Scientists at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, have designed a bead to detect early stages of pneumonia.
The beads, which are designed in the colours of Ghana’s national flag, guide mothers to monitor the respiratory rate of children.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pneumonia is the main cause of death in young children especially in sub-Saharan Africa. The WHO data reveals that pneumonia remains the leading infectious cause of death among children under five, killing approximately 2,400 children a day.
“Sometimes parents and caregivers ignore the symptoms of pneumonia until children are nearly unconscious and the disease has become severe before coming to us,” said lead researcher, Prof Daniel Ansong of the Department of child health School of Medical Sciences, KNUST.
Speaking to Joy News, Prof Daniel Ansong said pneumonia symptoms vary according to age, but cough, increased respiratory rate and fever are common symptoms.
He opined that their research study is aimed at training mothers to easily and early recognise the signs of pneumonia and seek care promptly.
Prof Ansong said it is based on this that the beads were made. The beads operation is based on the assumption that if a mother is able to count the respiratory rate and it falls in the green zone for a particular age then it’s normal. If it falls within the yellow then it is above normal then the mother should count again and observe.
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If it falls within the red zone, the mother should count again the child’s respiratory rate and if after several counts it’s in the red then the mother should visit the hospital. An ambulance sign tells the mother what to do.
Because some mothers have difficulties counting one minute on a clock the scientists have come out with a sand timer to interpret the results after counting.
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