New Delhi, March 3, 2021: Design maestros at World University of Design (WUD), in collaboration with Prof. Deepti Gupta at the Department of Textile & Fibre Engineering, IIT-Delhi, and Dr Ramesh Agarwal at Neonatology Division of the Department of Pediatrics, AIIMS, have created a miraculous product to sustain lives of fragile newborns with low birth weight. The product called Mamma Pod is an assistive garment for giving Kangaroo Mother Care. It has been selected for the “Biotech Product and Process Development and Commercialization Awards 2020” by the Government.
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 is a method of care for preterm infants. The method involves infants being carried, usually by the mother, with skin-to-skin contact. KMC helps a mother 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 a newborn’s life, the neonatal phase, when the baby needs the maximum support and essential care to substantiate itself. Explaining the product design, Dr Sanjay Gupta, Vice-Chancellor, World University of Design, says, “Unlike other carriers, Mamma Pod can be worn without assistance by the mother herself. It 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.” A Mamma Pod can be used for the required 18-20 hours a day, which is crucial for a baby’s rapid weight gain.
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 in perspective. She says, “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 easy to tackle. But Mamma Pod offers a quick, economical and effective solution for babies until they weigh 2 kg.”
In the absence of 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, the 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.