In a number of projects supported by the Philips Foundation, ways will be explored to use mobile ultrasound technology at primary care level, performed by midwives and supported by remote experts through telehealth, to enhance availability of affordable services in the underserved communities and remote areas of Kenya.
A project called “Mimba Yangu” in collaboration with the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health of the Aga Khan University, will explore the feasibility, impact and costs of quality antenatal care; investigate if setting up a full ‘referral chain’ will lead to improved uptake of antenatal care; and examine if ultrasound before 24 weeks of pregnancy, as recommended by WHO, will result in better health outcomes for mothers and babies.
Meanwhile, Philips Foundation, together with Amref International University, will test the financial viability of an ultrasound delivery model through businesses of midwives. In a separate project with the PharmAccess Foundation, it will be investigated what price pregnant women can pay for antenatal ultrasound scanning and if the availability and affordability of ultrasound screening stimulates pregnant women to start earlier with antenatal care.
Another project related to the detection of high-risk pregnancies will be done by the Kenya Red Cross Society and the Philips Foundation. It will aim to reach 250,000 people with a tool developed and tested earlier by Philips Foundation and the International Committee of the Red Cross – the High-Risk Pregnancy Referral Cards. The tool consists of a set of visual cards, aimed to improve the conversation of midwives, community health workers and birth assistants with pregnant women, to increase awareness on healthy pregnancies and identification of at risk pregnancies and making timely referrals for care. The project will also have a component of the sensitization of front line health workers on high-risk pregnancy identification and timely referrals for action.