StartUp Turns a $20K Incubator into a $300 Version for the Developing World

embrace warmer

Each year, more than 1 million babies die on their birth day.

About 20 million premature and low birth weight babies are born worldwide each year with 4 million dying within the first 4 weeks of life, according to the World Health Organization.  This amounts to 450 babies that die each hour and a substantial number of those that die are born in the developing world where there are not enough incubators which cost about $20,000.

Also, many babies are born in rural areas far from hospitals with adequate facilities to care for a premature newborn. A lot of the babies really just need warmth an incubator provides during those first crucial months.  Some babies are born with so little fat and many are unable to control their own body temperatures.

About 6 years ago, four Stanford University students were challenged in a class project to design a portable life-saving incubator that cost less than $300. The group, led by then female student, Jane Chen traveled to India, where the caregiver to patient ration is 1:2,000, to research and perfect their design.

And they did it, creating the Embrace Infant Warmer.

“Incubators are vital because the internal organs of premature babies are not fully developed at birth,” Chen wrote in a 2010 piece on Chen is now the co-founder and CEO of Embrace Innovations, a social enterprise that aims to help the 20 million premature and low birth weight babies born every year, through a low cost infant warmer.

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