Butterfly Network, Inc. (NYSE: BFLY), a digital health company transforming care through the power of handheld, whole-body ultrasound, today announced the completion of phase one of its deployment and training program in Kenya. The program brought 500 Butterfly iQ+ devices and ultrasound training to local mid-level healthcare practitioners and was part of a larger effort – supported by a $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – to equip 1,000 healthcare workers in Sub-Saharan Africa with Butterfly iQ+, the world’s only handheld, whole-body ultrasound probe to advance maternal and fetal health.
The 10 cohorts, comprising 514 practitioners in total, who have completed training and now have the skills and equipment to bring Butterfly iQ+ back to across Kenya.
The first-of-its-kind program in Kenya, previously announced and launched in September 2022, represents an important step toward improving worldwide access to essential medical imaging. Designed as an exemplary global health delivery intervention, the program meaningfully measured the impact that mid-level practitioners can have on maternal-fetal care when provided the right digital health tools, paired with scalable in-person training.
10 cohorts, comprising 514 practitioners in total, have completed training and now have the skills and equipment to bring free point-of-care ultrasound assessment back to 224 public health facilities across eight Kenyan counties, as well as two Urban facilities and three training institutions in Nairobi. These facilities, predominantly in rural settings and without access to broadband, are the safety net for hundreds of thousands of patients in the community, the majority of whom never before received ultrasound during their pregnancy. Initial data signify an impressive adoption rate, as demonstrated by tens of thousands of scans completed since the program launch, and a one-month post-training survey finding that over 90% of respondents have identified a high-risk condition using the Butterfly iQ+.
“Maternal mortality from pregnancy and childbirth-related complications still occur at exceedingly high rates in Sub-Saharan Africa due to limited access to standard resources for maternal fetal care,” said Dr. Sachita Shah, Sr. Director of Global Health, Butterfly Network, Inc. “Witnessing such interest and fast adoption of our advanced, digital device in these clinics has been inspirational. Together with our local university partners and the Global Ultrasound Institute, we have empowered mid-level practitioners with the technology, skills and clinical integration knowledge to save lives.”
“The program has been a remarkable exhibition of the power ultrasound information offers when made portable, accessible, and usable through advanced technology and focused, hands-on training,” said Dr. Kevin Bergman, CEO & Co-Founder of the Global Ultrasound Institute (GUSI), the partnering organization that executed the in-country training. “Within just a few days of receiving a Butterfly and going through the training, participants were in clinics identifying and taking action on high-risk conditions, such as multiple gestation, breech presentation, and placental abnormalities. It’s the insights unlocked through ultrasound that allowed lifesaving interventions to be made confidently and early in the course of care.”
As part of the work to enable long-term, scalable impact and efforts under the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant, Butterfly accelerated the launch of new maternal and fetal health materials available within the Butterfly iQ+ mobile application. All of the distributed Butterfly devices and tablets were pre-loaded with educational material to provide continued learning and advancement content at no cost.
“At Butterfly, we are on a mission to transform care through easy-to-use, portable and versatile ultrasound technology to benefit all patients worldwide. We see our work in the area of maternal and fetal health as fundamental to our continued impact toward better clinical assessment overall,” said Darius Shahida, Chief Strategy Officer & Chief Business Development Officer, Butterfly Network, Inc. “We are proud of and confident in our work in Kenya, which will serve as a prototype that can be leveraged and optimized to continue improving access to imaging in other limited resource settings.”
The company expects to launch the second phase of its deployment under the same Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant in the first half of 2023, with plans to bring an additional 500 Butterfly iQ+ devices to healthcare practitioners in South Africa.