Ubenwa: The app that hopes to save newborns from Asphyxia


    A group of Nigerians have made an app called Ubenwa which will make it easy to detect childbirth Asphyxia without the help of medical doctor or specialist.

    With this new app, the problem of detecting childbirth Asphyxia early is addressed. As a result, there is a hope that thousands of babies’ whose lives are lose to this disease every year would be saved.

    Ubenwa is a smartphone based app that takes an infant’s cry as input, analyses its amplitude and frequency patterns. It is with this information that the app will be able to provides an instant diagnosis of birth Asphyxia. Hence, reducing time, cost and skill required to make accurate and potentially life-saving diagnoses.


    The young startup is already garnering international attention and is in the final round for the global IBM Watson AI XPRIZE competition, which has a $5 million prize.

    There is a high rate of Asphyxia among newborns in Nigeria.  There is a high rate of Asphyxia among newborns in Nigeria.


    How Ubenwa is a viable where there is no doctor.

    The name Ubenwa means baby’s cry in Igbo language and the app is aimed at aiding parents and caregivers in easily detecting asphyxia earlier without having to wait on doctors.

    According to WHO, birth asphyxia is the third highest cause of under-five child deaths and is responsible for almost one million neonatal deaths annually. It has also been linked to 1.1 million stillbirths, long-term neurological disability, and impairment.

    Detecting the condition is a challenge in Nigeria where the focus usually shifts to preparation for religious and cultural rites right after a child is born.

    Quick medical expertise is needed to positively establish diagnosis using blood gas analysis, administer oxygen support and to treat the underlying cause.

    Although the condition is detectable few public hospital in the country has the equipment due to its high cost, poor electricity service and an unrealistic routine application for every child.

    The Ubenwa team have said that in the meantime they are planning to make it free for individuals and paid for organizations such as hospitals, clinics, governments, and others.