The Wind-up Foetal Doppler will be commercialised by the Philips Africa Innovation Hub, which is the centre for developing innovations “in Africa-for Africa” in the areas of healthcare, lighting and healthy living.
The Philips Africa Innovation Hub has unveiled the first Philips prototype of the Wind-up Foetal Doppler, underpinning its commitment to the partnership. The prototype is subject to clinical testing and regulatory approval, before release for general usage.
Women and infants in semi-urban and rural areas across Africa often die due to preventable complications during child birth. Many infants, especially in under-resourced settings die during labour or suffer brain injury due to an inadequate supply of oxygen to the baby during the hours that the mother is in labour.
Many of these deaths could be prevented and cases of brain injury avoided, using a Doppler ultrasound monitor that helps midwives and delivering nurses to monitor the baby’s wellbeing during labour.
Current methods to measure the foetal heart rate are either too expensive, too inaccurate or rely on replaceable batteries or electricity to run; the Wind-up Foetal Doppler is especially designed to empower midwives and delivering nurses to give better care.
“It is very hard to do an accurate measurement with a Pinard-stethoscope, because you need to be able to hear the foetal heart well and count the rate correctly. It is often also uncomfortable for the mother. A Doppler ultrasound foetal heart rate monitor is a good solution, but the current monitors on the market require mains or battery power, and are not robust enough,” says Anneke Jagau a midwife working for PET.
PET has been working on the development of the hand cranked, Wind-up Foetal Doppler for many years, and verified the positive impact of the device in tests in Uganda,, where 60% more cases of abnormal foetal heart rate were detected in labour, compared to the standard Pinard-stethoscope.
Maarten van Herpen, head of the Philips Africa Innovation Hub, says: “Philips is open to collaborations with key stakeholders, including governments and NGOs, to create impactful innovations that matter to people and address the key challenges that confront society.
“PET has invested many years in the development of this important idea. I am honoured that PET has chosen Philips as the company that is best positioned to commercialise it and make it available across Africa.”
“We are very excited about the collaboration with Philips,” says Dr Francois Bonnici, director of PET and Director of the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation at the University of Cape Town.
“We chose to work with Philips because of a strong alignment on the mission to improve people’s lives with meaningful innovation. As a market leader in healthcare, Philips will be able to make our innovation available and affordable for frontline health care workers across the African continent.”