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Washington Post Examines Birth Simulator For Health Worker Training In Developing World

A new device which simulates childbirth on a real woman could help train health workers to deliver babies and deal with complications, according to the Washington Post, which adds that the $100 low-tech “frontpack” is called “‘MamaNatalie,’ a name that plays on ‘natalis,’ which means ‘pertaining to birth’ in Latin.”  

“The abdomen is made out of washable neoprene wet-suit material; the teacher straps it on, more or less like an apron. It comes with a term-size baby, which can be packed in the normal head-down position or feet first (breech). … In all cases, the sense of reality is heightened because the equipment is connected to and manipulated by a human being,” according to the newspaper. The “face-to-face” interaction differentiates it from other simulators on the market, which can cost between $3,500 and $30,000.

The device was created by Paulina Quinones Gonzalez, “a 29-year-old industrial designer from Guatemala who was spending time at [Norwegian medical simulator manufacturer] Laerdal Medical last summer as part of a program called Design Without Borders,” the Washington Post writes.

Laerdal Medical President Tore Laerdal said the simulators would be sold at cost to health ministries and organizations in developing countries. The article also looks at the device’s potential role in helping to reach Millennium Development Goal 5, or the reduction of maternal mortality (Brown, 7/6).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.