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Abdul Latif Jameel Health & Melody International announce strategic collaboration to help address perinatal emergencies and deaths across Asian markets

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Technological intervention to complement existing healthcare infrastructure, improve access to care and in turn improve outcomes for expecting mothers and newborns across Asia, including in India

Abdul Latif Jameel Health (through Abdul Latif Jameel General Trading Co., Japan) announced a new collaboration with Melody International and signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the exclusive distribution of Melody’s innovative remote ‘Melody i Mobile Fetal Monitor iCTG’, a cloud-based mobile wireless fetal monitor platform, across selected markets in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa covering a territory of over 1.9 billion people.

This new collaboration aims to address the lack of access to adequate fetal monitoring in many countries including India, with unmet needs because of limited availability of medical facilities and maternity physicians, and  those with geographically dispersed populations not easily able to visit primary health care centers.

Melody has developed a convenient, smart and highly portable remote mobile fetal monitoring device to assist in problematic or high-risk situations, enabling safer and more secure births for mothers. Their integrated platform comprises a fetal heart monitor (with an in-built speaker in the transducer that also functions as a fetal doppler); a uterine contraction monitor (external tocometer); and a smart tablet device to see data in real-time and connect to the internet.

India faces several challenges with respect to child and maternal health, including inadequate access to care, limited availability of physicians and nurses, increasing disease burden and low awareness. The Government of India has implemented strategic interventions at policy and grass roots levels that have contributed to the decline in perinatal mortality rates (PNMR)[i] from 40 per 1,000 births in 2005 to 28 per 1,000 births in 2013.  This progress is threatened by the disruption caused by the pandemic, which has exacerbated maternal and child health outcomes by limiting access to regular and time-bound check-ups and medical care, especially in emergencies[ii].  The innovative Melody i Fetal Monitor iCTG, which enables remote monitoring and access to care when interventions are required, can ensure continued connect between expecting mothers and their healthcare providers without the risk of unnecessary travel or exposure to COVID-19.

Approved by Japan’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency of Japan (PDMA), the Thai FDA, and currently preparing application for USA FDA approval, Melody’s iCTG is already widely used across many hospitals in Japan. Its effectiveness has been proven in a variety of clinical cases, including as a partial alternative to periodic medical check-ups for pregnant women living in remote or isolated areas and frequent and long-term monitoring of high-risk pregnancies which require regular tests such as mothers of late childbearing age and those with risks of premature labor.  These cases can be successfully monitored by clinicians analyzing the data remotely via the internet whilst the mother wears the device at home. This remote screening capability enables a quick intervention if necessary, decreasing a risk for unexpected or emergency delivery as a result.

Furthermore, collaboration between emergency transport services and hospitals during critical situations enables real-time data to be accessed by doctors to monitor the fetus’ condition during transit and for the receiving hospital to prepare a treatment plan before arrival, maximising the likelihood of a successful outcome.

Compared to conventional fetal monitors, which can be large and expensive, the innovative Japanese technology of the Melody i Fetal Monitor iCTG is considered unique.

The system is affordable, portable, convenient and paperless, sending data to the tablet display or smart devices.

The transducer’s weight is close to that of common smartphones and one hour’s charge provides up to 6 hours on monitoring capability.

Commenting on the signing of the MoU, Yhuko OGATA, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Melody International said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Abdul Latif Jameel Health with their mission aligned to our own so together we can bring this innovative Japanese technology to a wider population reducing risk and saving lives across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, where such perinatal monitoring capability is not so easily available.”

Shigeki ENAMI, President, Abdul Latif Jameel General Trading Co., said “We will continue to work with partners such as Melody to bring the very best of Japanese innovation and technological advancement to truly benefit the wider world.”

Akram Bouchenaki, Chief Executive Officer, Abdul Latif Jameel Health further commented, “Abdul Latif Jameel Health believes that this innovative and intuitive monitoring system will be of great value in accelerating accessibility to perinatal monitoring and improving the outcome for millions.  In collaboration with Melody International, we aim to reduce the rate of perinatal deaths and continue our mission to create a more inclusive healthcare environment in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.”

References:

[i] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5427861/

[ii] https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/how-covid-19-pandemic-has-affected-pregnancy-outcomes-7255047/

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