Hero Bangladeshi Doctor

Creates low-cost machine (that includes a shampoo bottle) to cut pneumonia mortality rates at his hospital by 75 percent.

“It was my first night as an intern and three children died before my eyes. I felt so helpless that I cried,” Dr Mohammod Jobayer Christi said about a night 22 years ago in Bangladesh. There and then he took the firm decision to find a solution for the high mortality rates of kids with pneumonia.

While working in Melbourne, Australia, Dr Christi saw a machine that uses continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) which prevents lungs from collapsing. But the machine was pricey. No way hospitals in Bangladesh could afford a fancy CPAP machine or expensive respirators.

So Dr Christi took the matter into his own hands and decided to make a simpler, low-cost model of the machine. His efforts paid off and he managed to achieve a similar effect, using inexpensive supplies including a plastic shampoo bottle.

The results speak for themselves: at a cost of just $1.25, use of his device has cut pneumonia mortality rates at his hospital by 75 percent. The hospital’s annual oxygen bill also went down, from $30,000 to $6,000, allowing administrators to invest in other life-saving equipment, materials, and man-hours.

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