Every year, 76,000 women and 500,000 babies die of the pregnancy complication preeclampsia. A team of biomedical engineers and doctors are collaborating to change this grim reality with their startup, MoyoMedical Technologies.
What originally began as a class project for UNC PhD candidate Denali Dahl, Uganda's Makerere University student Zoe Sekyonda and Makerere University graduate Brian Matovu, quickly became a biotechnology startup that led them to create a health device known as Early Preeclampsia Detection Strip or EPED.
"What inspired us to become a startup was really just realizing that one of the quickest ways to translate technology from research to in the field having an impact, is through entrepreneurship," Dahl said.
Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication due to high blood pressure that can result in organ damage or death and is manageable if diagnosed early. But for women in low-resource areas where access to frequent medical care during pregnancy is limited, the risk of developing preeclampsia is higher than for women who have continuous prenatal care.
"Ultimately we're hoping to reduce the burden of undiagnosed preeclampsia and improve maternal health worldwide,” Dahl said.