In March, Butterfly Network announced a $5 million grant to improve maternal and fetal health in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided the grant.
The funds went toward providing 1,000 healthcare workers in the area with the Butterfly iQ+ handheld, whole-body point-of-care ultrasound probe. In September, Butterfly announced that it deployed 500 Butterfly iQ+ devices to healthcare practitioners in Kenya.
Butterfly said in a news release today that it completed the first phase of its program. It represents “an important step” in improving worldwide access to essential medical imaging, the company said.
Ten cohorts with 514 total practitioners completed their training as part of the program. They now have the skills and equipment to bring free point-of-care ultrasound to 224 facilities across eight Kenyan counties. That also extends to two urban facilities and three training institutions in Nairobi. Many of these facilities exist in rural settings without access to broadband.
Butterfly Network said initial data demonstrates an impressive adoption rate. At one month post-training, a survey showed that 90% of respondents identified a high-risk condition using Butterfly iQ+.
“Maternal mortality from pregnancy and childbirth-related complications still occur at exceedingly high rates in Sub-Saharan Africa due to limited access to standard resources for maternal-fetal care,” said Dr. Sachita Shah, senior director of global health, Butterfly Network. “Witnessing such interest and fast adoption of our advanced digital device in these clinics has been inspirational. Together with our local university partners and the Global Ultrasound Institute, we have empowered mid-level practitioners with the technology, skills and clinical integration knowledge to save lives.”
More about the Butterfly Network program in Kenya
Butterfly Network said it accelerated the launch of new maternal and fetal health materials available through Butterfly iQ+’s mobile application. This comes as part of an effort to enable long-term, scalable impact under the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant.
All distributed Butterfly devices and tablets came pre-loaded with educational material. This aimed to provide continued learning and advanced content at no cost.
The company expects to launch the second phase of its deployment under the same grant in the first half of 2023. Its plan includes bringing another 500 Butterfly iQ+ devices to healthcare practitioners in South Africa.
“At Butterfly, we are on a mission to transform care through easy-to-use, portable and versatile ultrasound technology to benefit all patients worldwide. We see our work in the area of maternal and fetal health as fundamental to our continued impact toward better clinical assessment overall,” said Darius Shahida, chief strategy officer and chief business development officer, Butterfly Network. “We are proud of and confident in our work in Kenya, which will serve as a prototype that can be leveraged and optimized to continue improving access to imaging in other limited resource settings.”