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Butterfly Network boosts ultrasound scans in Kenya with 500-probe deployment

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 27, 2022
Ultrasound Women's Health
Butterfly Network has deployed 500 of its Butterfly iQ+ ultrasound probes to healthcare workers in Kenya. (Photo courtesy of Butterfly Network)
Butterfly Network has distributed 500 of its Butterfly iQ+ ultrasound systems to healthcare workers in Kenya to increase access to and improve maternal and fetal health assessments.

Deployment of the devices was funded by a $5 million grant issued earlier this year by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that will go toward equipping 1,000 healthcare workers, predominantly midwives, in Sub-Saharan Africa with the only hand-held, whole-body ultrasound probe in the world.

A ceremony was held at Kenyatta University, another partner in the initiative along with the Global Ultrasound Institute and Jamf. There, on-site training with the solution was performed on local pregnant women who received their very first ultrasound exams.

“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 at Butterfly Network, in a statement.

About 830 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications worldwide each day. More than half of these deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa,

The Global Ultrasound Institute will offer obstetric ultrasound training to 50 practitioners, with a training-of-trainers program offered to 500 by the end of the year. This will extend ultrasound capabilities to over 50 facilities in rural underserved areas.

Jamf’s software will protect the devices with permission and restriction settings, a rapid login process and express scan mode to ensure patient privacy is intact.

“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 the Global Ultrasound Institute.

The Medical University of South Carolina recently deployed another of Butterfly Network’s solutions, Butterfly Blueprint, among its clinicians and students to accelerate point-of-care access.

The solution is the world’s first and only whole-body ultrasound-on-chip technology and can be used with Apple and Android smartphones or tablets to assess different areas of the body. It also fits in a pocket and is powered by cloud-connected software and hardware on a mobile app.

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