Saans – A device that helps millions of premature babies to breathe easy

Saans – A device that helps millions of premature babies to breathe easy

According to WHO, An estimated 15 million babies are born too early every year. That is more than 1 in 10 babies. Almost 1 million children die each year due to complications of preterm birth. Many survivors face a lifetime of disability, including learning disabilities and visual and hearing problems. Globally, prematurity is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5. And in almost all countries with reliable data, preterm birth rates are increasing.

Inequalities in survival rates around the world are stark. In low-income settings, half of the babies born at 32 weeks (two months early) die due to a lack of feasible, cost-effective care, such as warmth, breastfeeding support, and basic care for infections and breathing difficulties. In high-income countries, almost all of these babies survive. Around 3.5 million premature babies are born in India every year. Approximately 407,000 of them suffer from RDS and 160,000 die due to lack of proper medical attention, says UN report.


Engineering students develop low-cost device that can keep lungs of newborns open during troubled breathing. A group of engineering students have won the Tata Social Enterprise Challenge 2014-15 for developing a low-cost, user-friendly device that can keep the lungs of newborns open during troubled breathing.


Introducing Saans, a device that could prove to be life saving. Designed by Nitesh K Jangir, an embedded systems engineer, and Nachiket Daval, a product designer, Saans is aimed at solving the major issue of transportation of babies in need of external support for breathing from rural areas to hospitals.

Source: Vimeo / TBI

‘Saans’ is a mechanical Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device used to maintain constant pressure and air flow to keep the lungs of newborns and infants open when they have problems while breathing.

The device was designed at a medical jugaad-a-thon organized by CAMTech India, along with Glocal Healthcare and GE Healthcare, in July 2014. Nitesh and Nachiket were inspired to develop Saans while discussing the problems faced by premature babies with a doctor from Uganda at the event.

Saans - Every breath counts

“Babies suffering from RDS require continuous external support to breathe. As we talked more about the issue we thought about the situation in India and how lakhs of people in rural areas struggle due to the lack of such facilities,” says Nitesh. The USP of Saans is its low cost. While current CPAP machines available in the market cost between Rs. 50,000-60,000, Saans costs just around Rs.10,000-12,000. 

The CAMTech India Jugaad-a-thon will bring together some of the world’s brightest minds to develop innovative health technologies. Clinicians, engineers, entrepreneurs, designers and end-users will co-create to solve pressing clinical challenges in India. Within 48 hours, teams will move from ideas to prototypes that have the potential to transform reproductive, maternal, newborn & child health outcomes in India and around the world. The CAMTech India Program is made possible by the generous support of USAID, Omidyar Network and Bacca Foundation. (Source: TBI)

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