Diagnostics Solutions for Low-Resource Settings

  • Trainee: Diego Dalia
  • Company: Philips
  • Company supervisor: Pavan Dadlani
  • TU/e supervisor: Panos Markopoulos


Pneumonia is the leading cause of death among under-fives, killing more children than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Globally a child dies from pneumonia every thirty seconds and 99% of these deaths are in low-resource settings in developing countries. UNICEF and the WHO have made pneumonia a focus area in efforts to reduce child mortality..

Supporting this drive, Philips has developed a prototype that is easy-to-use and automatically detects the breathing rate of a child with the goal to help community health workers diagnose pneumonia.

The automated breathing rate monitor has the potential to help community health workers make more accurate measurements of a sick child’s breathing rate, and hence improve the diagnosis of pneumonia. Accurate diagnosis would ensure that children with pneumonia receive the antibiotics they need, potentially preventing many of the deaths caused by pneumonia each year. Such a device could also help reduce the unnecessary overuse of antibiotics which contributes to the rise of drug-resistant diseases. By bringing more confidence to the measurement of breathing rates and presenting results in an easily understood way, an automated monitor could help health workers reassure parents and explain when antibiotics aren’t required. The prototype is currently under-going field tests, evaluation and validation.