Did you know that 310 out of every 100,000 live births in Uganda are prone to childbirth complications leading to maternal deaths? The collaboration between Royal Philips Technology and a non-profit body, Imaging the World (ITW) brings forth a ray of hope.
Philips and Imaging the World (ITW) have proven that Ultrasound technology, which is now being used in pregnancy scans across the remote areas of Uganda, has led to a reduction in maternal mortality rate.
This discovery was made public in Uganda during the premier Philips Cairo to Cape Town 2012 Road Show and was based on a research carried out by ITW. The research revealed that over a 6-month period, there was a 50% rise in the number of antenatal care visits and successful deliveries at rural Health Centre III in Uganda, compared to the preceding year.
According to the World Health Organization, over 80% of maternal mortality occurs in regions of high birth rate and restricted access to medical facilities. A significant fraction of these deaths could have been averted with the use of ultrasound technology, which reveals pregnancy-related complications early enough to receive attention.
According to Dr. Kristen DeStigter, a radiologist and co-founder of ITW, “The Philips alliance has presented a ground-breaking solution to diagnostic care and is aimed at addressing the needs of the world’s most impoverished areas. By integrating advanced ultrasound systems with education and a network of highly skilled experts, medical services have now become accessible to those who need it the most.”
How success was achieved
Ultrasound images, generated by trained medical workers are digitally transmitted to professionals in Uganda over the ITW network. An Ultrasound professional then diagnoses the patient who receives a text message, advising them of their medical condition.
According to Peter van de Ven, the General Manager of Philips Healthcare Africa, the objective is to “reduce the scarcity of ultrasound technology in less-privileged regions of the world through the use of affordable solutions.”
Philips has re-affirmed its commitment to continuing its partnership with ITW. This commitment was expressed through the donation of 8 new ClearVue Systems to ITW. The plan involves extending their services to other regions in Africa.
The Road Show started in Cairo on May 14, 2012 and is scheduled to visit eleven countries and seventeen cities in Africa; it was introduced in support of Millennium Development Goals aimed at reducing infant and maternal mortality rates in Uganda by 2015.
Another notable aspect of the road show is a roundtable discussion including a keynote address by Her Excellency, Mrs Janet Museveni, the Ugandan First Lady & Minister for Karamoja Affairs. During the road show, Philips will also display some of its new products and engage with their customers.
Philips has been involved in the introduction of healthcare technologies, solutions and training of healthcare practitioners in Uganda. The appointment of Dash-S Technologies as its local partner will also ensure that Philips can maintain and expand its services to the Ugandan market.
As part of the moves to evaluate the quality of ultrasound images, the details of over a thousand patients have been successfully stored on a remote PACS server.