hospitals are ongoing,” he told PTI.

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For the development of the machine, InnAccel Technologies, which was founded at the Center for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), has partnered with the SAMRIDH Healthcare Blended Finance Facility to strengthen respiratory support for newborns and children in Assam.

SAMRIDH is a multi-stakeholder innovation and funding platform supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by IPE Global.

“Through this partnership, InnAccel Technologies will have access to affordable financing and technical support to expand production and sales of SAANS,” said the maker of the indigenous life-saving device to reduce neonatal mortality from respiratory distress syndrome (RDS).

The partnership between InnAccel, C-CAMP and SAMRIDH, with support from the National Health Mission, Assam and the Assam government, will help deploy 307 SAANS units in the state, the company official said.

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The distribution of these quantities of machines is expected to meet almost all of the state’s current needs to supplement respiratory support technology, an official said.

Commenting on the development, Siraj Dhanani, Co-Founder and CEO of InnAccel Technologies said: “SAANS is a revolutionary product that has already saved nearly 10,000 babies in India and Ethiopia on the point of care.

“We are confident that SAANS will universalize respiratory support for all infants in Assam and provide the breath of life that so many of our babies desperately need to survive.”

MS Lakshmipriya, Mission Director of NHM Assam, said this partnership will help reduce the current neonatal mortality rate and address the necessary infrastructural support in the state.

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“The use of this technology can prevent such deaths in remote, inaccessible counties of the state where child mortality statistics are particularly grim,” she added.

IBS is the cause of over 1.5 lakh annual neonatal deaths in India, with a third of deaths occurring during transport to hospitals with CPAP capabilities.

Assam has 40 deaths per 1,000 live births, recording the third highest infant mortality rate in India.

“The condition can be treated with CPAP. However, existing CPAP solutions are not portable and require the use of NICU infrastructure, making them unusable during transport,” said InnAccel Technologies.

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