CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

18 June 2014

Kenya: New Philips Visiq Ultra Sound System Set to Reduce Maternal Deaths By 40 Percent

Royal Philips has today unveiled the first innovative ultra-mobile ultra sound system that will help reduce maternal deaths by close to 40%.

Dubbed as Philips VISIQ, the device will retail at 14500 USD and will see women in semi-urban and rural areas benefit from ultrasound screenings to detect critical conditions of the unborn baby.

"It makes me proud to see how Philips' cost effective easy to operate ultrasound systems can make a real difference in Africa. It shows meaningful innovations can contribute to saving people's lives," said Peter van de Ven Vice President and General Manager Philips Healthcare Africa.

It is estimated that 7,700 women die each year in Kenya from pregnancy related complications. This translates to 21 women dying each day or one woman every hour from preventable causes, making the need to address safe motherhood a human rights imperative. The Kenya Demographic Survey (2008/2009) also indicates that maternal mortality has remained unacceptably high at an average of 488 deaths per 100,000 live births up from 414 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2003. Newborn deaths are also unacceptably high with an estimated 140 newborn deaths per day, however, with the introduction of this device, complications are set to be detected early enough therefore the deaths are set to reduce drastically.

Philips VISIQ was launched today in the Kenyan market as part of Philips annual pan-African Cairo to Cape Town Roadshow, currently in its fifth consecutive year. The roadshow enables Philips get a better understanding of each country's unique requirements and develop relevant technology to support the needs on maternal and infant health.

Currently, 53 healthcare professionals have been trained on how to use the gadget and they are set to train 120 health professionals. The gadget is the size of a tablet, and uses a smartphone technology making it portable and easy to use and also available for expectant mothers in remote areas who wouldn't otherwise have access to this type of innovative technology.

In relation to this, Philips is also organizing a maternity screening camp during the roadshow jointly with AMREF in Kibera for expectant mothers where they will have a scan to ensure that any complications are detected in advance of labour. Philips will provide ultra sound equipment including the VISIQ system and clinical specialists for the camp while AMREF will take care of any complications detected during the screening.

Kenya being Philips' Africa hub will be the first country to benefit from the gadget.

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