Butterfly Network, CHAI, and Global Ultrasound Institute join forces for maternal and fetal health in South Africa.

Butterfly Network, Inc. (“Butterfly”), a pioneering digital health company focused on revolutionizing healthcare with portable, semiconductor-based ultrasound technology and user-friendly software, has announced a collaborative effort involving three key players: the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), a globally recognized health organization dedicated to saving lives and bolstering health systems, and the Global Ultrasound Institute (GUSI), a leading authority in ultrasound education. This partnership aims to advance maternal and fetal health in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in South Africa.

This collaborative endeavor marks Phase Two of Butterfly’s ambitious initiative to deploy 1,000 iQ+ probes, a handheld ultrasound device, and provide training in point-of-care ultrasound for maternal and fetal health in the region. This initiative is made possible through a $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as previously announced by Butterfly in March 2022. Phase One of the program saw the successful distribution of 500 iQ+ probes across Kenya in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Under the banner of Siyakubona, which translates to “we see you” in Zulu, Phase Two seeks to distribute the remaining 500 iQ+ devices to healthcare workers across up to six provinces in South Africa. The program kicked off in the Eastern Cape province, where approximately 50 mid-level practitioners are participating in a comprehensive week-long training program facilitated by GUSI. This training equips healthcare workers with the necessary skills and confidence to conduct obstetric ultrasound screenings, focusing on key indicators such as fetal position and the presence of multiples. These screenings are essential for ensuring quality pregnancy care and identifying high-risk conditions early on.

Dr. Sachita Shah, Senior Director of Global Health at Butterfly Network, expressed pride in continuing to address maternal health equity through Phase Two of this groundbreaking initiative. South Africa, despite being an emerging market, grapples with disproportionately high rates of maternal mortality and stillbirths. Improved access to antenatal imaging and enhanced screening capabilities for high-risk conditions are critical needs, especially in rural areas. The collaboration between Butterfly, CHAI, and GUSI aims to address these challenges by making ultrasound more accessible and empowering healthcare providers to deliver better care.

Dr. Kevin Bergman, CEO of Global Ultrasound Institute, echoed Dr. Shah’s sentiments, emphasizing the success of Phase One in Kenya and expressing confidence in replicating the impact in South Africa. By providing healthcare workers with cutting-edge equipment, comprehensive training, and essential skills, the program seeks to establish sustainable healthcare practices that benefit communities in the long term.

Vishal Brijlal, Senior Country Advisor at CHAI, underscored the significance of this partnership in improving maternal and fetal health outcomes in South Africa. By leveraging innovative technologies like the Butterfly iQ+, the program aims to enhance diagnostic capabilities and strengthen healthcare delivery systems, ultimately saving lives and fostering healthier communities.

This collaborative effort is made possible through the support of key logistical partners, including Core Group, JAMF, Melon Mobile, and Zebra Medical. Through their combined efforts, Butterfly Network, CHAI, and GUSI strive to make a meaningful impact on maternal and fetal health in South Africa and beyond.

To learn more about Butterfly Network’s global health initiatives, interested individuals can visit their website for additional information.

Founded by Dr. Jonathan Rothberg in 2011, Butterfly Network is dedicated to democratizing medical imaging by making high-quality ultrasound accessible and intelligently connected to healthcare providers worldwide. Leveraging semiconductor technology, Butterfly Network has developed groundbreaking handheld ultrasound devices like the Butterfly iQ+, recognized for their innovative design and transformative potential in healthcare delivery. With a commitment to improving healthcare outcomes and expanding access to medical imaging, Butterfly Network continues to innovate and collaborate to address pressing global health challenges.

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