Fabric of Africa

The women of  Africa

Children's Automated Respiratory Monitor

Combating childhood pneumonia in low-resource countries

The statistics are frightening. Pneumonia is the main infectious disease cause of death among children under the age of five, accounting for 16% (950,000) of child mortality worldwide¹.

It is also one of the most preventable. The Philips Africa Innovation Hub is working to address this issue.


According to UNICEF, in 2015 the highest national under-five mortality rates are found in sub-Saharan Africa, with pneumonia and diarrhea being the leading causes of death¹.


UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) have made pneumonia a primary focus area in efforts to reduce child mortality. With significant work, developing countries are already achieving progress.

Counting breaths is key

One true, important symptom of childhood pneumonia is fast breathing (WHO IMCI guidelines). A community health worker (CHW) typically counts the number of breaths a child takes in 60 seconds. To classify pneumonia the results are then compared to pneumonia classification numbers, which differ depending on the child’s age.


However, current technology used to assist the CHW in proper breath rate counting is sorely lacking. All too often results are incorrect and patients are improperly diagnosed. To make a positive impact on child mortality, the CHW must feel empowered by the tools they use and confident in their ability to repeatedly achieve quality results.

A new way to measure breathing

UNICEF is advocating for the development of a new tool that can automatically and precisely determine respiratory rates, and hence support the diagnosis of pneumonia in children under five².


In response, the Philips Africa Innovation Hub in Kenya and Philips Research in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, are developing a Children’s Automated Respiration Monitor *

The Children's Automated Respiratory Monitor is intended to be a robust, easy-to-use and affordable device, designed to automatically detect if a child has fast breathing. The device is easily placed on a child’s chest, without requiring direct skin contact. The Children's Automated Respiratory Monitor is equipped with smart sensing technology and algorithms to deliver breathing rate measurement.

Moving toward completion

On World Pneumonia Day in November 2015, the Children's Automated Respiratory Monitor device has been unveiled at the Global Pneumonia Innovation Summit. Please check the press release for more information

For users of the Children’s Respiration Monitor:

Find here more information how you can access tools and resources

Philips Children's Respiration Monitor Animated training

Get in touch

¹ UNICEF: Committing to child survival: A promise renewed, Progress report 2015, September 2015,
² UNICEF INNOVATION: ARIDA (Acute Respiratory Infection Diagnostic Aid) 29 September 2015,
*considered work in progress and is not CE marked and not available for sale