If your baby has pneumonia, this doctor’s $1.25 ‘shampoo bottle trick’ is a life saver

Jan 3, 2019

Dr. Mohammod Jobayer Chisti still remembers his first night as an intern in the pediatric department of the Sylhet Medical College Hospital in Bangladesh in 1996.

In a ward filled with at least 20 children suffering from severe pneumonia, Dr. Chisti witnessed three kids dying right before his eyes that night.

Unable to save them, he cried.

This heart-wrenching sight was deeply etched into his mind. Since then, he vowed to find ways to treat pneumonia.

Mohammod Jobayer ChistiInternational Center for Diarrheal Disease Research (icddr,b)BANGLADESHBubble-Continuous…

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Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that inflames the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in one or both lungs. The alveoli, which allow for rapid gaseous exchange, are filled with fluid or pus, causing breathing difficulty.

According to WHO, pneumonia is the largest infectious cause of death in children. Each year, more than 2 million children die from pneumonia.

“I was determined to do something that would cut the child death rate,” Dr. Chisti told Dhaka Tribune.

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Finally, after spending two decades studying, researching and working on pediatric respiratory, Dr. Chisti invented a pioneering approach to treat pneumonia; that is, using a plastic shampoo bottle.

The invention was inspired by the bubble CPAP device he came across while working at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.

Upon returning home to Bangladesh, Dr. Chisti drew insights from the machine and began working with his colleagues at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research (ICDDR) to create a similar yet low-cost device.

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“We carried out experiments on some of the children using the shampoo bottles filled with water, and a plastic tube inserted into one end. The children then inhaled oxygen from a tank and exhaled through a tube, producing bubbles in the water in the bottles,” he said.

Dr. Chisti observed that the pressure produced by the bubbles kept the tiny air sacs in the lungs open, thus easing the exchange of carbon dioxide for oxygen.

“Surprisingly, we noticed that some of the severely ill children started recovering in the span of a few hours,” he said.

Posted by Mohammod Jobayer Chisti on Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Kohinoor Begum, a mother of a child who underwent the experiment, told BBC: “Doctors worked so hard; oxygen, a pipe for food, and then a white round bottle was connected with water bubbling away.”

“After the treatment, when my child recovered, I felt so happy.”

Amazingly, the experiments indicated a 75 percent drop in the mortality rate of pneumonia-stricken children.

Not only is Dr. Chisti’s invention life-saving, it’s also cheap—it only costs $1.25.

His low-cost invention could replace the expensive ventilators used by hospitals to treat the respiratory infection.

The ventilator, which costs at least $15,000, may be too pricey for hospitals in developing nations.

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Dr. Chisti spent two years experimenting with the shampoo bottles’ effectiveness. His study was published in The Lancet, a medical journal, in 2015.

Countries such as Ethiopia, Myanmar, and Nepal have expressed interest in this affordable treatment method.

Further research is still required; however, Professor of pediatrics at Ad-din Women’s Medical College Dr. ARM Luthful Kabir thinks “this innovation has great potential to reduce the mortality rate drastically because any hospital can afford this.”

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Having fulfilled his promise, Dr. Chisti was just happy beyond words.

“I have no language to express this,” he said.

“I’ll be even happier if the World Health Organization recommends this low-cost bubble-CPAP treatment as the standard therapy for children with severe pneumonia and hypoxemia in developing countries,” Dr. Chisti said at the inaugural Pneumonia Innovations Summit in New York in November 2015, where he received the People’s Choice Award for the most promising childhood pneumonia innovation.

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It’s exciting to know Dr. Chisti’s groundbreaking invention is now able to help save many children’s lives.

Thank you Dr. Chisti for the great work you’ve done!

Hopefully, the ingenious shampoo bottle that makes breathing easier for pneumonia-affected children will be put to good use in hospitals worldwide soon.

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