Innovative “Odon Device” Helps Promote Safe Childbirth

Read the article that inspired this case study on the Innovate4Health website.

Who:

Jorge Odon, an Argentinean car mechanic in Buenos Aires, had a eureka moment in his kitchen that has since attracted thousands of dollars in investment. His idea led to the development of a transformative medical device that can reduce the risks associated with some childbirth complications.

Challenge:

Childbirth complications – particularly prolonged labor – can result in serious risks to the mother and newborn, including death. Every year, more than 300,000 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, and more than 13 million births are at risk of potentially deadly complications. While mothers in high-income countries typically give birth in hospitals with skilled obstetricians that are capable of carrying out complex procedures (like caesarean sections) when necessary, mothers in lower-income countries often do not have access to these health care resources.

Innovative ideas are often found in unexpected places – and the Odon Device is a prime example. Jorge Odon’s idea came from a common problem: how to remove a cork stuck inside a wine bottle.

Solution:

Innovative ideas are often found in unexpected places – and the Odon Device is a prime example. Jorge Odon’s idea came from a common problem: how to remove a cork stuck inside a wine bottle. The clever, yet simple, trick involves using a plastic bag, fed into the bottle and inflated, to enclose and pull out the cork without damaging the bottle.

Using the same principle as the wine bottle and cork trick, the Odon Device, operated by a midwife, consists of a special tool for insertion into the birth canal with a pump and plastic sleeve that safely envelops and extracts the baby. The Odon Device can save thousands of lives in lower-income countries, particularly because it does not require an obstetrician or high-skilled provider, and it’s inexpensive to manufacture (about USD50 per unit).

The Odon Device originated as a clever idea from a car mechanic, but intellectual property protections helped bring it to life. Jorge Odon’s first step was filing a patent, he then created a functioning prototype with the help of a local obstetrician. Soon thereafter, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the University of Iowa brought the prototype through clinical trials, demonstrating the efficacy of the innovative device.

Jorge Odon and his team have since granted a license to Becton Dickinson (BD), a medical device manufacturer in the United States, for further development, manufacture and commercialization. Soon, the Odon Device will be a fully tested, safe and effective medical device that helps reduce the risks associated with childbirth for mothers and babies around the world.