Imaging the World Africa has been registered and operational in Uganda since 2010 as an affiliate of Imaging the World in the US.

Ultrasound technology attracts use of other medical services.

Ultrasound technology attracts use of other medical services.

In Uganda, 95 percent of the population lives in rural, resource-insecure areas while 95 percent of the trained healthcare workers live in urban areas. Life-saving diagnostic tools are generally not available to the most vulnerable people in Uganda.

Uganda is a country where:

  • Most pregnancy-related deaths occur in remote underserved areas and are associated with hemorrhage or obstructed labor
  • 80 percent of women in the regions with high birth rates have limited access to appropriate care
  • 6,000 Ugandan women die annually due to pregnancy related complications
  • The leading cause of death for girls ages 15-18 is pregnancy

We have worked closely with the Uganda Ministry of Health and we are developing a memorandum of understanding with them that will set the terms of future cooperation. The MOU will guide our efforts to have ultrasound at all rural HCIIIs healthcare facilities in Uganda and at any other facilities where the Ministry of Health sees a need.  We also plan to provide Imaging the World ultrasound services through private sector facilities.

Imaging the World Africa, working closely with the Ugandan Ministry of Health, operates out of a central office in Naalya. A highly skilled team ensures that all sites operate smoothly and have the resources needed to operate in a sustainable fashion.

The need in Uganda

Rural areas of Uganda are greatly underserved with healthcare.

Rural areas of Uganda are greatly underserved with healthcare.

Although maternal mortality figures vary widely, best estimates for Uganda suggest that 6,000, women and girls die each year due to pregnancy-related complications. For every woman or girl who dies from childbirth, between 20 and 30 more will suffer short and long-term disabilities such as obstetric fistula, ruptured uterus, or pelvic inflammatory disease.

Uganda was selected to first implement ITW’s model because 88 percent of the population lives in rural areas and because the country was rated 182nd out of 191 countries worldwide for healthy life expectancy. Uganda’s rankings for maternal and neonatal health also lag behind the global average in disparity between rural and urban access to services.

The goal of this research collaboration is to establish the competency of ITW’s model, demonstrating that the model will successfully bring a higher standard of care to rural areas of Uganda and that it has the potential to be sustainable.

Program sustainability

At private facilities, agreements ensure that any revenue generated from ultrasound scans is put back into the Health Centre system and that the fees charged for the scans are affordable to the community. Most of the private facilities we work with now charge between 5,000 and 10,000 Uganda shillings for a scan and this has been demonstrated to be affordable to communities consisting mostly of subsistence farmers.

As such, these facilities provide needed services close to home in a sustainable fashion. In fact, the ultrasound programs have been shown to generate new revenue for healthcare facilities. This has resulted in new investments in ambulances, fences, building upgrades, new HIV clinics, and so on in an upward spiral of healthcare for everyone served in these communities. Certainly, the integration of ultrasound scan services into the existing clinic workflow has become a vital part of both routine and emergency care with a positive impact on countless lives.