Infant Incubators May Be Delivered South by Cruisers

Kiwanis Project Builds Incubators To Be Delivered South

You don’t often hear the words “incubator” and “cruiser” in the same sentence, but this Kiwanis project based in Essex, MD, has been a boater volunteer effort and will continue to be with the help of cruising sailors who may deliver low-cost infant incubators south.

15 million, a 10th  of the world’s babies, are born prematurely each year. In South and Central America, poverty prevents medical professionals to have the highly developed incubators available in U.S. hospitals as they cost over $30,000. There are no spare parts or technicians for maintenance or repairs.

Essex is the home of a project sponsored by Kiwanis to provide simple, basic incubators for premature infants to help reduce the annual deaths of over 1 million. The approach is to build a basic unit of lightweight material to reduce delivery cost, a simple heating/circulation design, and volunteers to produce the incubators for under $400. While it lasts, a financial gift allows  giving the incubators at no cost. Ten incubators are currently being produced and over 100 planned for South and Central America.

In addition to Kiwanis, help has been provided by the neo-natal Dept at Franklin Sq., The Johns Hopkins Hospital, The Martin Aviation Museum, and the Maryland Correctional Enterprises.

Points of Interest for SpinSheet Readers

1. Incubators are made of COOSA Nautica 15, which provides a mold resistant, non out-gassing material a third the weight of plywood. This reduces delivery cost particularly in allowing the incubator to be taken as airline baggage.

2. Two Marine Inspection Ports provide infant Access.

3. Ancillary equipment access is provided thru two fishing rod holders.

4. Deckleman’s Marine volunteered to build first unit.

5. Ralph Pfeifer at Deckleman has volunteered for seven years, assisting with design, fabrication of incubators, and design and building of fixtures. He recently built the fixture and is routing the openings in the Plexiglas for the access plates.

6. Deb and Baltimore Boating have provided deep discounts for the access plates, pole holders and stainless marine hardware. Deb also contributed to design of the pole holder installation.

7. “Smitty,” a fixture on Oak Ave and at Deckleman’s, using skills in sheet metal work, fabricated the internal heat deflector plates for all incubators.

8. The Kiwanis Key Club of Patterson High School in Bel Air made up the bead chains for safeguarding the access plates and installing insect screening in the air inlet and exit poets.

9. The Glenmar Sailing Association has provided several volunteers for construction and project objectives.

10. Fabrication and prime painting of all the COOSA material is done as a Community Project by the Maryland Correctional Enterprises in Jessup.

11. The Maryland Aviation Museum provides space for storage and painting in Hanger 5 at the Martin State Airport.

12. Four incubators are in operation in developing countries: two in Honduras, and one each in the Dominican Republic and Ethiopia.

12.  Medical supplies, such as incubators, can be delivered by boaters headed south. Bahamas and Dominican Republic are easy.

For more information contact Richard Allen, 410-852-0518, [email protected]