Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the primary cause of death globally, resulting in approximately 17.9 million deaths in 2019, of which more than three-quarters occurred in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) . Early diagnosis of CVD is critical to better disease outcomes, but health systems in LMICs are struggling to keep pace with the increasing burden of the disease.
To enhance access to cardiac care in underserved regions, Philips Foundation is collaborating with strategic partners to explore innovative and locally relevant interventions. The MoyoAfya project is one of these initiatives. Together with Kenya’s Ministry of Health, NCD Alliance Kenya, and medtech innovator iMedrix, the project aims at improving primary healthcare providers’ capacity to triage, screen, test, and treat cardiovascular risk factors and diseases.
The project explores the utility of Philips’ point-of-care ultrasound – and mobile ECG solution of iMedrix – in Siaya County, Kenya, and its influence on CVD outcomes. The project has already supported the development and dissemination of CVD triage algorithms, trained more than 100 health workers on CVD screening, triage, management, and referral – and equipped primary healthcare facilities with CVD risk screening equipment.
Caroline Gitonga, Knowledge Management Lead at the Philips Foundation, who studied Global Health at the University of Oxford and Nursing at the University of Nairobi, and has been overseeing the project from the start, said: “The application of point-of-care ultrasound technology for screening and risk detection of patients with cardiovascular risk at primary care facilities appears to show significant potential in the early detection of CVD.”
She added: “The approach is not only able to improve patients’ long-term health through early and more efficient intervention, but will ease the economic burden on the health system by preventing more serious and costly health complications, and alleviating pressure on healthcare workers.”
In this short film, part of BBC StoryWorks’ online series Technology’s Golden Age, viewers can witness how mobile ultrasound technology plays a vital role in risk detection of patients with CVD symptoms who live far from the nearest hospital: