Reducing Maternal and Newborn Deaths in Kenya through Medtech

Proximie’s platform will enable surgeons to 'virtually transport' into any operating room in the world to visually interact with and guide surgeons.

MDDI Staff

January 4, 2022

2 Min Read
Makueni County Referral Hospital - C-section prep image courtesy of Proximie
Image of Makueni County Referral Hospital - C-section prep courtesy of Proximie

Seventy-one percent of facility-based maternal deaths in Kenya are associated with Caesarean sections, and nine out of 10 maternal deaths there are linked to a lack of quality standardized care. Proximie shared these statistics as it anounced a partnership with Jhpiego, a Johns Hopkins University affiliate and a global health nonprofit working in more than 40 countries, on a safe surgery project funded by Johnson & Johnson. 

Called the Obstetric Safe Surgery (OSS) project, the ​effort seeks to minimize these deaths and is now underway in Makueni County in Kenya. Proximie is layering in its software that allows physicians anywhere in the world to virtually scrub in and mentor colleagues in real time. MD+DI previously covered Proximie’s technology, which uses augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) to enable the user to see into and participate in an operating room remotely. It can be layered onto any device and used by many individuals at the same time with no noticeable latency.

The goal of the 22-month project is to support the government of Kenya’s commitment to reduce maternal and newborn deaths and obstetric-related injuries by improving the quality of Caesarean sections. Also supporting the design and evaluation of the enhanced OSS project is Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“Our work with the local surgical teams on the ground in Kenya, and with Jhpiego, and Ariadne Labs, is going to help democratize access to important caesarean section surgical techniques and knowledge that would otherwise be siloed due to geography or time,” explained Dr. Nadine Hachach-Haram, CEO of Proximie, in a recent press release. “Proximie is going to be harnessed pre-, intra-, and postoperatively in order to ensure women and their babies have access to high-quality care.”

Added Dr. Doris Mbithi, medical superintendent of the Mother and Child Hospital in Makueni County and a partner on the OSS project: “Sometimes things happen in the (operating) theatre and not all team members remember the process. With the recordings, we can identify gaps and rectify. I am also happy that at night, I have the possibility to support remotely, either at my hospital or to help keep a potential referral at the sub county hospital by consulting remotely."

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