Pregnancy and childbirth-related complications can often be attributed to a lack of resources and inadequate pre-natal care in developing countries, which record 825 daily deaths of women affected by these health challenges.

For this reason, technology leaders  like GE are developing medical equipment for low-resource settings and creating innovative solutions to the healthcare problems experienced by people in these countries. These solutions  are now proving to be useful in developed countries too.

To help address childbirth-related challenges, GE Healthcare developed the Vscan Access, a simple, small and portable ultrasound device. The Vscan Access allows for efficient pregnancy management in primary and low-resource areas prevalent in the developing  world. It also enables midwives to detect complications and assess pregnancy risks early, providing antenatal care to mothers who need it most.

The Vscan Access is now also  being used in the developed world in countries, such as Norway. The World Health Organisation estimates that 70% of medical equipment designed for developed countries does not work in developing world facilities. However, the opposite does not hold true, as demonstrated by this ultrasound device.

Dr. Birgitte Kahrs, a specialist in fetal medicine at St. Olav’s Hospital in Norway said: “Our midwives appreciate the Vscan Access because they are able to easily take it from one room to another with its battery capabilities. Its size even offers some relief to our patients as they tend to get nervous when they see a huge machine rolled into the room, thinking that something might be wrong. The Vscan is small enough to not cause any concern, but also large enough to see a nice image on the screen.”

Torbjorn Moe Eggebo, Chair of the  Centre for Fetal Medicine at St. Olav’s, said: “This ultrasound is small and has good image quality. It’s perfect for use in the labour wards.” At St. Olav’s, the Vscan Access is being used in both the delivery room and the maternity ward to monitor everything from the fetal position to the mother’s bladder after delivery. 

Innovation in medical technology and healthcare is of paramount importance in developing countries as access to adequate facilities can accelerate social and economic growth. GE, which has been operating in Africa for more than 100 years, understands the importance of its work in producing low-cost high-impact alternatives and is dedicated to further innovations in this sector.

Image above: The Vscan Access, which was designed for developing countries is also being used in developed countries such as Norway. Credit: GE