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Nigeria Prize for Science Awarded to Pioneer of Neonatal Respiratory Technologies

In a groundbreaking achievement, the Advisory Board of The Nigeria Prize for Science, convened in Lagos, declared Professor Hippolite Amadi the winner of the prestigious 2023 edition for his pioneering work in respiratory technologies aimed at ensuring the survival of Nigerian newborns. This remarkable recognition comes with an esteemed prize worth $100,000 and is generously sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG).

The announcement, which culminated in Professor Amadi’s triumph, was made during a press conference in Lagos. Professor Barth Nnaji, who leads the Prize’s Advisory Board, disclosed that the judges’ decision was reached in alignment with the 2023 theme, “Innovation for Enhancement of Healthcare Therapy.”

Reacting to this momentous development, Mr. Andy Odeh, NLNG’s General Manager for External Relations and Sustainable Development, emphasized the profound significance of collaboration among the private sector, academia, and the broader scientific community. He highlighted the decision’s resonance with NLNG’s vision of “helping to build a better Nigeria,” where pioneering ideas flourish, and every life is treasured and safeguarded.

Mr. Odeh expressed heartfelt appreciation for the judges’ recognition of the groundbreaking innovation in respiratory technology, a development that transcends scientific achievement and holds the potential to transform countless lives, especially those of neonates.

The winning entry by Professor Amadi not only advances neonatal care in Nigeria but also contributes to the accessibility and affordability of neonatal care by reducing the market prices of existing devices. The entry featured three key technological innovations:

  1. Non-invasive Neonatal Ventilator (The bubble PoliteCPAP): This innovation revolutionizes continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) ventilation for very low-birth-weight neonates, offering a cost-effective alternative to the conventional improvised bubble CPAP (IBCPAP) used in resource-constrained settings.
  2. Oxygen Delivery Blender System: This system enables the safe delivery of oxygen without the risk of toxicity.
  3. Oxygen Splitter System: Designed for situations where piped oxygen is unavailable, this system facilitates shared access to a single oxygen source for multiple neonates. Remarkably, all these devices are powered by solar energy.

These groundbreaking innovations have undergone rigorous testing at various hospitals across Nigeria, with reports indicating that PoliteCPAP not only enhances efficiency but also reduces costs dramatically. The PoliteCPAP innovation, priced at N750,000, stands in stark contrast to the existing device, which costs N6.5 million while delivering comparable or superior performance.

Professor Hippolite Amadi, a visiting professor of Medical Engineering and Technology at Imperial College London, has a distinguished career spanning over three decades, encompassing healthcare engineering, orthopaedics, and neonatology research. He is also the author of the impactful book “Born to Live, Not to Die.”

The panel of judges, led by Professor Joseph Ahaneku, a prominent figure in Chemical Pathology at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, played a pivotal role in determining the winning entry. The esteemed panel also included Professor Olaitan Alice Soyannwo, a renowned Anaesthesia professor at the University of Ibadan, and Professor Abdullahi A. Abba, a distinguished figure in Medicine and Pulmonology at Ahmadu Bello University.

On the Prize’s Advisory Board, Professor Barth Nnaji is joined by Chief Dr. Nike Akande, a two-time minister and former President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Professor Yusuf Abubakar, an accomplished professor specializing in Animal Breeding and Quantitative Genetics, and the Coordinator of the Agriculture Group, R & D Standing Committee, at the Tertiary Education Trust Fund.

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