Bringing maternal care to remote communities in Africa
In remote African communities, there is often an acute shortage of trained ultrasound specialists. Pregnant women living in the vast rural areas of Kenya, for example, may have to travel many hours to the nearest hospital. This makes it difficult for these women to adhere to the World Health Organization’s recommendation that every pregnant woman should undergo at least one ultrasound scan, preferably in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, to accurately estimate gestational age, detect fetal anomalies, and improve a woman’s overall pregnancy experience.
That’s why the Philips Foundation, together with local clinical partners and the Ministry of Health, is working to put portable ultrasound into the hands of trained midwives at primary care facilities and connect these midwives to specialists in urban hospitals. Through a combination of in-person training, remote education, and real-time video collaboration, midwives can build the skills and confidence required to perform routine basic obstetric screenings. They can identify high-risk women for timely referral and treatment and give these pregnant women a much better chance of bringing a healthy child into the world.