A team of four medical entrepreneurs in Uganda have invented a new technology named M-scan – a low cost, portable ultrasound device.
Dr Prosper Ahimbisibwe, the clinical lead and co-founder, Innocent Menyo, team lead, Phillip Kyomuhendo, radiographer and Ivan Nasasira, a technology leader, have invented the M-scan to help reduce maternity and infant death rate in Uganda.
Dr Prosper Ahimbisibwe, a 26-year old Makerere University medical graduate, is the director and co-founder of M-scan.
According to statistics by the World Health Organisation (WHO) at least 830 mothers in developing countries lose their lives daily due to pregnancy-related complications.
During an interview with a local magazine, Dr Ahimbisibwe said: “As a healthcare specialist and entrepreneur, I believe in innovation to change the world and make it a better place for humanity.”
Dr Ahimbisibwe said that during their community service, education and research programmes as medical students they were posted in upcountry where they saw the problems pregnant mothers face.
“Some were actually dying due to factors that could be detected early by ultrasound. But in upcountry facilities, there was limited power infrastructure,” he recalls.
He added that even the available machines are very bulky making them inaccessible especially for people in rural areas and they are also very expensive.
Due to this experience, they had the desire to ensure that rural expectant mothers receive quality health care hence developing M-scan.
He said that the M-scan can work with a laptop, tablet or smartphone to detect the factors of maternal mortality among pregnant mothers in social limited settings.
M-Scan costs about $2,000 which is seven times cheaper compared to the conventional ultrasound machines which go for about $15,000 and more.
The group is selling the M-scan as a package containing M-scan ultrasound package that includes a probe tablet and a bag with an ultrasound charger which costs $2,500.
They are working with private medical facilities with mothers paying only $2 per ultrasound compared to $10 charged in some private hospitals. Dr Ahimbisibwe said out of the fee, the group earns $1 while the other amount stays in facilities to help in the day to day operations of the ultrasound.