New kits being used in Peru are set to reduce the number of babies suffering from jaundice and potentially even save their lives.
Any parents among you will know that the worry your children will fall ill when they're incredibly young is one that almost consumes you. Before your little ones can communicate, there is almost no way of knowing exactly how they feel. They can cry to let you know that something's up but won't be able to verbalize their issues for years.
That's why when we learned how many babies worldwide suffer from jaundice, we were a little taken aback. According to The Guardian, it's estimated that around 60% of newborns have jaundice at some point early on in their lives. The good news is that in most cases, it is easy to recognize and can be quickly treated. However, in Peru, jaundice in newborns is a much more serious issue.
90% of public health facilities in Peru are unable to diagnose and treat jaundice in babies. A pretty terrifying statistic considering if left untreated, it can cause brain damage and even death. That's why the introduction of new "bilikits" by health workers could well save thousands of lives. The kits are made up of three things and will make diagnosing and treating babies with jaundice a lot easier.
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First, the Biliruler allows health workers to assess the jaundice level of the little one when held up to his or her nose. The Bilistick can then be used to take a little blood and determine the baby's bilirubin concentration. Last but definitely not least, the Bilihut. This is the most important part of the kit. A carrycot that supplies infants with phototherapy should they need it.
The lofty aim of the health workers is to travel Peru over the course of the next two years and use these bilikits on 12,000 newborn babies. That will almost definitely reduce the number of reported cases of jaundice in the South American nation which hit a scary high of 31,000 in 2018. It is unclear whether that massive increase is due to more cases happening or simply more instances being reported.