Q&A with Mubin Yousef, NAVi's CTO
Over 15 million babies are born premature globally each year, with many of them being born in developing nations. As a result, there are a large number of critically-ill newborns that have limited access to medical innovations compared to that of developed countries like Australia and the United States.
This lack of accessibility is at the heart of what drives the team at NAVi, and this is particularly true for NAVi Chief Technical Officer Mubin Yousef; who is originally from Pakistan and has a unique and personal drive in helping newborns that need it most.
Mubin has recently returned from a trip to Pakistan, where he spent time speaking with doctors and hospitals in Karachi to better understand the problems developing nations like Pakistan face in intensive neonatal and paediatric care, and how companies like NAVi can develop products to help give children brighter, happier futures.
Q: Who are you and what do you do?
MY: My name is Mubin and I have a master’s degree in biomedical engineering. I am currently a cofounder and Chief Technology Officer at NAVi Medical Technologies; I am also working part-time as a research engineer at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute’s Cardiovascular Bioengineering Team.
Q: What is the current state of the health care system in Pakistan?
MY: Healthcare in Pakistan is divided into two big sectors, the government/public sector and the private sector. Each have their own inpatient and outpatient departments. The public sector receives funding from the government and offers patient care either as free or at very low cost whereas the private sector is relatively high in terms of cost to the patients. Due to the government negligence towards the healthcare system, the quality of healthcare at public hospitals is considered very poor compared to the private sector. As a result, there is insufficient infrastructure to cater for Pakistan's growing population, with hospitals using low cost or very outdated technologies. In addition, public sector institutions lack staff with sufficient skills again due to limited funding for training, as well as cultural hires through nepotism.
Q: What are the current needs and problems facing paediatric and neonatal medicine in Pakistan?
MY: My experience visiting NICU’s [neonatal intensive care units] in Pakistan was very enlightening, especially in the public sector. I visited one of the largest public NICUs of Pakistan, and what was most surprising was that there was a 22 day waiting line for patients to get a standard Xray - a sobering reflection of how understaffed and over populated with patients some hospitals in Pakistan can be.
Q: As an engineer, what most excites you about developing the neoNAV?
MY: It would have to be utilising cutting-edge AI [artificial intelligence] in collaborate with neonatologists and electrophysiologists to develop a medical device that makes a big difference to premature babies. A dream come true!