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When many think of the continent of Africa, words such as famine, disease, poverty, short life spans and little to no healthcare and poor technological advancement come to mind. However, as of recently, Africa, and Uganda in particular has made great strides toward better living for its citizens as technology in Uganda is growing at a rapidly fast pace.
“Uganda has been ranked among the top three countries with advanced technological and innovation capabilities in Africa,” according to a study conducted by Martin Prosperity Institute of the U.S. And, as Uganda has been known for decades for its high infant and maternal mortality rates, an advanced ultrasound has finally made it’s way to the country in order to help pregnant women and their newborns survive in addition to a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery.
An expanding project known as ‘Imagining the World’ (ITV), based at the Kamuli Mission Hospital, is helping to get ultrasound technology into the country’s health centers.
Andrew Green, a reporter for the ‘Voice of Africa,’ stated, “Until two years ago, health workers at Kamuli Mission Hospital could not even tell a woman if she was carrying twins because there were no ultrasound machines. As a result, women and their families would not know they needed to be near health facilities that can handle complicated pregnancies when it came time to give birth.”
The project is providing ultrasound equipment to the hospital at low costs, so even those who are below the poverty level can still receive basic image scans. “Then the images are compressed and distributed via text message or e-mail to district-level health workers, who examine the images and identify potential problems.
Specialists in the United States provide backup opinions. Health workers are informed early enough that a woman facing a difficult birth can be directed to a higher-level health facility,” according to Dr. Alphonsus Matovu, the medical director of the Kamuli hospital. But before the women can come to Kamuli to receive an ultrasound, they must be screened for a series of health tests, including, HIV, malaria, and anemia, which could affect the outcome of a woman’s pregnancy.
As of last week, ITV has set up new ultrasound equipment in eight more health care facilities, which is estimated to cost 10,000 dollars per facility. Prior to Uganda having access to ultrasound technology equipment, the United Nations Children’s Fund reported that, “for every 1,000 live births, at least 63 infants die before their first birthday in Uganda.
Many of those deaths come from complications that could have been predicted by ultrasound technology. The situation also contributes to the country’s high infant mortality rate, with 310 out of every 100,000 women dying in childbirth.” Because of the great success of this project, ITV is looking into providing prenatal care in other impoverished areas of the world including South America and Asia.
Image Courtesy of uusc4all