In another move to bring essential healthcare products to low-income communities in India, GE Healthcare will soon launch a low-cost ‘infant-warmer’ in partnership with NGO Embrace. The infant-warmer, which will cost less than £200, is approximately 1% of the cost of a traditional incubator. The product, however, can keep babies warm for hours and can run without a continuous energy source. MUMBAI: GE Healthcare, in partnership with NGO ‘Embrace’ will distribute a low-cost ‘infant warmer’ that looks like a small sleeping bag to rural Indian children early next year.

Costing less than one per cent of the traditional incubators, the infant warmers can help keep small babies warm for hours.

“This product will be distributed in India initially to improve rural infant care as an alternative to more expensive warmers,” Mike Barber, Vice President, GE healthymagination said in a release here today.

“The partnership with Embrace is an opportunity to further our commitment to maternal-infant care while increasing local access and reducing infant mortality. Along with our partners, we’re addressing the specific needs of the local healthcare environment and helping to solve critical problems,” he said.

Unlike traditional incubators that cost up to USD 20,000, the Embrace Infant Warmer costs less than 1 per cent of this price, and works without a constant supply of electricity. The product will be launched in India in March 2011, and will subsequently scale globally.

Embrace was founded by a team of engineers and MBAs from Stanford and Harvard University .

Costing less than USD 200, the Embrace Infant Warmer has three components–a sleeping bag, a sealed pouch of wax and a heater. The warmer swaddles the baby and a heated pouch of wax is placed in an adjacent compartment in the sleeping bag. The pouch can be heated via an electrical heater,Jane Chen, CEO, Embrace said.