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Equalize Health announces partnership with southern Africa OB-GYN to tackle the leading cause of maternal death globally

19 October 2022

San Francisco/Nairobi/Delhi - Equalize Health and southern Africa OB-GYN, Dr. Justus Hofmeyr, have partnered to develop and launch a mother-centered, “blood loss monitoring device” to detect postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), the leading cause of maternal death globally.

Every eleven minutes a mother dies during or shortly after childbirth because she has lost too much blood.  Women giving birth in low- and middle-income countries suffer and die from postpartum hemorrhage at a much higher rate but in some high-income countries like the United States, for example, cases of PPH are on the rise. Up to 93% of deaths from postpartum hemorrhage are believed by experts to be preventable.

We have the technology and know-how to prevent the majority of maternal deaths caused by postpartum hemorrhage, so why are so many mothers still dying from it?

“Early diagnosis and treatment of hemorrhage after childbirth is a key factor in reducing the current high rates of maternal deaths from PPH in low-resource settings. Estimation of blood loss after birth is notoriously inaccurate.” - Dr. Justus Hofmeyr

“Existing solutions for measuring blood loss during birth suffer from an array of issues - they’re inaccurate, hard to use, and uncomfortable for the mother,” says Equalize Health, Product Engineer, Geneva Goldwood. “These issues can mean missed PPH diagnosis and treatment, which can be deadly.”

The not-for-profit medical technology company, Equalize Health, and Southern Africa OB-GYN, Dr. Justus Hofmyer, are setting out to develop and launch-to-market a simple, and environmentally-friendly “blood loss monitoring device” for detecting high levels of blood loss after childbirth and ultimately managing postpartum hemorrhage for mothers everywhere. Early detection of hemorrhage can lead to more accurate and faster treatment that saves mothers’ lives.

Dr. Hofmeyr’s concept for a “safe, simple device” to monitor a woman’s blood loss after delivery arose from his experience researching postpartum hemorrhage over the last 25 years. But as a clinical researcher, he admits he has “very little knowledge of the process of bringing an innovation to market. I set out to find a mission-driven partner who cares about impact as much as I do.”

Enter Equalize Health. Since 2007, Equalize Health has designed and delivered world-class, affordable medical technology appropriate for the toughest circumstances. They’ve recently surpassed one million patients treated with their existing products that target the largest disparities in global health, including Brilliance, a phototherapy device to treat newborn jaundice.

Starting with Dr. Hofmeyr’s deep understanding of user needs in Southern Africa and his early prototype, Equalize Health will leverage its multi-geography user, market, and engineering teams to further develop the product, and execute the business and impact models, to address the global need. Equalize Health has 10+ years of refining their integrated design process to optimize products for use in even the most challenging clinical settings, emphasizing three key areas: user-centered - or in this case - mother-centered design, sustainable scaling, and impact.  

“At Equalize Health, we want to see more recognition of women’s needs in childbirth. As designers we must too consider the multitude of users at every stage of the product development and delivery process to make sure our products not only reach he hospitals and clinics that most need them, but will be used to save the lives of women.” - Krista Donaldson, CEO of Equalize Health

The team’s goal is to ensure mothers- no matter where they live - do not needlessly suffer or die during childbirth. Their “blood loss monitoring device” is poised to prevent mothers all over the world from dying from postpartum hemorrhage by reducing the critical time between blood loss and treatment.

About Dr. Justus Hofmeyr:
Justus Hofmeyr, MB BCh, MRCOG, DSc is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Botswana School of Medicine and Director of the Effective Care Research Unit, University of the Witwatersrand and Walter Sisulu University, East London, South Africa. He has dedicated his life’s work to improving maternal health outcomes for mothers living in low-resource settings. He has published over 350 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

About Equalize Health: Equalize Health is a not-for-profit medical technology company comprised of a global team of designers, engineers, medical professionals, and business minds. They have offices in India, Kenya, and the USA. Equalize Health recently exceeded treating one million patients in 75 countries with their world-class, affordable medical devices. They work to scale their life-saving products across the globe to wherever they are most needed but have a specific focus in regions where health equity gaps are largest, including South Asia and Sub Sahara Africa. For more information contact: Shelly Helgeson.