SAN ANTONIO -- A new international program aimed at reducing HIV and hepatitis C infections among African healthcare workers performing childbirth procedures is being launched today by Dr. Richard Watson, program director of Joeyaid. At the forefront of the program is the Joey(TM) Umbilical Safety System (Joey(TM)), a revolutionary medical device that increases safety for healthcare practitioners who are involved in the delivery of babies. Invented by Watson and developed by Vital Needs International, Joey shields blood spray during childbirth -- a huge risk factor for healthcare workers worldwide.
Joey, an FDA approved medical device, is a self-contained unit and uniquely shields healthcare workers from blood spray during delivery of an infant. The product cuts the umbilical cord while simultaneously clamping off both the placenta and child umbilicus without the need of any additional instruments. Currently, the most common tools used in Africa -- a razorblade and string -- do not effectively contain the high pressure blood spray, which can infect healthcare workers. In Malawi alone, 92 healthcare workers are projected to contract HIV/AIDS in the next 12 months as a direct result of being sprayed by blood during the transection of the umbilical cord.
The focus of Joeyaid is to provide a safe childbirth delivery standard to skilled healthcare attendants in Africa and beyond, said Watson.
Watson recently returned from Africa where he saw directly how delivering babies, one of the most commonly performed medical procedures, is a life-threatening activity, as medical tools are almost non-existent or reused in an unsanitary fashion. What we have found, tragically, are that midwives and other healthcare providers are positioned as disposable medical goods, said Watson. Our team is now compelled to get Joeys and other needed medical products to Africa, continued Watson.
An initial pilot program featuring Joey will begin this year in Malawi, Africa with the goal of reducing HIV and HCV infections among healthcare workers who are involved in the delivery of babies. To procure and distribute Joeys, Watson is partnering with different world healthcare organizations who serve undeveloped countries around the globe. The pilot program will be facilitated by Population Services International (PSI), a non-profit global distribution organization that serves over 70 undeveloped countries around the world with many life-saving products and services (http://www.psi.org ).
In addition to their participation in the pilot program, PSI is organizing a visit to Malawi in April to share with congressional leaders and business executives how great the need is to protect healthcare workers in this country.
The Joey Clamp & Cutter has won three design awards including the IDEA/Business Week Gold Award 2003; the Medical Design Excellence Gold Award 2003; and the ID Magazine Design Distinction Award 2002.