It will now be easier to detect complications during pregnancy with the entry of a portable ultrasound device, the first of its kind in the country.
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Instead of using the common 70-kilogramme ultrasound machine, medics will now have access to the new Lumify device that can easily fit into one’s pocket.
Kenya is the first country on the continent to introduce the device developed by Philips, an electronics giant in the healthcare sector.
Lumify has also been used in the United States and Latin America. It is intended to be used in remote regions where patients don't have ready access to the standard ultrasound machine.
The device is made up of a probe or transducer (the part used to make images) and a detachable cable that a midwife or health worker can connect to a smartphone to project the images.
The device was first used in Narok on Wednesday during the launch of a free safari medical camp by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, which is aimed at improving healthcare in rural areas.
Two out of 44 women checked were found to have placenta previa, which is a low-lying placenta. This means the woman cannot give birth normally and will need to be monitored regularly until delivery.
The device is also set to be launched in Nairobi today by Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki.
“There can be numerous abnormalities, so such a scan can basically rule out any dangers or immediately have the patient directed to the higher level of care on time,” said Anari de Wet, Philips ultrasound business marketing manager for Africa.
The device, as explained by Ms de Wet, should not be solely relied upon as a diagnostic gadget as its operation depends on other factors, among them the person interpreting and resolution of the images.
According to the United Nations Population Fund, at least 488 women out of every 100,000 births die, which makes Kenyan among the countries with high maternal mortality.