Special beads have been designed to detect pneumonia at it’s early stages by scientists at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and OKomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.
The multicoloured beads, which consists of the colours of the national flag guide mothers to monitor the respiratory rate of their children.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), Pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide.
Pneumonia killed 920 136 children under the age of 5 in 2015, accounting for 16% of all deaths of children under five years old.
Pneumonia affects children and families everywhere, but is most prevalent in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Children can be protected from pneumonia, it can be prevented with simple interventions, and treated with low-cost, low-tech medication and care.
Lead researcher, Prof Daniel Ansong of the Department of child health School of Medical Sciences, KNUST said, “Sometimes parents and caregivers ignore the symptoms of pneumonia until children are nearly unconscious and the disease has become severe before coming to us.”
Overall, pneumonia symptoms vary according to age, but cough, increased respiratory rate and fever are common clues that can help you recognize when your child has more than a bad cold.
The aim of this study by the scientists was to train mothers who are at the very core in child health care to aid them to recognize very early signs of pneumonia and seek prompt medical care.
The beads operation is based on the assumption that if a mother has the ability 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 zone then it is above normal then the mother should repeat the counting and observe.
If the count of the respiratory rate falls within the red zone, the mother should repeat the counting. She should visit the hospital if it continues to fall in the red zone after several counts.
Some mothers have difficulties counting one minute on a clock, for this reason the scientists have come out with a sand timer to interpret the results after counting.
The scientists have trained 10 mothers so far to detect early signs of pneumonia in children on the use of the multi-coloured beads.
Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs. The lungs are made up of small sacs called alveoli, which fill up with air when a healthy person breathes. When an individual has pneumonia, the alveoli are filled with pus and fluid, which makes breathing painful and limits oxygen intake.
By: Susan Amoako Agyemang