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Revital unveils bCPAP – first-ever non-electric respiratory device to save babies

Revital Healthcare has achieved a remarkable feat by becoming the world’s first manufacturer of a respiratory device specifically designed to support neonates and infants with breathing difficulties, all without the need for electricity.

The revolutionary device, called the Vayu Bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (bCPAP) system, is manufactured by Revital Healthcare in Kenya. This groundbreaking system delivers blended oxygen to infants without relying on electricity. Not only is it more affordable than traditional CPAP systems available in the market, but it is also highly portable and features reusable components that can be sterilized, making it suitable for use in any hospital across Kenya and beyond.

The significance of this achievement extends beyond Kenya’s borders. In collaboration with the United Nations, Revital Healthcare has already shipped 120 units of the Vayu Bubble bCPAP system to Ukraine as a donation. This support will aid Ukraine in addressing the respiratory needs of neonates and infants in their country, especially during challenging times.

Revital Healthcare’s innovative and life-saving respiratory device showcases Kenya’s prowess in the medical manufacturing industry and positions the country on the global map as a leader in developing advanced healthcare solutions. The Vayu Bubble bCPAP system has the potential to positively impact the lives of countless infants worldwide, ensuring they receive the necessary respiratory support regardless of access to electricity or geographical location.

Newborn babies are the world’s most vulnerable population. Among these are premature babies who struggle to take their first breaths because of their underdeveloped lungs or acute respiratory illnesses,

Krupali Shah,
Technical Director & Lead for Vayu bCPAP project at Revital Healthcare

The situation regarding neonatal respiratory distress and the impact of Revital Healthcare’s Vayu Bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (bCPAP) system is indeed critical. Neonates requiring respiratory support, particularly in incubators where controlled oxygen levels may be lacking, face serious risks such as blindness, lung damage, brain damage, and even death. According to the World Health Organization, respiratory distress is a leading cause of child mortality globally, with approximately 1.1 million neonates dying each year due to complications from pre-term birth in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

In Kilifi, the county health executive reports over 1,000 cases of neonatal complications recorded annually in the functional delivery rooms, with 40 percent of these cases (around 400) resulting in death. Sadly, in Kenya, two out of ten children with breathing difficulties die due to a lack of adequate equipment to save their lives, as stated by maternal and child health ambassador Dorothy Nyong’o, the First Lady of Kisumu County. The use of CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is considered an evidence-based intervention for improving outcomes in children with pneumonia and respiratory distress. However, as of 2018, only 22 facilities in Kenya were utilizing CPAP due to the high costs of acquiring the equipment. In Kisumu, for example, only five CPAP machines are available, all located in the largest referral hospital, while other county and sub-county facilities lack this essential equipment.

To address these challenges and reduce child mortality in local Kenyan hospitals, Revital Healthcare has partnered with U.S. firm Vayu Global Health Innovations to manufacture the Vayu Bubble bCPAP devices locally. These devices are already in use at several hospitals, including Kenyatta National Hospital, Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital, Kilifi County Referral Hospital in Kenya, and Muhimbili National Hospital in Tanzania, along with over 15 other countries globally.

While CPAP systems already exist in the market, their reliance on electricity limits their use to specific hospitals and their high costs, with prices starting at $1,500 (approximately Ksh 175,000). In contrast, the Vayu CPAP system costs only $400 (approximately Ksh 46,000), is compact in size, and easy to operate and maintain. Dr. Nayirat Mohamed, a consultant neonatologist at Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital, emphasizes that neonatal mortality remains a significant public health issue worldwide, accounting for 60 percent of deaths in low- and middle-income countries.

The introduction of the Vayu Bubble bCPAP system by Revital Healthcare offers a transformative solution, providing affordable, portable, and electricity-free respiratory support for neonates and infants in need. This innovative approach has the potential to save countless lives in Kenya and other countries where access to advanced medical equipment is limited.

Revital donated one Vayu bCPAP to CGTRH at the beginning of this month and during this one month we were able to use this machine on three babies, the smallest of which weighed 900 grams. I would recommend that ambulances, especially in lower-level facilities, be equipped with these machines, especially when it comes to transporting pre-term babies.

Nayirat Mohamed,
Consultant neonatologist at the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital

Thomas Burke, the device innovator based in the United States, granted Revital Healthcare exclusive rights to manufacture the Vayu Bubble bCPAP system. Burke’s decision to partner with Revital Healthcare was motivated by the fact that only a little over 10 percent of neonates who require CPAP devices actually have access to them, mainly due to their high cost and lack of accessibility. Revital Healthcare’s strategic location in Africa played a significant role in their selection as the manufacturing partner.

Burke recognized the pressing need for affordable and accessible CPAP devices, particularly in resource-limited settings. By granting exclusive manufacturing rights to Revital Healthcare, he aimed to ensure that more neonates and infants could benefit from this life-saving technology. The partnership between Burke and Revital Healthcare has brought together their expertise and resources to address the critical issue of limited access to CPAP devices, ultimately saving more lives in Africa and beyond.

So, with this beautiful, small, portable, re-useable device we are able to overcome these great challenges related to oxygen access and respiratory support and, most importantly, provide hope to the families out there.

Krupali Shah,
Technical Director & Lead for Vayu bCPAP project at Revital Healthcare

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