Designing a Mechanical Housing Component for Neonatal Pulse Oximetry/An Analysis of the Pulse Oximetry Supply Chain in Kenya

Krishnan, Anirudh, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Wayland, Kent, Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

Certain countries around the world are recognized as 'underserved' due to their inadequate infrastructure and limited access to essential services and resources. These shortcomings critically impair their ability to address basic public health needs, rendering their populations, particularly neonates, highly vulnerable to diseases. Among these, respiratory illnesses like pneumonia are prevalent, leading to conditions such as hypoxia—characterized by dangerously low oxygen saturation levels (SpO2) in the blood. This is especially critical for neonates who are at a higher risk and require continuous monitoring to manage emergencies effectively. In such settings, pulse oximeters become indispensable tools. However, their high cost and the complexities surrounding their availability—affected by factors such as manufacturing, distribution, and regulatory challenges—severely limit their accessibility. This thesis aims to tackle the dual challenge of designing a suitable pulse oximeter for neonates in underserved countries and dissecting the supply chain barriers that hinder access to such vital medical devices in contexts exemplified by Kenya.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
pulse oximetry, underserved countries, CAD, neonate, supply chain

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Technical Advisor: Masahiro Morikawa

STS Advisor: Kent Wayland

Technical Team Members: Jayeesh Chennupati

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