Making locally fabricated phototherapy devices work better

Isa Abdulkadir, Sirajo Lawal, Mustapha N. Adebiyi, Hendrik J. Vreman, Tina M. Slusher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: The efficiency of a phototherapy (PT) device is a function of the irradiance delivered by the device at the surface of the skin. Because cost limits the ability of health care facilities in low- and middle-income countries to procure commercial PT devices, efforts have gone into local fabrication of devices for use in health care facilities in Nigeria. Evaluation of such fabricated devices is yet to be conducted. Objective: To identify and document essential features of locally fabricated phototherapy (FPT) devices in use in Nigeria. Materials and methods: A cross sectional survey of locally FPT devices available in health facilities providing newborn health care services was conducted as part of evaluating neonatal jaundice management services in Kaduna State. Each FPT was characterized with respect to mobility/portability, adjustability, lamp type, number and color of lamps used. The irradiance of each device was measured using Model 22 Olympic BiliMeter™ at the facility's traditional PT distance and also at a distance at which optimum irradiance is delivered by the device. Results: A total of 54 PT devices were in use. Thirty-two (59.3%) of these devices were locally fabricated while others were obtained from commercial sources. Of the fabricated devices 22/32 (68.8%) were non-adjustable while the remaining 10 devices were adjustable but with limited adjustability. Only 5/32 (15.6%) of the FPT devices used special blue fluorescent lamps. The majority, 68.8% (22/32) of the FPT devices used ordinary low-intensity blue lamps while the remaining 5/32 (15.6%) devices used white light fluorescent lamps. None of the devices used light emitting diodes as a PT light source. Only three fabricated devices offered irradiance (9.4, 13.6 and 33 μW/cm2/nm) at the facilities' traditional distances for PT. Conclusions: FPT devices in use in Kaduna, functioned sub-optimally because of technically inadequate designs. The devices will need to be designed to especially enable adjustability to vary distance between device and patient's skin and the use of lamps which offer high irradiance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-28
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of tropical pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 29 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s) [2019]. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


  • devices
  • kernicterus
  • neonatal jaundice
  • newborn care
  • phototherapy


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