Butterfly Network Partners With Organizations to Advance Maternal, Fetal Health in South Africa

Butterfly Network, Inc. announced Phase Two of its tripartite collaboration with implementing partner Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and training partner Global Ultrasound Institute (GUSI) to deploy Butterfly's iQ+ probe and point-of-care ultrasound training program for maternal and fetal health in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The program is funded by the $5M grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that was previously announced by Butterfly in March 2022 and is part of the Gates Foundation's efforts to ensure more women receive ultrasounds and benefit from life-saving diagnostic tools. Previously in Phase One, 500 iQ+ handheld, whole-body probes were successfully distributed across Kenya in Q4 2022.

Phase Two of the program, titled Siyakubona (meaning “we see you” in Zulu), will distribute the remaining 500 iQ+ devices to healthcare workers across up to six provinces in South Africa. The device distribution and training efforts began in the first province, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Here, approximately 50 mid-level practitioners have been enrolled in a week-long training program facilitated by GUSI. The course will provide health workers with the skills and confidence to conduct obstetric ultrasound screenings for key indicators, such as baby’s position or presence of multiples, that are fundamental to quality pregnancy care, as well as for identifying high-risk conditions.

"Butterfly is proud to continue improving maternal health equity through Phase Two of the largest-scale handheld ultrasound distribution and training ever conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa is an emerging market that continues to have disproportionately high rates of maternal mortality and stillbirth. Patients need easier access to antenatal imaging, and clinicians need better capabilities for screening high-risk conditions that lead to disproportionately worse pregnancy outcomes in rural areas in the public sector,” said Dr Sachita Shah, Sr. Director, Global Health, Butterfly Network. “Together with CHAI and GUSI, we can tackle this by making ultrasound much more accessible, so high-risk conditions can be identified earlier in care, which is known to improve outcomes.”

Dr Kevin Bergman, Co-Founder and CEO of Global Ultrasound Institute, added, “We are thrilled to continue collaborating with Butterfly through Phase Two of this initiative. We know this device distribution and training model works – Phase One efforts in Kenya are proving to be an incredible success; over 500 providers were trained and are now offering ultrasound services across 224 Kenyan public facilities. More than 200,000 scans have since been conducted! We expect to see this impact replicated in South Africa, by similarly providing health workers with the equipment, in depth training, and necessary skills to use Butterfly for antenatal screening, which they will bring back to their communities to create long-term, sustainable care.”

"This partnership and training program represents a significant step forward in our efforts to improve maternal and fetal health in South Africa," said Vishal Brijlal, Senior Country Advisor at CHAI. "With access to innovative technologies such as the Butterfly iQ+, we can enhance diagnostic capabilities and strengthen healthcare delivery systems, ultimately helping save the lives of mothers and babies, and build healthier communities. We look forward to working closely with Butterfly Network and the Global Ultrasound Institute to achieve our shared goal of advancing global health equity."

The program is also made possible by key logistical partners, including Core Group, a leading distributor of Apple products in Sub-Saharan Africa; JAMF, the standard in Apple Enterprise Management and privacy software; Melon Mobile, digital mobile virtual network operator; and Zebra Medical, the South African distribution partner for Butterfly devices.

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