Ready for Global Health Fellow #2?!
Matthew Pesce is just another face behind Rice 360°‘s success. He, too, has been in Malawi for the last several months working on our BreathAlert device alongside Fellow Becky Selle ’15.
BreathAlert is an apnea monitor and stimulation device with a size-adjustable strap. If a baby doesn’t breathe for 15 seconds, a vibration motor is activated to restart breathing. A nurse is alerted if breathing does not resume within 30 seconds.
Matthew, we recently discovered, has a serious way with words — not always common for the engineers on our team! Check out his ode below:
An Ode to the Great People We Work With
A real joy of working in the Chatinkha neonatal ward is spending time with the nurses. Becky and I work directly with Prince, our man on the ground. He holds a nursing degree and has spent countless hours volunteering on the ward. He’s a wealth of knowledge and serves as a sounding board for our plans to test and evaluate our device.
Two of his most common phrases are “That’s great” and “Good, that’s really, really great”. In a ward like Chatinkha, where its occupants face the harsh realities of its low-resource status on a daily basis, Prince’s sincere optimism is worth its weight in golden oxygen concentrators.
Patricia is the head nurse of the ward. She’s made us feel welcome from the very beginning and was instrumental in setting up for our study.
Just a week or two after first meeting Patricia, I was sitting in the front seat of her Toyota hatchback, getting schooled on Chichewa verb conjugation, on the way to pick up a few chairs and a table for our testing set-up. Her laugh is infectious and seems to be even better when she’s bellowing at the minimal Chichewa I’ve managed to pick up from Edson, my favorite taxi driver in Malawi.
The goal of BreathAlert really is to save babies, but to accomplish that goal we ultimately rely on the nurses of the Chatinkha ward. I can’t think of two better people to work with towards a common goal than Patricia and Prince. I am immensely grateful to them.