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Clinical Trial of Winsenga foetal heart monitoring tool in Uganda (2016 todate)

The study is a cross-sectional study to compare the performance of a new foetal heart rate measuring device, in a sample of pregnant women in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters attending ANC in Uganda. The new device, named WinSenga, is a harnessed assembly of ultrasound and a smartphone to quickly, easily and precisely measure and graph foetal heart rate (FHR).

The study aims to compare WinSenga with the conventional tools for measuring FHR.  WinSenga is a non-invasive, painless smartphone-based foetal heart-rate probe that comprises of a portable doppler/ultrasound which plugs into a smartphone via a flexible cable. The device takes a record of foetal heartbeat through the ultrasound, and process the heartbeat into a numerical count per minute, and provides a graphical display of foetal heartbeat.

The smart-phone technology presents even more innovative possibilities for safe storage, transmission and sharing of the recorded FHR data.

WinSenga was, back in 2012, born out of a need to improve on the tool-set available to midwives in attending to pregnancies in low-income countries of Africa. This quest led to the development of a low-cost device capable of monitoring foetal heart rate during antenatal care. WinSenga seeks to significantly improve on the performance of the fetoscope through improved reliability and accuracy while keeping the price affordable. WinSenga, capable of as well working offline, also presents vast potential for tracking other vital signs during antenatal care, as well as availing opportunities to securely store, share and track patient data.

Preliminary research and development was funded by Microsoft Foundation and the project has since been funded by the United States of America’s State Department through its Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) programme and the Chilean Government through the Start-Up Chile business accelerator program.

The research protocol has now been approved by a local IRB and the Uganda National council for Science and Technology (UNCST), and we now are moving to data collection stage.