ANDOVER, Mass., Nov. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest neonatal mortality rate (32 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2012) and accounts for 38 percent of neonatal deaths globally.[i] Concomitantly, the maternal mortality rate is estimated at 500 deaths per 1,000,000 live births representing 162,000 maternal deaths annually.[ii] A recent study sponsored by Imaging the World (ITW), and funded in part by Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), demonstrated that providing pregnant women in rural Uganda access to ultrasound screenings resulted in a "magnet effect" on overall improved quality of maternal and newborn care.
The study, implemented at Nawanyago Health Centre III, showed increases in the number of women attending antenatal visits and in husbands taking a more active role in health choices surrounding pregnancy for the very first time. It also showed a near-doubling of newborns delivered by skilled health care workers.
The study was recently published in the Public Library of Science Journal (PLOS One): http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0078450"The availability of a low-cost, accessible and affordable ultrasound program may assist progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5 by encouraging women in a rural environment to come to a health care facility for skilled antenatal care and delivery assistance instead of utilizing more traditional methods," said Peter van de Ven, general manager, Philips Healthcare Africa. About Millennium Development Goal 5 Improving maternal health is Millennium Development Goal 5 (MDG) of the United Nations Millennium Declaration: a road map of goals to address poverty widely prevalent in the world's developing nations. Two targets were selected to monitor progress towards MDG 5 by the 2015 deadline: 1) reducing the maternal mortality ratio by 75 percent and; 2) increasing the proportion of births attended by skilled health care personnel by 90 percent.