New Delhi,: What use is a piece of knowledge which cannot be brought into practical application! Design maestros at World University of Design, in collaboration with Prof. Deepti Gupta at Dept of Textile & Fibre Engineering, IIT New Delhi and Dr. Ramesh Agarwal at Neonatology division of Department of Pediatrics, AIIMS have created a miraculous product to sustain lives of fragile newborns with low birth weight. The product called – Mamma Pod – an Assistive Garment for giving Kangaroo Mothercare – has been selected for the “Biotech Product and Process Development and Commercialization Awards 2020” by the Government of India.
Mamma Pod is an ergonomically designed innovative carrier to keep the neonate securely in contact with the mother’s skin, helping the baby to stay warm and supported. As the name suggests, Kangaroo Mother Care or KMC draws inspiration from kangaroos who keep their newborns safely in the pouch whilst carrying out their life activities from feeding to hopping and even sleeping. KMC helps a mother to keep her child in close contact with her and carry on with the multiple chores at hand without feeling the usual fatigue. The path-breaking design allows anyone and everyone to use the garment and is as good in the rural setting as much as it is in the urban setup.
So, how is KMC different from the slings and carriers available in the market for new mothers, if one may ask? The answer is that it caters to the most delicate of all stages in the life of a newborn, the neonatal phase when the baby needs the maximum support and essential care to substantiate itself. Dr. Sanjay Gupta (Vice Chancellor, World University of Design) elaborated on the concept by saying, “Unlike other carriers, Mamma Pod can be worn without assistance by the mother herself and is designed to not only keep the baby secure and cocooned between mother’s breasts but also to distribute baby’s weight across the shoulders enabling long hours of KMC. Using Mamma pod KMC can easily be given for the required 18-20 hours a day which is crucial for a rapid weight gain by the baby.”
Mamma pod finds maximum use in areas where ICU and incubation facilities are either not available or insufficiently available. Areas where facilities exist but face electricity shortage would also find extensive use of this assistive device. Dr. Deepti Gupta, the project leader, put the problem is perspective saying – “In a developing country like ours, neonatal deaths have been recorded to be as huge a number as 750,000 as per studies in 2017 and most of them are due to pre-term births and infections contracted while being in the medical facility. The lack of basic amenities for neonates in medical care due to low funding may not be tackled with as quickly but Mamma Pod offers a brisk, economical and effective solution for babies until they weigh 2kgs.”
In absence of care low birth weight babies find it difficult to survive. Applying KMC places the mother and the natural care she provides as the primary caretaker. In such circumstances, combination of Mamma Pod garment and KMC is seen as winners and as a great opportunity to minimize neonatal mortality by as much as 51% if channelized to mothers across India by primary health care centres.
Being design based champions, WUD emphasize on the fact that Design and the related fields are the future of any nation’s growth and productivity.