According to the Philips Fabric of Africa trends report, women in Africa are at significant risk of premature death, with particular high mortality rates recorded in pregnancy. In Uganda, complications during pregnancy and childbirth contribute to 358,000 maternal deaths annually. Philips is addressing this challenge by providing ITW cost-effective ultrasound solutions in rural areas where ultrasound exams are not routinely available.
The Philips ClearVue 350 - cost-effective and portable ultrasound machines, are utilized to scan pregnant women. The acquired images are transmitted digitally via a cell phone modem to a remote internet server where they can then be accessed by a credentialed reviewer, either in-country or abroad, for interpretation. An abbreviated report of the findings is sent via SMS to the nurse midwife with the full report sent by email enabling mid-level healthcare workers to provide high quality care.
This model, incorporating low-power ultrasound machines, has been successfully developed and tested for obstetric ultrasound imaging in rural Uganda, with implementation at 11 different healthcare facilities. Following co-founded research in Uganda, carried out by ITW, we have observed creation of demand for high quality antenatal care at the clinics where ultrasound is present. This has resulted in an increase in the proportion of attended births by skilled healthcare workers as well as a significant increase in the number of antenatal visits per pregnancy. These well-recognized healthcare quality measures are likely to directly improve maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity.