Uganda - Our Experience

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We have witnessed first-hand the incredible challenges midwives face practicing obstetrics in remote locations in sub-Saharan Africa and we have searched for a way to make an impact.

Our team at the University of Washington has placed low-cost ultrasound equipment in the hands of midwives in rural Uganda and trained the midwives to use the instruments effectively.

Training local people to perform an ultrasound early in pregnancy allows detection of life-threatening conditions (twins, ectopic pregnancy, and abnormal placement of the placenta). Health care workers can then use this diagnostic tool to encourage women to seek care in a hospital where outcomes can be managed effectively instead of attempting a home birth to save money.

Our team has trained 45 midwives in Uganda to perform pregnancy ultrasound. In the future, we hope that the video tutorials, in combination with hands-on training, will be important educational tools to help new learners feel comfortable using the technology.

Curriculum

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• This course was created to train healthcare workers to perform basic pregnancy ultrasound in parts of the world where formal training is not available.

• The ultrasound videos and training handbooks are designed to be used in a 2-week ultrasound course.

• The hands-on sessions in the trainer's guide are essential components of the course and must be supervised by an experienced ultrasound practitioner.

• Upon completion of the course and the written and practical tests, we strongly recommend that you have at least 40 hours of scanning experience with clinical mentoring before you undertake unsupervised scanning.

Ultrasound Course Objectives

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• To reduce deaths of pregnant women and their infants in the developing world.

• To provide a basic obstetric ultrasound training course for health care providers in parts of the world where formal training is not available.

• To provide clear, concise, medically sound, state of the art ultrasound videos and other educational materials for a 2-week ultrasound course.

 

Maternal and Fetal Health Facts

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• Every day, approximately 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.

• 99% of all maternal deaths occur in low resource developing countries.

• More than half of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and almost one third occur in South Asia.

• Maternal mortality is higher in women living in rural areas where access to qualified pre-natal health care, including a capable health facility with ultrasound diagnostics is scarce.

• Maternal health is closely linked to newborn health. Almost 3 million newborn babies die every year, and an additional 2.6 million babies are stillborn.

• Skilled care before, during and after childbirth can save the lives of women and newborn babies.

• Ultrasound plays an important role in identifying pregnancy-related conditions that put the mother or fetus at risk during delivery.

• Thus, there is a high demand for basic ultrasound solutions in the rural areas in developing countries.

Disclaimers

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• This course is not be used for fetal sex selection. We recognize that ultrasound is used to enable abortion for fetal sex selection in some parts of the world.  We condemn this practice.

• The purpose of ultrasound in pregnancy should always be to ensure the health and survival of the mother and her child. Therefore, our videos maintain that gender should not be revealed during ultrasound.

• Girls Matter - Girls and women create the foundation for healthy societies.

• This course is not to be interpreted as a comprehensive guide to ultrasound and does not result in an official certificate or diploma.

• This course was created to train healthcare workers to perform basic pregnancy ultrasound in parts of the world where formal training is not available.

• Identification of serious pregnancy conditions by ultrasound may be life-saving, but only if mothers are delivered at facilities that can care for them and their babies appropriately. It is essential that healthcare workers performing basic pregnancy ultrasound appropriately counsel women to explain the risks of serious pregnancy conditions identified by ultrasound and facilitate their referral to the appropriate facility.