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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 15-18

Solar powered baby/infant radiant warmer installed in neonatal intensive care unit in a Tertiary Care Hospital

1 Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India
2 Division of Neonatal, Department of Pediatrics, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India
3 National Institute of Solar Energy, Gurgaon, Haryana, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vasantha Thavaraj
Indian Council of Medical Research, Ansari Nagar, Post Box No. 4911, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2249-4847.199760

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Context: Hypothermia is common in infants born at hospitals (32%–85%) and at homes (11%–92%). Hypothermia does not lead to mortality directly; it contributes globally to newborn survival mostly as comorbidity of neonatal infection, preterm birth, low birth weight babies, and asphyxia, even in tropical countries such as India. The problem of low birth infants is 30% in our country. One of the estimates of reducing neonatal deaths is to provide warmth to the baby. By giving warmth to the baby either skin to skin contact or incubator or open care system, the potential impact in reducing the neonatal deaths is estimated at 1.8%–42%. Aim: India is going through energy crisis, a solar powered baby warmer was thought of to prevent hypothermia in the newborn care. Setting and Design: An open care infant warmer was planned to connect to solar rooftop photovoltaic (PV) panels in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), in a tertiary hospital in New Delhi. The PV system was designed for about 10 h of working, to generate for approximately 4 kWh of energy per day. Methods: Solar panels were connected to one open care radiant warmer with an inbuilt energy meter in a NICU in a tertiary care hospital in New Delhi. Energy meter was also connected to the AC mains/grid to know if any current is drawn from the grid. Energy meter readings were taken at the time of installation of solar radiant warmer and at the end of 368 days at the end of all the seasons. Results: The solar powered radiant warmer was successfully installed in the NICU and fully functional since December 10, 2012. The preliminary energy consumption study shows that PV panels of 1.2 kWp were more than enough to run one radiant warmer. At least two radiant warmers could be connected in the panel size used. There is no running cost as the electricity saved in the 1st year was equal to the cost solar panel and cost of radiant warmer. Conclusions: The solar powered baby warmer is environment-friendly. In rural areas where power supply is erratic and where there is plenty of sunshine, this product will help in the care of high-risk infants in Level II special care newborn units in district hospital and neonatal stabilizing units in subdistrict levels at primary health center and community health center.

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