Revolutionizing Remote Healthcare in Binga

Young and old they came; most traveled on foot, those too weak to walk were carried in rickety handmade carts. For many, the journey had been long and treacherous. Leaving their homes before sunrise, they risked the dangers of the African bush and deadly encounters with its fiercest predators. Nothing was going to stop these determined travelers from getting to their destination. For some, their very lives depended on it…

It was a June day at the Jeannie Burns Buckner Maternal and Pediatric Hospital in Binga, Zimbabwe. Word had spread throughout the vast, remote region that Dr. Mike was coming. By midday, the line of people waiting to see the good doctor stretched the length of the building.

Dr. Mike Jeans is no stranger to this hospital or to the challenges of practicing medicine in remote locations such as Binga. With limited resources, Dr. Mike must rely solely on his training and instinct to diagnose ailments not visible to the naked eye.

“In remote Zimbabwe, there isn’t an ultrasound machine. In fact, the nearest ultrasound machine they have access to is in the main hospitals, which is a good couple of hours’ drive away. And most people move about here on foot, so it’s completely inaccessible for most. But more than that, all radiology services are going to be a challenge here. We don’t have X-rays either. So, you’re left with your clinical skills, which at best can provide you with a short list of differential diagnoses that it could possibly be.”

But on this day when Dr. Mike arrived at the Binga hospital, he came armed with an amazing piece of technology that was going to radically transform his ability to care for his patients. Tucked safely in his medical bag was a handheld portable ultrasound provided through a special partnership between Butterfly Network, Jamf and MATTER.

This single-probe, whole-body handheld device uses an app-based interface. Once Dr. Mike plugged the probe into his tablet, he was able to start scanning in seconds. For the first time at this remote hospital, Dr. Mike was able to see what was happening internally with his patients, giving him greater confidence in his diagnoses and treatment plans.

“We used it for everything today, across the whole spectrum, from trauma to malaria to malnutrition to muscular skeletal problems to cardiac issues…I would have been very lost without it, and I was very grateful to have had it today.”

MATTER was introduced to Butterfly Network by Jamf CEO, Dean Hager. “Once I learned about Butterfly’s groundbreaking ultrasound technology, I immediately thought about the medical projects MATTER is doing in Zimbabwe. I knew this technology had the potential to revolutionize healthcare in Zimbabwe’s remote and under-resourced hospitals. Jamf is excited to partner with MATTER and Butterfly Network to provide this life-saving tool to improve healthcare for the people of Zimbabwe.”

For Butterfly Network, this isn’t the first application of their ultrasound in remote settings. Believing that medical imaging is for everyone, their innovative device is transforming healthcare in remote and rural clinics in Uganda, Kenya, Mexico and 70+ other countries. Partnering with Jamf and MATTER to bring their ultrasound technology to Binga was a logical extension of their mission.

“We are proud to support MATTER and Jamf on such an impactful effort to bring Butterfly iQ+ technology and enhanced care to the patients of one of Zimbabwe’s most rural hospitals,” said Sachita Shah, MD, Sr. Director, Global Health, Butterfly Network. “This exemplary deployment parallels the mission that remains at the heart of Butterfly: to democratize healthcare by bringing affordable, versatile, portable ultrasound to the two-thirds of the world that lacks access to medical imaging.”

With Dr. Mike at the Binga hospital was Katie Johnson, MATTER’s Director of Global Health Initiatives. Knowing how much this device was going to improve healthcare for this remote community, she couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of pride and gratitude for the collaboration that made it possible.

“MATTER would like to send a huge thank you to the teams at Jamf and Butterfly because without their hard work and dedication, we couldn’t have made this happen. It’s rare to find teams as devoted to making a real difference in this world as Jamf and Butterfly. I believe this is just the start of something really incredible.”

Dr. Mike agreed. “It has solidified my belief that this is the future of medicine. These point of care, handheld ultrasounds are going to transform care, both in more economically developed countries and rural areas alike…And I just love it. It’s a wonderful piece of equipment – a hell of a gadget!”

Watch this video to learn more about how this partnership between MATTER, Jamf, and Butterfly is revolutionizing remote healthcare in Zimbabwe.