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Kenya has achieved another first following the introduction of a mobile phone powered ultrasound device, which is aimed at improving maternal healthcare in rural areas.

The utilisation of the new Lumify device, which has been developed by Healthcare technology firm Philips Africa, makes Kenya the first country on the continent to use it.

The new ultrasound device is made up of a detachable cable that holds the transducer, which now a midwife or medic can connect to a smartphone to project the images.

The device was put in use on Wednesday in Narok during the launch of the free Beyond Zero Medical Safari camp by first lady Margaret Kenyatta. The camp will see a large array of medical service providers come together to offer specialized services to the public at designated locations.

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.

Maternal screening allows for early detection of complications

According to the Philips Fabric of Africa trends report, women in Africa are at significant risk of premature death, with particularly 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 childbirth as they have no access to ultrasound screenings to detect critical conditions. Many of these deaths can be diagnosed with basic imaging technology,” the report states.

Kenya’s maternal deaths currently stand at about 500 for every 100,000 live births, according to a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund.


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