Ghana helps pregnant women by providing ultrasound training
It has been recorded that Ghana has 319 maternal deaths for every 100,000 births and ranks 32 nd in the world for maternal death. ISUOG’s Ghana Outreach Project hopes to reduce these numbers by training local midwives, sonographers and OB/GYN practitioners in ultrasound so they can in turn become trainers.
Recently, International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology, ISUOG and GE Healthcare team up to provide ultrasound training to midwives and sonographers in Ghana.
However, in developing countries around the world, childbirth is a leading cause of death for women. But according to the World Health Organization (WHO), skilled care before, during and after childbirth can save the lives of women and newborn babies. That’s why the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology (ISUOG) teamed up with Women’s Health to Wealth and GE Healthcare to create an ultrasound training program in Ghana.
In addition, Ultrasound can help identify common complications such as ectopic pregnancy, placenta previa and abnormal fetal growth, allowing mothers to get proper treatment before birth and plan deliveries in hospitals. GE Healthcare donated three Voluson ultrasound systems to the program and sent ultrasound specialists to help train the participants.
Dr. Theodora Pepera-Hibbert, a volunteer with the ISUOG training team and a native of Ghana said;
“Ghana has high rates of infant and maternal mortality, a lot of them for preventable conditions.This is where ultrasound can pick up conditions that can make childbirth safer for the mother and the baby.”
“By equipping these midwives and sonographers with the right tools and skills, we hope to improve the lives of women and children across Ghana. It has been incredibly exciting to see the impact this project is having as the trainees now become the trainers.” Barbara Del Prince, Director of Global Product and Clinical Management at GE Healthcare’s Women’s Health Ultrasound added.
The program included a week of intense classroom and hands-on training at one of three locations in Kumasi. Afterwards, participants checked in with mentors in weekly video chats to discuss images they have scanned and received support on their scanning capabilities.
Dr. Pepera-Hibbert stated:
“We train midwives and sonographers to recognize what’s normal so they can identify abnormal ultrasounds and refer the mother to a specialist. It’s wonderful to see a midwife who didn’t know one end of a baby from another on an ultrasound now discuss the ventricles of the brain. It has been amazing.”
One of the trainees narrated:
“I want to help mothers safely deliver their children. I know that my mother suffered a lot when she delivered, so I always had it in my mind that, when I grew up, I would help mothers deliver and return home safely.”
Dr. Pepera-Hibbert agrees that the experience has been nothing but positive for herself and the people of Ghana. “I’m very grateful to GE and ISUOG for taking the time and the dedication to not give up on Ghana even when it’s been challenging,” she said.
“I think it’s an amazing gift, and I’m just so thankful Ghana was selected for this long-running program. That’s why I feel so committed to making sure there will be a sustainable outcome. I feel really dedicated to making that happen.” She further stated.
As part of the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals, the goal is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births between 2016 and 2030. With this ISUOG program, it is highly possible that this goal will be achieved.