Low-cost point-of-care (POC) diagnostics for pregnant women and newborns are lacking in resource-limited rural settings. Communities and health facilities in these areas do not have the necessary medical technologies, laboratory equipment, and trained personnel to provide life-saving preventative care for expecting mothers and newborns. Enabling rural health workers and midwives working at the point-of-care to have access to the same diagnostic information available in urban areas will greatly improve patient health through better monitoring of expecting mothers, earlier detection of high-risk pregnancies, and better patient cooperation and retention.
Working with collaborators at the Division of Global Health and Human Rights, we are developing a portable diagnostic kit (MEDkit), a small pouch containing everything a community health worker would need to screen pregnant women for common health risk-factors. At the center of this kit are three patterned paper-based microfluidic diagnostics capable of screening for preeclampsia, anemia, and abnormal glucose levels.
Current funding from USAID, Grand Challenges Canada, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank, and the Norwegian Ministry Of Foreign Affairs is supporting the initial development of the three paper-based microfluidic diagnostics to a prototype stage.