Project Lead(s): Habtamu Dobamo
Hyperbilirubinemia is common among newborns in Ethiopia. Left untreated, this condition leads to serious long-term neurodevelopmental issues and jaundice.
Treatment for hyperbilirubinemia involves phototherapy, however health facilities in Ethiopia currently lack the electricity infrastructure to consistently power phototherapy equipment. In fact, World Bank statistics state only 23% of Ethiopians have access to electricity.
Most health facilities have no phototherapy machines in their NICU due to high cost, repeated failure, and a lack of replacement and maintenance accessories in local markets.
Team Simbona developed a prototype for a solar powered, LED phototherapy machine to treat hyperbilirubinemia and jaundice in Ethiopian health facilities lacking reliable electricity.
The prototype was designed to work for more than 3 days at a time without lowering intensity and with the ability to lower bilirubin to normal levels. Simbona’s phototherapy unit has been developed to function with alternating currents as well.
Simbona developed the prototype to be low-cost and consume less power than traditional devices.
Simbona successfully developed and manufactured a functional electricity-free phototherapy machine in Ethiopia. The device was tested at Jimma University, where a review board approved the product’s ethical clearance.
More than 100 neonates received direct benefits from the prototype over the course of 3 months.
Health workers were successfully trained to use the prototype. Additionally, the product was found to achieve its goal of being more cost-effective than existing technology.
Team Simbona hopes to scale their product to remote facilities in Ethiopia.