A US children’s hospital and software solutions company join forces to implement technology focused on improving care for mothers and babies in Africa.
Texas Children’s Hospital, in partnership with PeriGen Inc., a perinatal software solutions company, has launched a maternal and fetal health program in Malawi, Africa.
America’s own dire maternal health record pales in comparison to what’s happening in developing countries, said Matt Sappern, CEO of PeriGen, based in Cary, North Carolina, in an email.
Malawi has 400 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births, and Malawi loses one baby for every 50 births, he said.
To counter these poor results, the Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women and PeriGen are deploying the PeriWatch Vigilance automated early warning system and clinical decision support tool at Area 25 Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi. The hospital reports more than 7,000 deliveries per year, which is the volume of the Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women.
“PeriWatch Vigilance can track critical information for hundreds of patients simultaneously across multiple hospital locations,” said Sappern. “Using artificial intelligence and other analysis techniques, it continuously monitors the maternal vital functions, fetal heart rate, contractions and the course of labor and provides results graphically and with percentiles. Because of this continuous monitoring, it can detect abnormalities during labor and notify clinicians immediately. “
Second-hand and second-hand fetal monitors, some of which were purchased from eBay, will be hooked up to patients’ beds in Malawi, he said. Using basic network technology available locally in the country, fetal and maternal data is captured at the bedside and transmitted to a server in Houston that runs PeriGen’s AI analysis. The reviews are then sent back to the hospital bed in Malawi in seconds.
The deployment of the system in Malawi is the first implementation of this technology on the continent, said Dr. Jeff Wilkinson, Texas Children’s vice chairman of global women’s health, in an email. The aim is to eliminate preventable stillbirths, neonatal morbidity and mortality in resource-poor environments.
“Despite numerous measures to reduce stillbirth rates and early neonatal death, these tragic events remained unacceptably high” [in Malawi]”Said Wilkinson. “Imagine if 3% of babies in the United States did not survive at birth. There would be a great outcry from the public and society that would be perfectly understandable. “
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