IIT Madras team develops training tools for health workers

The two tools use technology to reduce neonatal, maternal mortality rates

Updated - April 20, 2022 06:10 pm IST

Published - April 20, 2022 06:09 pm IST - CHENNAI

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras are working with the National Health Mission of Tamil Nadu to improve the health of newborns and new mothers.

On Tuesday, NHM TN’s mission director Darez Ahamed released two training projects Smart Neonatal Resuscitation Protocol (SmartNRP) and SmartFHR. Both projects would later be scaled to areas where the neonatal mortality and maternal mortality are high.

NRP is the global standard in first aid technique for newborns that do not breathe or cry. Under FRP, the foetal health is monitored using smartphones anywhere, anytime and without clinical assistants.

The tool uses VR, gaming technologies, cloud and AI/ML to train health workers at primary health centres in the State.

Neonatal mortality, when death occurs within 28 days of birth, is the biggest contributor to NMR. In the State, around 40 babies per every 1,000 births die within a month of birth. “We want to bring it down to single digit,” Dr. Ahamed said and added that the tools would be provided to healthcare workers at delivery points. He urged the institute to develop tools to train healthcare workers in areas such as treating accident victims.

Institute director V. Kamakoti said one of the key learnings from COVID-19 pandemic was that technology should be made accessible to rural India. The institute’s students and research scholars had “lots of very interesting ideas,” that through a process, were converted into products to benefit society, he said.

M. Manivannan of Biomedical Engineering Group in the Department of Applied Mechanics, who is heading the Experiential Technology Innovation Centre (XTIC), said earlier their start-up Merkel Haptics launched an “in-vitro fertilisation training simulator” in the global market.

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