March 2019 Member Newsletter


Above, photo by Ellery Lamm, Save the Children: Moriam, 15 months sits with her mom, Dali, and sister Bristi, 5, in their home in Barisal district. Moriam had and survived pneumonia.




With some new and exciting partnerships to report, collaboration is the theme for March 2019. This month’s newsletter features announcements of two new partnerships: the Pneumonia Innovations Network is partnering with the American Thoracic Society to raise pneumonia awareness, and EarlySense has announced a research partnership with Save the Children US to evaluate the EarlySense continuous physiological monitoring technology in neonates in Kenya. This month, we share a new blog by Olivia Koburongo, an inventor of the MamaOpe pneumonia diagnostic jacket, as well as some important information about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Digital Health Global Grand Challenge (to all digital health innovators, this is a funding opportunity you do not want to miss!). If you were unable to attend our Influenza and child pneumonia webinar event, be sure to catch the Respiratory syncytial virus and child pneumonia webinar later this month. Check out the Events section for details on the March 14 webinar and for information on upcoming conferences. Also see the Publications section for some recent papers on pneumonia-related topics. Send any announcements or updates that you would like to share to PIN coordinator, Mari Couasnon (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for a newsletter feature. This year is off to a great start, and we encourage each of you to work together, foster new collaborations, and explore innovative ways to continue to drive down the number of deaths by child pneumonia to zero.





  • Thank you to Drs. Janet Englund, Thushan de Silva, Kawsar Talaat, and Tim Uyeki for their insightful talks on our Influenza and child pneumonia webinar event.
  • MARK YOUR CALENDARS! Another new 2019 Pneumonia Innovations Network webinar series event is just around the corner: Respiratory syncytial virus and child pneumonia webinar event. March 14, 2019 at 10AM EDT. Listen to talks by Drs. Louis Bont, Keith Klugman, Marijke Proesmans, and Ting Shi. Emails with webinar access details will be sent out soon.
  • Looking to fund your work and innovations in digital health? See our Member and Partner updates section for more info on $5 Million in Grant Funding for Digital Health Solutions.





What do the people we are designing for have to say?

by Olivia Koburongo, inventor and co-founder of MamaOpe Medicals Limited

“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to sell it.” -Steve Jobs

This approach was one that my team and I used to develop MamaOpe, a wearable jacket that leverages machine learning and automatically interprets common signs of pneumonia such as respiratory rate and lung sounds to improve the accuracy of pneumonia diagnosis. In partnership with Resilient Africa Network and the School of Public Health at Makerere University, we conducted a need-finding survey in Uganda’s Iganga District among potential users of our technology and key informants of the MamaOpe diagnostic aid. The aim was to gather insights on the acceptability of the MamaOpe device as well as to understand issues related to the design and composition of the system. We wanted to bridge the gap between technology and consumer, and to deliver our technology economically to our target end users. To determine MamaOpe’s suitability for healthcare settings, the team evaluated different factors affecting the design and uptake of MamaOpe among health workers, nurses and clinical officers. Health worker and caregiver knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding pneumonia management in children aged 5 years and younger were also assessed.

                                  Photo 1.1: MamaOpe team in a focus group discussion with caregivers, village health team members, and opinion leaders.


This need-finding survey in the field provided tremendous insights to the MamaOpe team. We learned that, in addition to poor health-seeking behavior on the part of caregivers in the Iganga District, pneumonia diagnosis is still rudimentary and relies on health worker experience to identify signs and symptoms. Health workers treat and administer antibiotics to any child exhibiting these symptoms. We found that one branch of the Iganga District Health Center consistently saw more severe cases due to delayed presentation to the health facility - caregivers were diagnosing and medicating with painkillers and anti-malarials prior to seeking care. With this new information, we saw a need to develop a guideline for the proper use of the MamaOpe jacket. However, our insights did not come without challenges. Some senior health workers were against the idea of village health teams adopting the MamaOpe device and feared that it might be misused to make unnecessary prescriptions, thus sabotaging the referral process upwards. As for the design of MamaOpe, we adjusted the size of the jacket for easy dressing and comfortability. MamaOpe’s automation, multi-modal components, and easy-to-read interface were appealing features to the Iganga District health workers.


The need for better pneumonia diagnostic tools inspired the creation of the MamaOpe jacket, and starting with the user experience was critical.

Photo 1.2: Olivia demonstrates the MamaOpe application to a clinical officer at Nawandala Health Center III.

About the author: Olivia Koburongo is the inventor and co-founder of MamaOpe Medicals Limited. She is a research fellow with the Resilient Africa Network and Vilgro Kenya. She has a BSc (Hons) in Telecommunications Engineering and also holds a certificate in Good Clinical Practice (ICH-GCP).







APPLY NOW: $5 Million in Grant Funding for Digital Health Solutions

The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation harnesses advances in science and technology to save lives in developing countries. They work with partners to deliver proven tools and discover groundbreaking new solutions that support the development of integrated health solutions for family planning, nutrition, and maternal and child health.


Digital Health Global Grand Challenge: In the Emerging Technologies for New Solutions in Global Health call for proposals, the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation seeks ideas that apply to emerging technology - or a combination of emerging technologies - for new and potentially transformative solutions in global health priority areas. The foundation will give out $100,000 USD grants to 50 organizations that can provide new ways of improving outcomes in infectious diseases, disease surveillance, pregnancy and birth, child growth and development, and vaccines, drugs, and diagnostics.


Apply Now: Deadline is April 10, 2019. If you are selected for a $100,000 USD grant, you may have an opportunity to apply for follow-on grant funding up to $1 million USD.


Illustrative Digital Health Solutions: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is interested in different types of applications of emerging technologies to improve global health outcomes, including (but not limited to) artificial intelligencewearable sensorsaugmented realityvirtual reality, and geospatial mapping. 


The post Apply Now: $5 Million in Grant Funding for Digital Health Solutions appeared first on ICTworks.




The Pneumonia Innovations Network Partners with the American Thoracic Society

We are pleased to announce that the Pneumonia Innovations Network has partnered with The American Thoracic Society (ATS)! The ATS is a nonprofit organization focused on improving care for pulmonary diseases, critical illnesses and sleep-related breathing disorders. The PIN is a member of the ATS Public Advisory Roundtable (PAR), which represents a central component of the ATS and is the patient arm of the Society. To learn more about the ATS and to get info on the ATS 2019 conference, visit their website.




EarlySense Selected by Save the Children for an Evaluation of Neonatal Health Monitoring Technologies in Africa

Woburn, MA, February 05, 2019 ­– EarlySense, the market leader in contact-free continuous monitoring solutions across the care continuum, announced today that it has been selected for a pilot project with Save the Children, an international nonprofit that works in 120 countries. This work is supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Continuous monitoring sensors will be tested first at Aga Khan University - Nairobi teaching hospital and then Pumwani Maternity Hospital, to monitor key health vitals of neonates in Nairobi, Kenya.

This will be EarlySense’s first application of its contact-free continuous monitoring technology to monitor neonates. Currently, EarlySense sensors are used worldwide in hospitals, rehab and skilled nursing facilities. The sensors leverage advanced algorithms to notify nurses of potentially adverse changes in patient vital signs, sending alerts to physicians’ pagers and to the central display station. The FDA-cleared and CE-approved solution has been clinically proven to help healthcare providers to prevent adverse events, including code blues resulting from cardiac or respiratory arrest, preventable ICU transfers, patient falls, pressure ulcers, and hospital readmissions for adult population.

View the full press release here.




Newly released: WHO Operational Guide on Child Death Audits

The WHO recently released new guidelines, "Improving the quality of paediatric care: an operational guide for facility-based audit and review of paediatric mortality," to Child Health Task Force members. "This new publication is focused on improving pediatric quality of care by providing guidance for establishing and conducting pediatric death audits and reviews. It assists health providers to identify patterns of morbidity, mortality, modifiable factors, and interventions to improve quality of care and outcomes in health facilities. As quality of care is a cross-cutting theme across our Child Health Task Force subgroups, we hope these guidelines may be of use in your work. Investigating a child's death shows the bereaved family and the community that the life of each child is important, the death is being taken seriously, and health workers are committed to learning and improving their practice." Access the new guidelines here.








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Saturday, 18 January 2020