How groundbreaking portable ultrasound will revolutionize healthcare in Africa

Global medical device distribution firm Butterfly is giving 1,000 healthcare workers in Africa devices to advance maternal and fetal health in a part of the world where a mother surviving childbirth is never taken for granted

Equipped with Butterfly ultrasound technology, hundreds of healthcare providers throughout Kenya will be able to use handheld ultrasound to treat and care for hundreds of thousands of pregnant patients. PHOTO/ COURTESY

Did you know that 830 women die every day from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications? Or that of the 2.6 million stillbirths that occur annually, 98 percent take place in low- and middle-income countries? Even more upsetting, most stillbirths result from preventable conditions that can be identified with ultrasound.

Butterfly Network, Inc. (NYSE: BFLY), a digital health company transforming care through the power of handheld, whole-body ultrasound and connected medicine, today announced the deployment of 500 Butterfly iQ+ devices to healthcare practitioners in Kenya, at a ceremony at Kenyatta University.

This deployment is supported by a $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced earlier this year that will provide 1,000 healthcare workers (predominantly midwives) in Sub-Saharan Africa with the world’s only handheld, whole-body ultrasound probe to advance maternal and fetal health.

“The vast majority of the world’s population lacks access to medical imaging equipment and training, a gap that limits what’s possible when it comes to assessing the health and risk of a patient and a community at large. With Butterfly, we are changing that,” said Darius Shahida, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Business Development Officer, Butterfly Network.

“Our work here in Kenya represents the beginning of what’s possible in terms of providing practitioners with the tools, training, and confidence to transform care with ultrasound information. Obstetricians in high-income countries use ultrasound every day and so we’re honored to empower midwives across Africa with the same ability – one we know will meaningfully enhance care for pregnant women and their unborn infants.”

“Kenyatta University is honoured to partner with Global Ultrasound Institute and Butterfly Network in this momentous occasion. Maternal and fetal care in Kenya today is stronger because of companies like Butterfly, Global Ultrasound Institute and friends like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” said Prof. Waceke Wanjohi, Acting Vice-Chancellor, Kenyatta University.

“Hundreds of practitioners equipped with Butterfly devices and training will now be able to help bring improved care for mothers and their children in our communities.”

According to the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, about 830 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications around the world every day with more than half of these deaths occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa.

As part of the launch today at Kenyatta University, Butterfly Network convened 50 practitioners who were each provided a Butterfly device and obstetric ultrasound training. Through a training-of-trainers program a total of 500 practitioners will be trained by the end-of-the year by the Global Ultrasound Institute, bringing ultrasound capabilities to over 50 facilities in rural, underserved communities facing maternal health challenges.

Partners including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Kenyatta University, Global Ultrasound Institute, and Jamf also contributed to making this initiative possible. The ceremony featured clinicians being trained on-site to use the Butterfly devices and local pregnant women who received ultrasound exams for the very first time.

“Expanding access to medical imaging technology in Kenya is critical to maternal and fetal health. Equally important to expanded access is the personalized training that hundreds of healthcare providers received through this deployment,” said Dr. Kevin Bergman, Co-Founder and CEO of Global Ultrasound Institute, a global leader in ultrasound training and a key implementing partner for this initiative .

“Equipped with Butterfly ultrasound technology, hundreds of healthcare providers throughout Kenya will be able to use handheld ultrasound to treat and care for hundreds of thousands of pregnant patients because of the training they received from the Global Ultrasound Institute at Kenyatta University.”

“Jamf is proud to partner with Butterfly to expand access to maternal healthcare through technology,” said Dean Hager, CEO of Jamf, the standard in Apple Enterprise Management. “The power of iPad plus Jamf’s software ensures each device is set up with the right permissions and restrictions, so that each practitioner can have a rapid login process and express scan mode while ensuring patient privacy is intact and data is secure. We look forward to continuing to work with Butterfly on this important mission.”

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