May you live long and be ever happy!
May you live long and be ever happy!
Meera just loves to be tossed in the air (of course, never leaving my hands). She is all giggles and never wants me to stop.
M&m: Meera was wearing this beautiful, brown silk dress.
A global partnership for children, including the WHO and UNICEF, report that annually, 4 million babies die within the first 30 days of birth. Why are 4 million babies dying? Concise 2 and 1/2 page article. The common causes are infection, birth asphyxia and premature (including low birth weight) births. Premature and low-weight babies are particularly susceptible to hypothermia and need to be kept warm.
In the well-off world, such babies are placed in expensive incubators (costing upwards of $10,000), while vital signs are monitored and stabilized. In much of the developing world such luxuries do not exist and babies continue to die off. Multinational medical device companies are quick to donate expensive equipment to far off locales. Consider that in places where infant mortality is very high, there is likely no electricity to power incubators and no trained personnel to operate them. Most of the equipment is completely useless and gathers dust.
This lack of understanding local constrainsts leads me to believe that most expensive equipment donations are made primarily for tax right-offs and a way to showcase social responsibility to shareholders. But thankfully, social entrepreneurs in small teams are continuing efforts to develop baby incubators for the developing world.
Here is a creative solution by EmbraceGlobal: A sleeping bag-like device with an add-on warming pouch. It does not require electricity, is portable and costs $25. At that price, they are near disposable and can go home with the baby. Most likely, parents don’t have anything nicer to put the baby to sleep in.
A Neonatologist I spoke to voiced concern that for critical babies, it is important to be able to see the chest of the baby rise and fall as it breathes. I think this can be addressed by a zipper (or velcro) on the sides of the bag. These will also make it easier to get the baby in and out of the bag, and provide ventilation.
I think $25 is still a steep price for essentially a wrap-around quilt. If folks can build a laptop for $100, then such a sleeping bag should not cost more than $1! Yes, One dollar!
Any of you have ideas for modifying the designs to address local needs? Can this be made of locally sourced materials? How about involving micro-finance based women’s groups to fabricate/assemble them locally? This could improve their livelihood as well. Perhaps this may trigger other solutions in the local populations.
Make it for $1! Any takers?
Update: Taking Meera around Mumbai is scary. Folks sporting makeshift masks is a constant reminder of the H1N1 dangers. Schools, colleges and many shops are closed. Swine flu has subdued Mumbai!
(Don’t miss Meera video at end!)
Every evening we take Meera around Colaba Causeway, Gateway of India or Marine Drive. She loves going out, but is surprisingly very quiet. She is observant and looks with laser focus at people, dogs, cats or horses, or cars and buses. Meera doesn’t just look at people, she studies them, as if memorizing their features. Many of our relatives get uncomfortable at this scrutiny, by one so little. Of course she never forgets the folks she loves.
Meera is also fearless and wants to run around, but amma (M) has an unyieldingly tight grip on her.
And Meera’s first Video! She just heard the hoof beats of a horse-drawn cart (taangaa) passing by. See how her body imitates the riders sway, even before she sees and points to the horse! She loves horses!
With Meera and M in Mumbai, I can only reminisce about Meera’s favorite anecdotes. Here she is exploring the Kumta train station enroute to Mumbai on the Konkan Railway. She thoroughly enjoyed the train ride. [Read more...]
Meera’s day starts with a tael malish (oil massage) by Suvarna maushi. We routinely use Dabur’s Lal Tael, for the massage, but have also made our own by infusing a red bark (ratanjyot ?) in coconut oil.
For about an hour, while Suvarna maushi cleans the rest of the house, Meera waddles around, impervious to her body slick with oil.
Bath is usually a long drawn out process with Meera sitting nicely on a traditional wooden paTh (a low wooden seat) while Suvarna maushi pours scorching water and takes turns soaping. Meera is understandably not in good spirits and bawls her head off. I disappear to an inner room.
M couldn’t stand it and has now taken over bathing Meera. Using merely hot water, Meera enjoys the experience. She plays with the soap and rubber duckies while M painstakingly cleans every toe and sq inch of her body.
Here, Meera bawling as she is bathed by Suvarna maushi.
Wishes you all,
Dress stitched by one of our aunts! The banner was made by one of Meera’s cousins.
Here, she’s checking; she can actually reach and play with the banner and, … no one is screaming for her to stop!
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