Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead
As my Wellbeing Foundation Africa continues on its quest to globally contribute to achieving zero preventable maternal and neonatal deaths by 2030 through transformative approaches to health workforce education, training and skills, we gratefully and enthusiastically welcome the generous donation of eight Vscan portable handheld ultrasound machines from the Nigerian division of the global medical technology innovator, General Electric Healthcare, towards a mutual goal of increasing frontline midwives access to modern tools.
I was proud to virtually join my Wellbeing Foundation Africa apex midwives and a cohort of Federal Capital Territory Abuja public health facility midwives and stakeholders today as we trained on the use of the Vscan wireless ultrasound systems at The Wellbeing Foundation Africa and UNFPA Gwagalada School of Nursing and Midwifery Skills Laboratory. This innovative technology is designed for primary health workers, including midwives, who work in remote rural settings to assess pregnancy risks early and help expand the reach of quality care to mothers who need it the most. Accessible and appropriate, the ultrasound machine is intuitive and reliable when on the ground, allowing our midwives to follow the WHO recommended one ultrasound scan before 24 weeks gestation to estimate gestational age, improve detection of foetal anomalies and multiple pregnancies, reduce the induction of labour for post-term pregnancy, and improve a woman’s pregnancy experience.
Most women in developed countries receive at least two ultrasound scans during pregnancy; however, in much of Africa, this type of procedure isn’t as common, drastically impacting maternal and foetal health. In Nigeria, the lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, or after an abortion for a Nigerian woman is 1 in 22, compared to 1 in 4900 in developed countries, which have timely access to healthcare, including the preventative ultrasound system to detect any complications early on.
Supporting the skilled deployment of these ultrasound machines will contribute to the Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s progressive antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care pathway by enabling our midwives to easily image patients at the point of care, further transforming our Mamacare 360 community health-centred programming, which commits daily to the early detection and subsequent diagnosis of women and neonates to minimise adverse antenatal intrapartum and postnatal complications.
A well trained and supported midwife delivering quality and respectful antenatal and postnatal maternity care and counsel to an informed and empowered mother is the difference between life and death. We appreciate and thank the Nigeria division of GE Healthcare for donating these ultrasound machines. The accelerated and optimised care and treatment will further strengthen maternal care in the region and minimise postnatal complications, delivering better health outcomes across Nigeria and emboldening the frontline and the family!