Frequently Asked Questions
What does Imaging the World do?
We help bring ultrasound imaging to poor and underserved parts of the world. Ultrasound helps diagnose problems early in pregnancy, enabling women to get the treatment they need and helping save the lives of women and babies. We assist with both equipment and training and focus on making programs sustainable.
Where are your programs?
We are headquartered at the University of Vermont in the US but most of our work to-date has been done in Uganda. Uganda was selected for our pilot programs because of the high incidence of death during childbirth and the general lack of healthcare in rural areas. Also, Uganda has an existing referral system in place which enables appropriate intervention when problems are identified.
What are the uses for ultrasound in rural hospitals and clinics?
Ultrasound is routinely used for early detection of problems during pregnancy, enabling women to receive added medical attention. It is also used to detect breast cancer, evaluate of liver, kidney and thyroid disease, pediatric diseases, trauma triage, and echocardiography for rheumatic heart disease.
Do you only provide equipment?
More important than the equipment we provide is the training for healthcare staff working in rural hospitals and clinics. We provide direct training and have already trained over 150 medical personnel. Our curriculum is now also being used in a major nurse training program in Uganda. Beyond this, we have also developed special software that enables rural hospitals to transmit ultrasound scans at high quality over the internet. This assists in training and enables remote diagnosis of difficult medical cases.
In what other countries may you work in the future?
ITW will expand its work within Uganda over the next few years while also working to make ultrasound services available around the world. We are consulting on ultrasound program implementations with government representatives from Congo, Mozambique, Malawi, and Swaziland and we have pending agreements with the Malawain government on ultrasound programs. Beyond this we may look to such countries as India and China.
Expansion of services in Africa will be implemented through our affiliated NGO, ITW Africa.
How do you measure the success of your programs?
Success will be seen in a drop in mother and child mortality rates. While waiting for improvement in this long-term measure, we look at the number of local health care facilities where we’ve been able to introduce ultrasound technology and the number of medical staff who have been trained in the use of ultrasound technology and interpretation of results.
Has ultrasound equipment evolved?
Ultrasound devices have changed greatly over the past 10 years. Imaging the World uses commercially available devices for our program that meet certain criteria, including diagnostic quality, scan features that match local use-cases, cost, ease of use, portability, serviceability, and security. Most devices used are hand-held portable devices that can be solar-charged and currently are purchased with a 5-year warranty for between $4000 - $5000 USD.
How are you training local medical staff?
With the input of academic partners, Imaging the World employs a standardized ultrasound training curriculum geared to nurses, midwives and clinical officers in rural areas. The training includes classroom training with lectures and simulation, hands-on training at the workplace, remote proctoring, and continuous professional development courses.
What type of pregnancy risks are being shown with ultrasound?
Midwives and nurses using the Imaging the World ultrasound model at rural facilities identify common obstetric findings and complications such as: viability, dating, twins, presentation, placenta problems, amniotic fluid status, infection, retained products and source of bleeding, signs of pre-eclampsia, and maternal cardiac conditions.
Is your work based on a sustainable model?
Sustainable business models have already been achieved for private health facilities. A small fee for the scan, deemed affordable by the facility, pays for the consumables needed for operations (power, network, gel, cleaning supplies, office supplies, security and infrastructure) as well as the supply chain for ultrasound technology servicing, site monitoring, and ongoing training and supervision. Excess revenues are required, by agreement with Imaging the World, to be invested back into the medical facility.