Worldwide complications of pregnancy and childbirth contribute to 358,000 maternal deaths annually of which 99% occur in developing countries. 80% occur in areas with limited access to healthcare, like Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Analysis of the most common complications suggests that ultrasound imaging has a positive impact when mothers are timely referred to a capable facility. Ultrasound imaging is an effective tool to identify neonatal and maternal mortality risk. However, under-resourced areas rarely have either ultrasound equipment or personnel trained to use the techniques appropriately. The high costs also prevent pregnant women from seeking access to these services. The Baby Viewer, an innovative, low cost and handheld ultrasound device, responds to these needs of the developing world.
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The Baby Viewer allows for reliable and accessible ultrasound screening for gestational age and breech position. The Baby Viewer is safe, of high sensitivity and takes only several minutes to perform. Use of the device requires a minimum of preparation by the patient and physician, little training, electricity or other fuels and is inexpensive.
Aiming to improve Maternal Health, Millennium Development Goal 5, a consortium of Delft Imaging Systems, Cordaid, New Castle University and the Radboud University of Nijmegen have developed the Baby Viewer. The long term objective is to reduce neonatal and maternal mortality and to improve antenatal care by providing access to automatic detection of maternal risks and timely referral of pregnant women through cheap, portable and easy to operate ultrasound imaging.