philipsRoyal Philips (AEX: PHIA, NYSE: PHG) yesterday showcased in Kampala how cost-effective ultrasound technology can reduce maternal mortality in rural areas in Uganda.

By using Philips’ ultrasound imaging technology for preventive screening of expectant mothers, a study by Imaging the World (ITW) shows that through early detection of complications, women at-risk can be referred to appropriate care centers in time. Multipurpose and easy to handle, Philips’ ClearVue Ultrasound technology also gives Ugandan healthcare providers a diagnostic tool for early detection of breast cancer allowing for timely treatment.

Philips announced these initial positive results as part of the Uganda leg of its fourth consecutive Cape Town to Cairo Roadshow 2013. Through knowledge sharing and by providing clinical training to local healthcare professionals in Kampala, Philips aims to contribute towards the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 aimed at reducing maternal and infant mortality.

Saving lives, one ultrasound scan at a time

JJ van Dongen, Senior Vice President and CEO of Philips Africa: “People in rural areas in Africa often die due to preventable complications as they have no advance warning of critical conditions. Many of these deaths can be diagnosed with basic imaging technology. It makes me proud to see how Philips’ cost-effective, easy to use ultrasound systems can make a real difference in people’s lives. It shows that meaningful innovations can be true life-savers.”

JJ van Dongen is visiting Uganda from 27-28 June and will participate in a Philips-hosted roundtable discussion bringing together national and international healthcare experts to debate how technology can strengthen the public health system of Uganda. In addition to this Philips will provide two days of clinical trainings for 125 local healthcare professionals at the Mulago Hospital in Kampala.

Maternal screening allows for early detection of complications

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.

Breast-screening project

Philips’ ultrasound systems can be used in multiple settings; beside maternal screening ITW is also using Philips technology to detect breast cancer. According to the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI), breast cancer has the second highest cancer incidence and mortality among women in Africa. It is a disease that increasingly impacts the lives of young women in Uganda, their families and their communities.

ITW has developed an innovative way to detect breast cancer using Philips ultrasound technology, instead of the more traditional x-ray mammography.

This technique enables Ugandan healthcare workers to diagnose breast cancer in women who live in rural, resource-limited settings and have no access to mammography. Ultrasound imaging as a diagnostic tool allows for early detection of breast cancer enabling appropriate treatment. This life-saving and innovative approach to breast cancer detection in resource limited-areas might serve as a blue-print for the future of diagnosis breast cancer in Africa.

Cape Town to Cairo Roadshow 2013

The Cape Town to Cairo Roadshow 2013 is visiting Uganda for the second time and is in Kampala from 27 -28 June 2013. Primarily focused on Mother and Child Care, the roadshow aims to support and raise awareness on how meaningful innovations can enhance life in Africa. The roadshow kicked-off in Cape Town on May 14th and will make its way across seventeen countries and eighteen cities in Africa.

With clinical education and training programs for African healthcare professionals and through large scale healthcare revitalization projects, Philips helps to improve standards of care in Africa. To further drive this agenda, Philips has also launched the collaborative ‘Fabric of Africa’ campaign to drive public-private partnerships and to improve healthcare access across the continent.

The Roadshow will make its next stop in Accra, Ghana, on 2nd July.