Solution Overview

Solution Name:

mSCAN

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One-line solution summary:

A low cost portable ultrasound that detetcts risk factors of maternal mortality among pregnant mothers in resource limited areas.

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Pitch your solution.

mSCAN is a low cost portable ultrasound solution that detects risk factors of maternal mortality among pregnant mothers in resource limited settings.

In Africa, 30 million women become pregnant, and about 250,000 of them die from pregnancy-related causes each year.  Yet almost 60 percent of African women give birth without a skilled attendant – 18 million a year at home. Up to 90% of mothers deliver without ever receiving a sonogram.

Most mothers who die would benefit from a sonogram. Up to 50% of risk factors of maternal mortality can be detected earlier on during pregnancy and these deaths averted. Scaling our portable and power efficient ultrasound probes that work perfectly in rural areas would go a long way in detecting most risk factors of maternal mortality like a cord around the neck of the baby and a safe delivery is prepared for the mother by a qualified medical worker.

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Film your elevator pitch.

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What specific problem are you solving?

According to the World Health Organization, 830 mothers die everyday due to risk factors of maternal mortality and its is sad 94% of all maternal deaths occur in low and lower middle-income countries.
In Uganda, 16 mothers die daily due to risk factors of maternal
mortality. Most of these risk factors like a cord around the neck of the
baby, a baby with a big head, a placenta at the entrance of the uterus
could be detected earlier on during pregnancy using ultrasound, The
challenge to access to timely diagnosis is that the existing ultrasound
machines are bulky and expensive to be maneuvered to rural areas. mSCAN
developed low cost portable ultrasound probes that can work on a phone
or a laptop to provide an affordable sonogram to pregnant mothers in
rural Africa. It has given women a positive experience during pregnancy
for those who would not afford.

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What is your solution?

mSCAN is a low cost portable ultrasound probe that you plug in a phone or laptop with the mSCAN software to deliver an ultrasound to a pregnant mother. Without the need for the bulky and power consuming ultrasound huge machines, mSCAN probe can carried to a village in Uganda and mothers be scanned at an affordable price and without moving distances.

The average cost of an obstetric ultrasound is about $15 dollars. However with our mSCAN probes mothers are able to access one at $3.

mSCAN works without an external power supply. Our probes use pizzoeletric  crystals to send out and receive ultrasound waves and the image is displayed in real time on a smart phone screen.

The mSCAN software has a tele medicine component where an image performed by a midwife in rural Uganda can be shared with a consultant radiologist in Kampala for review.

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Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?

Our target population have been pregnant mothers in rural Uganda. These mothers have to trek long distances moving from their villages to towns where they can access an ultrasound scan. They spend money on transport to and from and for the scan and this eats away into their meager household income.

In a preliminary survey done by the mSCAN team, there were only 3 ultrasound machines in Mubende, the third largest district in Uganda. Most mothers in villages carry to term with risk factors of maternal mortality like a cord around the neck, a placenta in the way of the baby, a baby with a big head among others. Mothers in rural Uganda further experessed that they were willing to part with $3 for an ultrasound scan. mSCAN has been able to push down the price and make ultrasound in antenatal care affordable and accessible to mothers in resource limited areas.

Hitherto mSCAN has provided 528 ultrasound scans to pregnant mothers in rural Uganda and 81 mothers flagged with risk factors have received emergency obstetric care like a cesarean section.

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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Expand access to high-quality, affordable care for women, new mothers, and newborns

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Explain how the problem, your solution, and your solution’s target population relate to the Challenge and your selected dimension.

Achieving maternal mortality reduction as a development goal remains a major challenge in most low-resource countries. Like many developing countries, Uganda has high maternal mortality ratio at 343 per 100,000 live births. mSCAN is increasing access to healthcare and early diagnosis of most risk factors of maternal mortality in antenatal. This is happening for an underserved population of pregnant mothers in rural Uganda who are affected most.  By leveraging on the mobility, cost and power efficiency of mSCAN probes, pregnant mothers with risk factors are referred for definitive medical intervention in time and both baby and mother are saved.

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Kampala, Uganda
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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community

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Who is the primary delegate for your solution?

Prosper Ahimbisibwe

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More About Your Solution

If you have additional video content that explains your solution, provide a YouTube or Vimeo link here:

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Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology

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Describe what makes your solution innovative.

mSCAN is empowering front line health workers and clinicians with an affordable diagnostic solution to curb the high mortality in Africa.

mSCAN's innovativeness lies in making portable and low cost ultrasound probes that can fit in your pocket to deliver ultrasound to the most underserved mothers in rural Africa.

An mSCAN probe goes for $2500 as a package with a smart phone or laptop. 

This a almost almost a tenth of the cost of the big ultrasound machine that goes for $15 to $20000.

Our competitors include Clarius Health, Philips Lumify who provide a similar portable device. We are different because we connect on the USB port 2.0 and above and across many platforms.

We are leverage  on the portability, affordability and low power consumption of our devices to deliver life saving ultrasound access to pregnant mothers most in need.

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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Our technology runs on piezoelectric crystals and digital signal processing chips to  convert ultrasound waves into a real time image of the baby on a smart phone screen.

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Provide evidence that this technology works.

Ultrasound is a technology that has been around. The first technological application of ultrasound was an attempt to detect submarines by Paul Langevin in 1917. The piezoelectric effect, discovered by Jacques and Pierre Curie in 1880, was useful in transducers to generate and detect ultrasonic waves in air and water.

At mSCAN, we have added a digital signal processing component bring the size of an ultrasound machine from a big size to a pocket size probe that can work on your laptop or phone preloaded with the mSCAN app.

Currently we have a pilot site on Kalangala District which is a collection of 84 islands in the middle of lake victoria. The mSCAN device works with a solar powered laptop to deliver ultrasound access to pregnant mothers in a catchment area with over 80000 people.

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Audiovisual Media
  • Imaging and Sensor Technology
  • Software and Mobile Applications
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What is your theory of change?

mSCAN has increased access and lowered the cost of pregnant mothers accessing an ultrasound scan.

mSCAN has on to of that pioneered the training of midwives and clinicians in the use of ultrasound scans.

This increases the number of pregnant mothers in rural areas who ideally would never receive an ultrasound in their antenatal. Risk factors of maternal mortality like a cord around the neck of the baby, placenta previa among other are detected much earlier in pregnancy and a proper safe delivery is put in place. More pregnant mothers are able to schedule and receive the required medical intervention like  a ceaserian section.

This also leads to a positive experience in pregnancy and a better outcome for both the mother and the baby.

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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Women & Girls
  • Pregnant Women
  • Infants
  • Rural
  • Peri-Urban
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Middle-Income
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 3. Good Health and Well-Being
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Uganda
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Kenya
  • Rwanda
  • South Sudan
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How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

We have been in operation for 2 years and 10 months now.

However we have had only 1 year of piloting our device.

528 ultrasound scans have been performed in rural areas and 81 pregant mothers found with complications. These were then referred in time for the required intervention and potentially 162 ( to include babies) lives saved.

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What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?

mSCAN Uganda would love to improve the social impact to reach 10,000 ultrasound scans provided to pregnant mothers in rural areas.

mSCAN Uganda however has seen potential in the commercialization of the device . Our target is to sell 500 mobile devices in the coming year and to reach to 4000 devices sold in the next five years. mSCAN would love to stretch across the East African Market as well to include Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Tanzania.

However due to Covid19, we are rolling out a home based ultrasound service where a pregnant mother can book an appointment with us for a scan and a qualified sonographer dispatched to deliver a scan in the comfort of the patient's home. Through this business model, the goal is to reach 120 clients per month in 2020 and 12,000 clients served by 2025. This model will bring in revenue and make mSCAN sustainable.

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What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?

Limited access to funds for operation to roll out our various business models.

Lack of capacity to train and retain professional sonographers to roll out.

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How do you plan to overcome these barriers?

As a company, we are currently raising funds to enable us roll out.

mSCAN leveraging on its networks to equip frontline health workers with sonography skills as these are critical enablers to the progress of our business.

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About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Hybrid of for-profit and nonprofit

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How many people work on your solution team?

Phyllis Kyomuhendo, is the Impact Lead. She is a Mandela Washington Fellow and holds a Bachelors degree of Medical Radiography from Makerere Univerisity. She is currently enrolled for her masters of public health.  She is a full time worker.

Menyo Innocent is the Radiology Lead at mSCAN. He holds a Bachelors degree of medical radiography from Makerere University. He is full time.

Nasasira Ivan is the Technology lead at mSCAN Uganda. He holds a Bachelors degree of Inofrmation Systems from Makerere University.



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How many years have you worked on your solution?

2 years 10 months

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Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

The mSCAN team is composed of professional sonographers with practicing licenses who understand the field of radiology.

Menyo Innocent has leadership skills in community engagement having previously worked in Rotary Uganda foundation activities. He also does accounting and finances for the company.

Phyllis Kyomuhendo has diverse skills in presentation and networking, She ensures the right partnerships are brought on board and nurtured to fulfill company objectives.

Nasasira Ivan has a two years solid experience in app development and information systems. He runs our teleradiology and data base.

I am the Clinical Team lead in charge of strategy, company documentation and strategy.

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What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

United Nations Population Fund Uganda in rolling out sexual reproductive services to pregnant mothers in rural areas.

The Netherlands Trust Fund IV in  establishing contacts and networks across the globe and raising funds.

OUtbox Uganda for incubation and housing space.

Johnson and Johnson for funds and mentor-ship under the Africa Innovation Challenge 2.0

The Infectious Disease Institute Makerere University  to train more front-line health workers in the use of sonography and hence propel our business and social impact forward.

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Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

mSCAN has rolled out three business model to maximise both impact and revenue: revenue sharing and hire purchase business model with rural clinics.

For the revenue sharing model, mSCAN enters in a contract with a medical clinic in rural areas that is able to get mothers in for their antenatal. This came from the information that some clinics in villages attend to these mothers but dont have the $2500 to pay for our device.

The second is a hire purchase where a mid sized medical clinic and hospital pays $250 per month for twelve months to acquire the mSCAN probe and phone/laptop.

The third business model that has been informed by the global pandemic of Covid19 is the home based ultrasound service where a professional medical readiographer will find the pregnant mother in the comfort of theor home and be able to provide a service. This has come from the backlash of the national lockdowns put in place to halt the spread of covid19.

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Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, or to other organizations?

Individual consumers or stakeholders (B2C)

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What is your path to financial sustainability?

In the short term, our plan of sustainability is raising money through grants and angel investors.

In the mid term, mSCAN is engaging some venture capitalists to come on board and support the commercial aspect of our business.

Our long term plan to sustainability includes making a profit per mSCAN probe sold to our customers and rolling out the home based ultrasound service.

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Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

Why are you applying to Solve?

I think that Solve is an excellent platform for us at mSCAN to reach out to pontential partners who will join us in our mission- to extend and enhance quality of human life by innovating with integrity for and with communities. At mSCAN Uganda, serving pregnant mothers in resource limited settings is the core reason why we started out in the first place.

mSCAN hopes to establish linkages with potential partners and network at the Solve 2020 event to help us raise more funding.

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Business model
  • Product/service distribution
  • Funding and revenue model
  • Board members or advisors
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Marketing, media, and exposure
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Please explain in more detail here.

mSCAN is open to having a formidable board member who will advise on strategy and introduce the company to more funding opportunities.

mSCAN is seeking out for mentorship opportunities to fine-tune our business models and scale across the African market.

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What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

First and foremoest, mSCAN is excited on the possibility of partnering with organisations like Bill and Melinda Gates, MIT faculty and Solve members.

Areas of potential partnerships include brand communication, scaling across the Africa market and how to measure and increase our impact.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The Andan Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion?

No

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Innovation for Women Prize?

Yes

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use the Innovation for Women Prize to advance your solution?

At mSCAN Uganda, we deliver low cost and affordable ultrasound scans to pregnant mothers in rural areas who would never access one. We have pivoted on our portablity, the low power consumption of our devices and innovation to deliver quality healthcare to vulnerable mothers in rural Uganda.

It is heart warming to see the smile of a mother peep over and see the heart beat of their baby across the screen of a phone or laptop as a sonographer uses the mSCAN device. This is an experience they would never get!

I have witnessed pregnant mothers having beaming with joy after a safe delivery of a bouncing baby knowing that mSCAN device flagged a risk factor in time for them to receive the required intervention.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Health Workforce Innovation Prize?

Yes

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use the Health Workforce Innovation Prize to advance your solution?

In building the skilll and capacity of our frontline health workers, mSCAN has rolled out a training module for experienced midwives in ultrasound.

Currently there is a midwife on Kalangala Island on Lake Victoria who carries out routine ultrasound scans for mothers who come to attend their antenatal.

An average of 10 ultrasound scans are performed everyday.

This empowers the midwife with the information and they are able to refer the mother to a hospital on the main land for a emergency ceasarean section in time.

Our mission is to train more five midwives this year and 100 by the end of 2025. We will use the Health Workforce Innovation prize to train more midwives.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the AI for Humanity Prize?

No

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Funded Award?

Yes

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Explain how you are qualified for this award. How will your team use the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Funded Award to advance your solution?

Good maternal outcomes are strongly associated with good neonatal outcomes. The mothers who have been flagged by mSCAN probes as having a risk factor for maternal mortality have proceeded to give birth to healthy babies.

mSCAN will use the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Award to pilot an mSCAN device and solar powered laptop on five pilot sites across rural Uganda which will include a refugee camp.

mSCAN would love to reach out to the vulnerable mothers in refugee settlements.

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Future Planet Capital Prize?

Yes

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Explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use the the Future Planet Capital Prize to advance your solution?

mSCAN is piloting the hire purchase and home based ultrasound models in light of covid19. These are business models with potentially good returns and commercial viability. Investment in these would lift us off our ground and secure a sustainable future for both mSCAN and our investors.

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Solution Team

 
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