Community Blood Pressure Monitoring to Detect Pre-eclampsia in Africa
Andrew Shennan and colleagues at Kings College London in the United Kingdom will field test in rural Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe a new blood pressure monitor which uses solar power and requires little training for its ability to increase detection rates and improve outcomes of women with preeclampsia in these communities. In Phase I they performed a feasibility study by introducing a selected and validated blood pressure monitor into low resource rural clinics in Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and providing basic training. One year later, they found a significant increase in the number of women with preeclampsia-like symptoms who were referred to central hospitals. In Phase II, Andrew Shennan and Natasha Hezelgrave will refine their monitor by developing a good quality, easy-to-charge battery for areas with limited access to electricity. They will also increase its suitability for use by unskilled and illiterate health workers by incorporating lights to indicate abnormal readings. This next-generation blood pressure monitor will be tested in a feasibility study, similar to that performed in Phase I.