Cambridge, MA – Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA), a global leader in health technology, today announced that it has donated state-of-the-art Philips ultrasound imaging solutions to MedShare, an Atlanta-based humanitarian aid organization dedicated to global health, which will distribute the solutions to safety net clinics like Axis Community Health in Northern California. Through MedShare’s Safe Birthing Initiative (SBI), which looks to strengthen the capacity of maternity and neonatal units in communities using global best practices, Philips ultrasounds will help to address birth equity challenges for underserved communities in the U.S. As MedShare engages with local clinics and helps expand their OBGYN services, it also aims to demonstrate that the addition of diagnostic ultrasound equipment in community-based health practices, can help patients receive better and more efficient care, which can lead to better health outcomes for mothers and newborn children.
Despite being a region known for wealth and technological advancement, the Bay Area is not immune to the impact of social determinants of health. There are stark racial disparities for pregnant women in the Bay Area who receive early prenatal care, including those in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infant mortality in the Bay Area is four times higher for African American women than white women, and African American women are three to four times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth.Most deaths are preventable, and the CDC is calling for systematic, policy-driven, and community-based changes to the current system of maternal care.
“By adding Philips ultrasound capabilities, we can not only give these moms their first look at their baby and make prenatal care more convenient, we can detect issues with the pregnancy faster, providing that woman with the support she needs for a healthy pregnancy and baby, ” said Dr. Dawnell Moody, chief medical officer of Axis Community Health. “Our community deserves the same kind of health technologies found in private hospitals and working with MedShare, we have been able to expand our ability to provide quality prenatal care. To receive this donation on Mother’s Day makes it even more meaningful.”
The U.S. health care ‘safety-net’ is a fragmented network of public hospitals, free or charitable clinics, federally qualified community health centers (CHCs) and other healthcare organizations united only by their shared mission–to provide care to individuals regardless of ability to pay. According to the California Association of Free and Public Clinics, there are nearly 7.5 million uninsured Californians, while at the same time, free clinics are facing an overall decrease in their funding of 20 percent. To help fill this gap, organizations like MedShare, whose mission of repurposing and donating clinically viable medical equipment in underserved communities, are helping to bring healthcare to those who need it most.