WAUWATOSA, Wis.--16 December 2010-- GE Healthcare today announced a global partnership with Embrace to distribute a low-cost infant warmer that looks like a small sleeping bag and can help keep an infant warm for hours. This product will be distributed in India initially to improve rural infant care as an alternative to more expensive warmers.
“At GE we’re focused on the healthymagination tenets of reducing cost while improving quality and access through local solutions like this one,” said Mike Barber, Vice President, GE healthymagination. “This partnership with Embrace is an opportunity to further our commitment to maternal-infant care while increasing local access and reducing infant mortality. Along with our partners, we’re addressing the specific needs of the local healthcare environment and helping to solve critical problems.”
The Embrace Infant Warmer has three components: a sleeping bag, a sealed pouch of wax and a heater. The warmer swaddles the baby and a heated pouch of wax is placed in an adjacent compartment in the sleeping bag. The pouch can be heated via an electrical heater. The Embrace Infant Warmer costs less than $200.
“We are thrilled to have GE Healthcare as a partner in this endeavor to save and improve the lives of babies around the world,” said Jane Chen, CEO, Embrace. “GE Healthcare brings both expertise and global reach to this partnership, and shares our passion to change the world through technological innovations. Together, we can achieve Embrace's mission to give every child an equal chance for a healthy life.”
One of the major contributors to death and illness in infants is hypothermia, a reduction in core body temperature below 95° Fahrenheit. Nearly 20 million low birth weight (LBW) babies are born each year1, mostly in the developing world, and these babies are especially prone to hypothermia due to insufficient fat beneath the skin. The Embrace Infant Warmer is one potential solution to help keep babies warm and address the risks of hypothermia.
“GE Healthcare is committed to increasing access to new and more affordable forms of newborn thermoregulation in low resource settings in developing nations,” said Carrie Eglinton Manner, General Manager - Maternal-Infant Care, GE Healthcare. “We’re honored to partner with Embrace in the distribution of its Infant Warmer and have always been passionate about working toward a solution to reduce infant mortality rates.”
In alignment with the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), GE is focusing its efforts on MDG 4, “reducing by two-thirds the under-five mortality rate by 2015.” GE is concentrating its efforts on helping the nations that face the longest road to meeting this goal, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa.
“According to the World Health Organization, at least 50% of global births occur in underserved urban settings where access to affordable technology remains limited,” said Eglinton Manner. “This partnership with Embrace is another step closer towards meeting this goal and addressing the needs of this underserved population.”
Embrace is a social enterprise that aims to give every child an equal chance for a healthy life through an innovative, low cost infant warmer. This product will help the 20 million low birth weight and premature babies born every year around the world, primarily in developing countries. Unlike traditional incubators that cost up to $20,000, the Embrace Infant Warmer costs less than 1% of this price, and works without a constant supply of electricity. The product will be launched in India in March 2011, and will subsequently scale globally. Embrace was founded by a team of engineers and MBAs from Stanford and Harvard University.
Embrace has been featured in Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Boing Boing, London Times, Oprah’s O magazine, National Geographic, TED, and numerous other media. Please visit www.embraceglobal.org for more information.
About GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost. In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems.
Our healthymagination vision for the future invites the world to join us on our journey as we continuously develop innovations focused on reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality and efficiency around the world.
Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a $16 billion unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). Worldwide, GE Healthcare employs more than 46,000 people committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries.
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1 The United Nation’s Children’s Fund and World Health Organization, 2004