Tablet-sized ultrasound system to care for Africa’s mothers - CNBC Africa

Tablet-sized ultrasound system to care for Africa’s mothers


by Isaac Esipisu 0

Royal Philips has introduced a tabled-sized clinical innovation system to address maternal health in Africa. PHOTO: Philips

The innovative miniaturized ultra-mobile ultrasound system (VISIQ) will bring high quality, affordable healthcare to a wide range of clinicians.

VISIQ is the first ultra-mobile system from Philips and it provides high quality images for expectant mothers wherever care is taking place.

“Improving access to healthcare is high on the Philips agenda in Africa and we are very eager to contribute to vision 2030 goals of the Kenyan government to improve access to quality care for all Kenyans”, vice president and general manager, Philips Healthcare Africa, Peter van de Ven said during the unveiling of VISIQ in Nairobi, Kenya.

Improving maternal health is a Millennium Development Goal 5 (MDG) of the United Nations Millennium Declaration: a road map of goals to address poverty widely prevalent in the world’s developing nations. 

Two targets were selected to monitor progress towards MDG 5 by the 2015 deadline: 1) reducing the maternal mortality ratio by 75 per cent and; 2) increasing the proportion of births attended by skilled health care personnel by 90 per cent. 

“The availability of a low-cost, accessible and affordable ultrasound program may assist progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5 by encouraging women in a rural environment to come to a health care facility for skilled antenatal care and delivery assistance instead of utilizing more traditional methods,” said Van de Ven. 

The Philips Fabric of Africa trends report reveals that women in Africa are at significant risk of premature death, with particular high mortality rates recorded in pregnancy. Women in semi-urban and rural areas across Kenya (in fact all of Africa) often die due to preventable complications during child birth as they have no access to ultrasound screenings to detect critical conditions. Many of these deaths can be diagnosed with basic imaging technology.

One of the benefits of VISIQ is that it is portable and easy to use so it’s available for expectant mothers in remote areas who wouldn’t otherwise have access to this type of innovative technology. “It makes me proud to see how Philips’ cost-effective, easy to operate ultrasound systems can make a real difference in Africa. It shows that meaningful innovations can contribute to saving people’s lives,” said Van de Ven.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diagnostic imaging is crucial in healthcare. Many countries in the developing world cannot afford to purchase expensive high technology imaging equipment despite the urgent need to use imaging resources in these countries.

“There is a growing global focus on cost effective systems, smaller footprints and imaging equipment which is both easier to operate but has improved clinical functionality. The Philips VISIQ has been specifically designed with this in mind and embodies Philips’ image quality legacy, driving innovation and efficiency in ultrasound imaging. VISIQ provides high quality images for quick and reliable diagnostic decision making,” notes Van de Ven.

VISIQ’s unique combination of mobility, ease of use and image quality, will enable clinicians to perform ultrasound examinations across a variety of clinical settings. Small outpatient clinics or community centres can carry out comprehensive obstetric and abdominal scans themselves rather than referring patients to regional ultrasound centres.

Peter Van de Ven said that as a technology company Philips is dedicated to creating the future of health care and driven to help solve the world’s toughest clinical challenges through meaningful innovation.