A Solar Powered Crib


By: Kalkidan Legesse, Journalist

Jaundice, a liver condition caused by buildup of bilirubin that results in yellowing of the skin, most impacted by this medical condition are premature newborn babies. If not treated effectively this medical condition can cause brain damage or even death. Information from the Worlds Health Organization’s  Global Health Observatory shows that in 2017, new born deaths made up 47% of all deaths among children under the age of five. As well as in 2016, one million children died because of complications during premature child birth. Although Jaundice effects about 50% of babies who have reached full term, it effects 80% of premature babies. A pediatric specialist at the Asokoro District Hospital in the FCT predicts that 8 out of 10 premature babies in their unit are expected to be effected by Jaundice. Tiny Hearts Technologies, a company started by a mom and a graphic designer plan to help lower the death rate of premature babies using their solar powered Crib A’glow.

Virtue Oboro, a graphic designer teamed up with a young mom after her sons tragic experience with jaundice to help other moms struggling with this tough condition. Early detections of jaundice is very important, but the symptoms of it can be missed by new moms with no medical experience since the only visible symptom of it is yellow skin. In Virtues case she just thought her son had a “fair complexation.” It wasn’t until Virtues mom, a nurse pointed out the unusual color that Virtue realized something was wrong. After they returned to the hospital little Tonbara was diagnosed with jaundice. Virtue described the experience as “harrowing.” She was so excited to have her first ever son, but not even three days later that excitement was filled with fear. Fear that her little baby could’ve had brain damage if the diagnoses was not properly handled. Virtue never wanted that to happen to anyone else. With the help of biomedical engineers and medical professionals she was able to start her company, Tiny Hearts Technologies. It wasn’t all easy in the beginning, she had to experience four failed attempts and several trials before she was able to successfully start her company.

Phototherapy is used to help babies that struggle to break up bilirubin their own. Although this is a pretty effective way to treat jaundice, power outages pose a threat to the recovery of the treatment units that provide therapeutic light. This puts newborns in jeopardy. Virtue experienced this with her son in Southern Nigeria. He nearly lost his life because of failed hospital power generators, so after that she created Crib A’glow.

Crib A’glow is a novel phototherapeutic system. It’s a portable unit that is powered by solar panels, it’s 11 pounds and it completely eliminates the risk of a power outage along with the fact that it can be easily transported to new locations where phototherapy is needed. Not only does Tiny Heart Technologies sell the Crib A’glow for a reasonable amount of money, people are also able to rent it for 24 hours. Virtue and her company have done amazing things for the future of premature babies, they also started Yellow Alert which is a campaign that raises awareness about jaundice so that more mothers can treat their babies on time making sure that they’re safe and healthy.