Royal Philps has announced the start of a unique healthcare project in Ghana: ‘Touching 1 million Ghanaian lives by 2020’.
The initiative aims to make preventive screening available to expectant women by providing ultrasound imaging equipment including training of healthcare professionals, maintenance and technical support to 10 healthcare facilities across the country.
The project will be executed in phases in close cooperation with key local stakeholders including the Ministry of Health. The announcement was made as part of the Ghanaian leg of Philips’ fourth consecutive Cape Town to Cairo Roadshow 2013; through which Philips aims to contribute towards the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 aimed at reducing maternal and infant mortality.
A two-phased project
The ‘Touching 1 million lives by 2020’ initiative, falls under Philips’ collaborative ‘Fabric of Africa’ campaign which drives public-private partnerships to improve healthcare access across the continent; and is closely linked to Philips’ vision to improve the lives of 3 billion people a year by 2025.
The initiative will be conducted in two phases. During the first phase Philips will provide the Ministry of Health, with a Philips ClearVue 350 ultrasound machine and all inherent services for the duration of the program, such as local technical management and execution support and training of healthcare staff. Education and training of healthcare professionals will be central to the success and sustainability of the program.
During the second phase, Philips will extend this program to 9 healthcare facilities across the country and contribute an additional 9 ultrasound machines over a period of 2 years with the ultimate goal of impacting one million mothers and children by 2020 who currently have limited or no access to even basic healthcare screening.
Dr Tia Sugri Alfred, Deputy Minister of Health states: “We are very happy that Philips has come back to Ghana; we have a long relationship with Philips and we are glad they have undertaken this initiative that will reduce maternal and infant mortality and allow us to meet our targets related to the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5”.
Philips and the relevant healthcare facilities will closely cooperate to capture the appropriate clinical data in this program in order to clearly assess and evaluate its impact, areas of improvement and lessons learned.
Important performance metrics for the program include amongst others: data on the number of women screened, the number of women diagnosed with complications and treatment outcomes of diagnosed patients.
Maternal screening allows for early detection of complications
Among developing regions, sub-Saharan Africa had the highest rate at 640 maternal deaths per 100000 live births in 2008. Almost all of these deaths occurred in low-resource settings and most could have been prevented.
Millions of African mothers, particularly in rural areas, struggle to get access to basic forms of imaging, and there is high demand for ultrasound solutions in most African countries where governments are struggling to expand and upgrade critical health infrastructure.
The Philips ClearVue systems, which can make high quality imaging available to clinicians, may help more African mothers deliver their children safely.
The need for better and more efficient healthcare infrastructure including clinical training is underlined in the Fabric of Africa Trends Report and infographic on healthcare services across Africa; commissioned by Philips. The report reflects that mortality rates for women and children in Africa continue to rise and are amongst the highest in the world due to a lack of adequate antenatal care.
JJ van Dongen, Senior Vice President and CEO of Philips Africa: “This initiative is fully in line with Philips’ dedication to the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 that aim to reduce infant mortality by two thirds and maternal deaths by three-quarters by 2015.
Worldwide, complications of pregnancy and childbirth contribute to 358,000 maternal deaths, almost all which occurred in low-resource settings and most could have been prevented. The use of ultrasound is imperative for health providers to rule out a number of these pregnancy complications as a diagnostic tool to address the most important factors in maternal and neonatal mortality.”
Philips has been operating in Africa for over a century and has a long tradition in supporting various Ministries of Health in developing comprehensive and sustainable healthcare revitalization projects. Philips offers eLearning courses for a wide range of medical professionals, and has established partnerships with leading Academic Universities across Africa to improve the practical, clinical and technological knowledge and skills of students in the healthcare discipline.
As part of the Cape Town to Cairo Roadshow, Philips is again committed to and providing workshops at the Ridge Hospital, Accra on fetal monitoring, infant warming, jaundice management and clinical ultrasound for midwives, maternity nurses, obstetricians and ultrasound practitioners. Philips will train over 100 local healthcare professionals over a course of two-days.
By: Lorrencia Nkrumah/citifmonine.com/Ghana