The journey of mSCAN was brought to life with winning of its first seed funding from UNFPA. There has never been a pitch that intense! For one of the co-founders, it was his first. Getting into the Up Accelerate program cohort II under Outbox Uganda has been the best thing that has happened for the mSCAN team. But more importantly the faith to get lifesaving ultrasound scan to a mother on the steep slopes of Kisoro, south-western Uganda was reinforced. For starters, mSCAN is a short acronym for mama scan and mobile scan, both equally important. MSCAN is a low-cost
Our boot camp was about co-team cohesion, initial company registration, monitoring and evaluation.
For a three days, that seems little. But it was after going through the processes that one appreciates why these simple, preliminary steps are crucial. A good share of start-ups don’t see their first, let alone their third birthday because this is missed from the start. The mSCAN team was glad to work with Barefoot lawyers to see MSCAN incorporated as MOBILE SCAN SOLUTIONS UGANDA LTD by guarantee.
The next boot was about business modelling and design thinking. For most of the medical and technical persons on mSCAN team, it was one of the eye opening sessions. The team was thrilled about concepts of business model campus and lean start-up methodology. At what at this level that it hit us that for start-ups turn into real businesses, they should know exactly who their customer segments are and offer the feasible value proposition.
The next highlight was the last concluded trip to Mubende district for needs assessment. The Up Accelerate team, mSCAN was joined by a fellow cohort team Eco SMART pads for the visit to the third largest district in Uganda at 4645 sq. kms. Mubende has a high HIV prevalence at 11.5% and teenage pregnancy rate at 35% both above national averages. There are only three ultrasound service points that serve in public health care system.
The conversation with a 28 year old mother carrying her fifth pregnancy is what brought the plight of situation to light. She had never had an ultrasound done to her. The only knowledge she had about ultrasound (‘akativi’ in the local language), was that it was done in the district centres some 30 kms away. If she wanted to get one, she would have to part with Ug shs 16,000 which was transport alone to this centre. The scan would cost her another Ug shs 15,000. She had had a difficult birth to her second born. When told about the possibility of knowing the sex of her child before it were born, her heart almost came out of her chest. “You mean that is possible, I would very much love that. I would even shop better clothes if it were a sweet baby girl”.
MSCAN team is convinced that Mubende is good starting point in extending lifesaving ultrasound services to the local people at a low cost. Like many places around Uganda, mSCAN will go a long way in saving the lives of pregnant mothers through early detection of risk factors of maternal mortality.