The Portable Neonatal Warmer A winning Innovation

Outbox in partnership with UNICEF Uganda rolled out the UNICEF Uganda Innovation Fund Challenge. The Innovation Fund Challenge aims at providing innovative solutions to national social policy challenges, with a view to transform the local ecosystem by leveraging on the disruptive power of technology as a driver for inclusive and sustainable growth.

A call was made for young people to propose solutions to three challenge areas which included improving access to basic education and adolescent development for girls and boys aged 3 – 19 to achieve appropriate learning outcomes.

And also Enhancing and improving child survival and development among newborns, children and adolescent boys and girls, and Ensuring that children in Uganda are free from all forms of violence abuse, neglect and exploitation – including harmful practices – and realize their right to legal identity.

The Portable Neonatal Warmer won as a solution to the challenge of enhancing and improving child survival and development among newborns, children and adolescent boys and girls.

From a cohort of 30 teams the Uganda Industrial Research Institute team of youthful scientists emerged among the 14 best teams that made it to the coveted pitching round on March 2, 2022 winning 77 million Ugandan shillings that will be used in scaling up the innovation.

The Portable Neonatal Warmer is an innovation that will protect newborn preterm babies from risky heat loss that leads to a condition called hypothermia. UIRI aims at meeting the need of traditional birth attendants keeping pre-matures alive and transporting them safely alongside their mothers to health centers and the demand of ensuring health centers in rural areas with power shortages have a safe process of having premature babies maintain body heat using the Portable Neonatal Warmer as an electricity free alternative to the incubators.

In 2021 the Portable Neonatal Warmer won under the Innovation Fund Award from the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation under the Pathogens Economy. This is proof that the Portable Neonatal Warmer is an important and timely innovation which if scaled up will contribute to the efforts of reducing the risk of neonatal deaths.