Little Sparrows Technologies Bili-Hut
A battery operated tool to treat jaundice in newborns
The Bili-Hut™ serves as a portable and battery-operable phototherapy device to treat neonatal jaundice. It is constructed from commercially available materials and low-energy consuming LED lights with a radial light display and reflective surface for amplified light delivery and increased skin exposure.
According to the 2016 WHO Compendium, the Bili-Hut is targeted for distribution in the African, Eastern Mediterranean, and South East Asia regions.
Not applicable. The device has not yet been commercialized and is still in the prototype/testing stage.
According to the 2016 WHO Compendium, the list price of the Bili-Hut is 1500 USD per unit. However, the designer states that the device has not yet been commercialized and final cost has not been established.
Goal 3: to improve and promote good health.
Neonatal jaundice is caused by the accumulation of bilirubin, a breakdown product of hemoglobin in red blood cells. Approximately two-thirds of all newborns have some jaundice, giving a characteristic yellow color to the skin and eyes. Although many babies recover without any intervention, one in twelve newborns have severe jaundice requiring phototherapy treatment. If a baby with severe jaundice does not receive phototherapy in a timely manner, bilirubin may accumulate in the brain, causing permanent brain damage or even death. Severe jaundice is responsible for up to 30% of newborn deaths in many underdeveloped areas, and surviving infants are often left with permanent disabilities such as cerebral palsy, blindness, and hearing loss.
According to the 2016 WHO Compendium, the intended user should be trained, such as trained caregivers, midwives, technicians, nurses, and general or specialized physicians.
According to the 2016 WHO Compendium, the device has simple, fabric construction and is manufactured mainly by sewing, enabling construction near point of use in many developing regions. The LED light array and electrical components are assembled from off-the-shelf components.A
While there appears to be a provisional patent titled “Portable phototherapy device” under the name of the inventor, the WHO Compendium states that US and international patents are still pending.
As the product is not yet commercially available, this is likely still subject to change. However, it is meant to work completely off the grid, with the fabrication simple such that local textile mills or other factories can make them for clinics nearby to acquire.
However, according to the 2016 WHO Compendium, local delivery and assembly of light array component parts that comply with quality standards may pose challenges.
None have been commercially distributed, but prototypes have been tested in pilot studies in a rural clinic, with more field testing on its way at other sites.
The Bili-Hut™ can operate for an extended time on a 12V battery. It can be transported in a standard shipping tube. Its tent-like configuration is not only intuitive to set up and use, it also keeps the light fixed at the appropriate height from the baby so that effective treatment is guaranteed with each use.
According to the 2016 WHO Compendium, the product specifications are as follows:
Dimensions: 558 mm Length x 355 mm Width x 292 mm Height Weight: 3 kg Additional Tools Needed: Infant eye shield, thermometer Other Features: Reusable, lightweight, compressible Power Requirement: 17 Watts Voltage Requirement: 110V, 220V Type of Energy Used: Rechargeable batteries or Continuous power supply Battery Life at Full Charge: 10 hours
According to the 2016 WHO Compendium, the training required will be to set up the device and follow operation instructions as provided. As the product is still not commercialized, the structure for technical support has not been finalized yet – ideas include providing help in person or with a written user manual. However, the designers claim that the device is very intuitive and requires minimal training time.
All the parts are off-the-shelf and can be replaceable.
According to the 2016 WHO Compendium, the estimated lifetime of the technology is 2-5 years, with an estimated shelf life of 5-10 years.
Little Sparrows Technologies states that the ideal phototherapy device needs to be lightweight and collapsible so it can be easily transported. The main manufacturing process should be something simple, like sewing.
None formally available. A blog post by a physician at Kibuye Hope Hospital in Birundi exists that expresses her thoughts on the Bili-Hut that was donated to her hospital.
According to the WHO Compendium, 50 infants have been treated since then, with results for the first 35 patients presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in May 2016 (poster attached).
Expert advisors suggest that the closed access of this product might lead to a wide variety of usage issues. The product might need risk mitigation measures to ensure safety of the neonate.
Scientists at Stanford University (refer for Academic Research for full study) expressed concerns that the tent design may hinder close supervision of infants, which is crucial during the first week of life, and suggested safety testing for the possibility of causing overheating and infection.
Brezinski, D., Pfister, A., Gilbert, G. Successful Treatment of Neonatal Jaundice in Rural Burundi With a Novel, Portable Phototherapy Device. Eastern SPR Annual Meeting, 2016.
A neonatologist at Stanford University who studies jaundice noted that careful study must be required to ensure that the light dose meets professional standards.
The device awaits clearance from the Federal Drug Administration for use in the United States, but the designer says that the Bili-Hut provides the intensity and quality of light recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and used by other blankets and lamps approved by the FDA.
Unknown, though according to the 2016 WHO Compendium, field testing in 4 or more clinical sites in Africa are planned for the upcoming 2016-2017 year.
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