The Cure to Baby Jaundice: Nigerian Mom Designs Solar-Powered Cribs


Good News Network

Virtue Oboro, the mother and healthcare worker, creator of “Cribs A’glow”

Infant jaundice is known to be a very dangerous disease in those who have just been brought into the world, but still a very common one.

Infant jaundice is the yellow discoloration of a newborn baby’s skin, a symptom that surfaces when a baby’s blood contains an excess of bilirubin, a yellow pigment of the red blood cells. This can lead to permanent damage or even death. Symptoms begin to present themselves as early as the second day after birth.

Virtue Oboro, a Nigerian mother and healthcare worker, discovered the dangers of infant jaundice through a personal traumatic experience. Her son, Tombra, was only two days old when he was brought to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), bearing the consequences of a build-up of bilirubin in his bloodstream. Thankfully, Tombra survived, but the horrifying ordeal eminently changed Oboro’s life forever.

In an effort to prevent experiences like her own from befalling other moms, Oboro constructed a way of treatment to cure infant jaundice. “I felt like some of the things I experienced could have been avoided,” Oboro told CNN. “I thought, is there something I could do to make the pain less for the babies and the mothers?”

The treatment is relatively simple and becoming popular in various modernizing countries: blue-light therapy, a form of phototherapy.

Phototherapy is a medical treatment where natural or artificial light is used to improve a health condition. Though it is growing popular, Oboro discovered that phototherapy is still inaccessible in hospitals due to a lack of various resources.

Oboro started her own company, Tiny Hearts Technologies, a company solely devoted to curing infant jaundice by manufacturing solar-powered phototherapy cribs in Nigeria. Oboro named her design, “Cribs A’glow.”

The cribs are powered by the African sun and cost one-sixth of the price of a usual phototherapy crib. Because of this, they eliminate the obstacle of access, money, and an insufficient supply of power.

Oboro worked with several people, including her husband. Her husband had experience with working with solar panels, so he was able to help Oboro, who was also occupied with ascertaining an unfamiliar profession. Oboro also worked closely with a pediatrician to ensure that every detail would be beneficial to the babies who would undergo treatment.

Oboro has cured over 2,000 infants through her determination and dedication. She uses social media and sensitization programs to spread awareness about infant jaundice and is working towards her goal of implementing technology like hers in every hospital in Nigeria.