What these newborns have wrapped around their tiny wrists is helping to put an end to preventable newborn deaths. It’s called the Bebi Kol Kilok, also known as a hypothermia alert bracelet.
The medical device notifies parents when a baby’s body temperature is low, giving mothers, fathers and carers an opportunity to act quickly to warm them up.
It is simple to use and fits tiny babies weighing between 800 grams to 3.6 kilograms. If a baby’s temperature drops to an unsafe range, the bracelet plays a tune and flashes an orange light.
Because babies are small, they can very easily become cold or hypothermic. When they become cold, their body burns fat-stores to stay warm. Unfortunately, as a consequence of this the baby doesn’t gain weight, the sugar and oxygen levels in the body drop, the organs are at serious risk of damage and the baby can die.
Newborns, particularly low birth weight babies, are prone to hypothermia but often it is difficult for parents or caregivers to know that the baby’s temperature has dropped.
Once detected, parents or carers can start skin to skin contact, or Kangaroo Mother Care —a parent’s or caregiver’s own body—to warm and nurture the child for optimal growth.
“My baby is a gift from God,” says Ikia Thomas, a father to twin babies.
His babies were born three months early at Port Moresby General Hospital. They were given the bebi kol kilok devices to manage their temperature. With no incubator to protect the tiny newborns from hypothermia, Ikia was taught a simple alternative: skin-to-skin contact and a blanket wrap.
He was hesitant to hold his tiny babies at first, but now he can’t wait to get home from work to hold and nurture his newborns.
“I’m not worried about the future,” says the young father.
The Bebi Kol Kilok has transformed the lives of babies in PNG, where an estimated 6,000 newborns die each year from preventable causes.
But there are still so many more babies that need our help. With your support, we can reach thousands of babies to give them the best possible start to life.
The program is supported by generous Australian donors and the Australian Government through the PNGAusPartnership.
Stay up-to-date on UNICEF's work in Australia and around the world
20 Sept 2023
This is what climate change looks like around the world
Over one billion children around the world are at extremely high risk of the impacts of climate change. That is nearly half of the world's children. And it is happening today.
13 Sept 2023
2023 Libya Flood Crisis | What you need to know
From the recent earthquake in Morocco to the unfolding tragedy in Libya, UNICEF is always there to help children and families recover from crises.
9 Sept 2023
What you need to know about the 2023 Marrakesh–Safi Earthquake in Morocco
As stories of heartbreak and survival emerge from the devastating earthquake in Morocco, thousands of children and families remain at risk. Before, during and after an emergency UNICEF is always there.
27 Aug 2023
Meet Tony, a dad from Vanuatu who did all he could when his newborn twins were in crisis.
13 Aug 2023
Two years on, the crisis continues for children in Afghanistan
It has been two years since the Taliban seized power, yet Afghanistan - already marked by decades of insecurity and natural disasters - is still in crisis.
3 Aug 2023
Kangaroo Care: nurturing parents, protecting babies, changing lives
Every parent, no matter where they are, wants their child to have a healthy start in life. Find out how a simple, cost-effective and high-impact intervention is saving newborn lives in Vanuatu
1 Aug 2023
Why breastfeeding mums deserve our support
Breastfeeding is free, it doesn’t discriminate, it’s safe, it’s supported and backed by a global legal framework. Here’s why women should be supported to breastfeed, and how UNICEF is rising to the global challenge of helping women combine work and child-rearing.
9 July 2023
Three programs changing lives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, a better future starts with reconciliation.
30 May 2023
5 questions with our Ambassador Erica Packer
UNICEF Australia Early Years Ambassador Erica Packer tells us all about her experiences being a mum and what being a Global Parent means to her.
28 May 2023
In photos: A special visit to Borroloola with Pat Cummins
Test cricket captain and UNICEF Australia Ambassador Pat Cummins heads to the outback to meet some incredible kids through the Indi Kindi program in the Northern Territory.
27 Apr 2023
Voice to Parliament: three allies tell us why they’re voting yes
UNICEF Australia Young Ambassadors, Emily, Kbora and Harrison are passionate about advocating for children's rights and promoting social justice. Find out why our Young Ambassadors support the Voice to Parliament and why they believe it is important to recognise the rights of First Nations peoples in Australia.