Philips and Imaging the World join forces to improve quality of health care in Uganda


Hospital & Healthcare Management/ Press Release/  March 1st 2011 :–Royal Philips Electronics announced its collaboration with the non-profit organization Imaging the World (ITW). The joint ambition of the organizations is to improve the quality of people’s lives and healthcare in Africa through meaningful healthcare solutions, education and research. The organizations’ work together consists of three strong pillars: contribution of two Philips CX50 CompactXtreme portable ultrasound systems for use in Uganda, technical training on the ultrasound systems, and financial support. Philips will provide USD 100K to support joint research projects that will provide insight into the customer needs for a low-cost ultrasound solution in rural areas where ultrasound exams are not routinely available. Initial research is focused on examining the impact of ultrasound diagnosis on rural populations. ITW is initially collecting data on the impact of ultrasound on potentially life-threatening maternal conditions that impact maternal/fetal morbidity and mortality.

Research : three strong pillars ITW, with Philips’ support, is developing and deploying a program to teach people who are unskilled in using ultrasound to scan patients, and to wirelessly transmit the images to a central server for remote reading.  An ultrasound expert subsequently sends a reply text message with a preliminary diagnosis so that the patient will know whether to seek clinical care. This research will help bring understanding of the challenges associated with training inexperienced ultrasound users to obtain clinically useful scans.  ITW and Philips are committed to continuing the project in Uganda and potentially scaling it up into other African countries in the future.

Improve healthcare in Africa

ITW has placed the Philips CX50’s in Uganda – a country that has one of the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality in the world. In 2000, the World Health Report ranked Uganda’s Health Profile 186th out of 191 countries. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 11 percent of the world’s population, yet bears 24 percent of the global disease burden and commands less than 1 percent of global health expenditures.

“Grass-roots level studies have demonstrated how severe the combined effects of early motherhood, lack of awareness of basic nutrition and poor pre-natal, postnatal and early childhood care can be on a growing and developing nation like Uganda. While we have made significant strides in recent years to reduce infant mortality and the number of women dying from childbirth, women in Uganda still continue to be vulnerable to serious health issues especially during child birth. Maternal mortality is often due to relatively minor complications which could be easily addressed if technology was available” said Dr. Alphonsus Matovu, general surgeon, Kamuli Mission Hospital.

“The contributions made by Imaging the World and Philips have proved to be a turning point in the healthcare for the people of this region. The Philips CX50 Ultrasound provided to our hospital has allowed us to improve workflow and productivity. The small physical format and great flexibility of the CX50 are major benefits that are helpful in making a quicker, more confident diagnosis in critically ill patients”.
Broad perspective

“At Philips, we applaud the fact that the not-for-profit and commercial sector develop joint initiatives towards making healthcare more accessible and affordable”, says Martien Druiven, general manager, Philips Healthcare East Africa. “At Philips we strive to improve the quality of lives and healthcare in Africa. We believe this goal can be achieved best when approached from a broad, holistic, structural perspective; not only by providing hardware and financial support, but also by providing access to education, sharing of best practices, knowledge transfer and improved collaboration between public and private stakeholders.”

Revolutionary approach

“Ultrasound is unavailable or inaccessible in many of the world’s most impoverished regions,” says Dr. Kristen DeStigter, president and co-founder of ITW. “With the Philips alliance, we are able to offer a revolutionary approach to diagnostic care. By integrating ultrasound technology with education and a network of dedicated professionals, we are bringing medical expertise and quality healthcare to those who need it most.”
The Philips CX50 CompactXtreme portable ultrasound system

The Philips CX50 CompactXtreme combines the image quality expected of a traditional, premium, full-size system with the convenience of portability. The CX50 CompactXtreme incorporates features migrated from the Philips iE33 and iU22 premium cart-based systems. PureWave transducers have been clinically proven to improve image quality across the patient population, especially on technically-difficult patients. The system also features SonoCT real-time compounding technology and XRES adaptive image processing for images that are virtually free from artefacts and noise, displaying well-defined anatomy and pathology.

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