Nav: Home

Bringing the 'magic' of ultrasound to rural Uganda to reduce pregnancy complications

April 20, 2017

LONDON, ON - In a collaborative study from Lawson Health Research Institute (Lawson), Western University (Western), Bridge to Health Medical and Dental, and Kigezi Healthcare Foundation (KIHEFO), a team of researchers found that radio advertising for free ultrasounds in rural Uganda increased the number of pregnant women who attended modern medical care by 490 per cent.

The study was conducted to address the low number of women in rural Uganda who attend free antenatal care - modern health care for expecting mothers. In Uganda, approximately 6,000 women die annually from pregnancy-related complications and up to one third of women deliver their babies at home.

"Our hypothesis was that if we could offer free ultrasounds, so that women could see their unborn baby, more women would come forward and attend the antenatal clinic," explains Dr. Michael Silverman, a scientist at Lawson and Western and senior author on the study. "Who doesn't want to see their unborn baby? It's like magic."

Dr. Silverman conducted this study alongside Dr. William Cherniak, Executive Director at Bridge to Health, and Dr. Geoffrey Anguyo, Executive Director at KIHEFO.

In the developing world, women do not present for antenatal care for a variety of reasons. "It may be against their cultural beliefs or they may view modern medicine as irrelevant," says Dr. Cherniak. "As a result, many of these women are unaware of pregnancy complications and deliver at home without a trained health care professional."

Common pregnancy complications include the baby being turned the wrong way, the placenta being in the wrong place or even expecting twins. Another complication is the transmission of infectious diseases from the mother to child. In Africa, the biggest risk is the transmission of HIV, hepatitis B or syphilis which can be transmitted from the mother to the baby and cause chronic infection of the baby, birth defects or death. Undiagnosed maternal malaria can also lead to severe complications.

The use of portable ultrasound machines is extremely beneficial. "Portable ultrasounds allow you to screen for serious anatomical problems, like the baby being positioned the wrong way. When women present to the clinic for an ultrasound, we can also screen them for the infections which can lead to severe complications, and offer treatments," says Dr. Silverman, also Chair/Chief of Infectious Diseases at London Health Sciences Centre, St. Joseph's Health Care London and Western. "Portable ultrasound machines are fairly inexpensive to maintain and it's easy to train people to perform a simple obstetric ultrasound."

The study found that the method of advertising was important. When advertising free ultrasounds by word-of-mouth, there was no significant increase in the number of women who attended antenatal care. "It appears that the message about free ultrasounds was not spreading. Many people did not believe it was true that they could see their unborn baby," says Dr. Cherniak.

The researchers therefore decided to advertise free ultrasounds by radio with the hope that the message would be taken more seriously and spread farther. Radios are common in Ugandan households. As a result, almost six times the number of women attended the antenatal care clinics. This increase was particularly great in women who had previously seen a traditional healer. Amongst these women, attendance increased almost ninefold when ultrasound was advertised on the radio.

With an increase in the number of women who present for antenatal care, the research team hopes that health providers can show expecting mothers that modern care is safe, friendly and trustworthy. "We want to demonstrate to expecting mothers that antenatal care is safe and beneficial, and see if this encourages them to continue attending, particularly when they are in labour," says Dr. Cherniak.

The study, "Effectiveness of advertising availability of prenatal ultrasound on uptake of antenatal care in rural Uganda: A cluster randomized trial", is published in PLoS ONE. The study was funded by Bridge to Health Medical and Dental, and also supported by Cole Engineering, Lebovic Enterprises, Rotary International and Rotary Club of Scarborough North.

A video about this research can be viewed on the Western University YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BL6c2TXyIK4.
-end-
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Robert DeLaet
Communications & External Relations
Lawson Health Research Institute
519-685-8500 ext. 75664
robert.delaet@lawsonresearch.com

LAWSON HEALTH RESEARCH INSTITUTE

As the research institute of London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph's Health Care London, and working in partnership with Western University, Lawson Health Research Institute is committed to furthering scientific knowledge to advance health care around the world.

Follow Lawson News online:

Website: https://www.lawsonresearch.ca/news-events

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lawsonhealthresearchinstitute

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/lawsonresearch

WESTERN UNIVERSITY

Western University delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.

SCHULICH SCHOOL OF MEDICINE & DENTISTRY

The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University is one of Canada's preeminent medical and dental schools. Established in 1881, it was one of the founding schools of Western University and is known for being the birthplace of family medicine in Canada. For more than 130 years, the School has demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence and a passion for scientific discovery.

Follow Western Media Relations online:

Website: http://communications.uwo.ca/media/

RSS: http://feeds.feedburner.com/MediaWesternU

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mediawesternu

BRIDGE TO HEALTH MEDICAL AND DENTAL

Founded in Toronto, Bridge to Health Medical and Dental is comprised of a passionate group of medical and dental professionals brought together by a common desire to help provide healthcare to those in tremendous need. Our aim is to provide sustainable healthcare in a cost effective manner and have a lasting impact on the communities we serve. We currently operate in underserved rural communities of Uganda. In collaboration with KIHEFO, a reputable local non-governmental organization, we provide medical and dental care, improve healthcare delivery systems, train local healthcare workers and educate the residents of these communities. http://www.bridgetohealth.ca

KIGEZI HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION (KIHEFO)

A local not-for-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to community development in the Kabale District, located in the Kigezi Region, in southwest Uganda. KIHEFO operates a unique community approach. The KIHEFO team travels to villages bringing community development services to village groups that would otherwise be hard to reach. KIHEFO cares for and supports orphans and vulnerable children; operates general, dental and HIV/AIDS clinics; and operates a child nutrition and rehabilitation centre. KIHEFO's services address a diverse array of community needs including medical care, education, economic development and counseling. http://kihefoblog.wordpress.com/

Lawson Health Research Institute

Related Ultrasound Articles:

Ultrasound aligns living cells in bioprinted tissues
Researchers have developed a technique to improve the characteristics of engineered tissues by using ultrasound to align living cells during the biofabrication process.
Ultrasound for thrombosis prevention
Researchers established real-time ultrasonic monitoring of the blood's aggregate state using the in vitro blood flow model.
Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech
A new, more sensitive method to measure ultrasound may revolutionize everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.
Shoulder 'brightness' on ultrasound may be a sign of diabetes
A shoulder muscle that appears unusually bright on ultrasound may be a warning sign of diabetes, according to a new study.
Ultrasound-firewall for mobile phones
Mobile phones and tablets through so-called audio tracking, can be used by means of ultrasound to unnoticeably track the behaviour of their users: for example, viewing certain videos or staying in specific rooms and places.
Designing a new material for improved ultrasound
Development of a theoretical basis for ultrahigh piezoelectricity in ferroelectric materials led to a new material with twice the piezo response of any existing commercial ferroelectric ceramics, according to an international team of researchers from Penn State, China and Australia.
Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected
Lead magnesium niobate (PMN) is a prototypical
American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) takes steps to improve the quality of ultrasound imaging in obstetrics and gynecology
The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) convened a forum tasked with developing a roadmap for quality improvement in ultrasound imaging in obstetrics and gynecology and set up a task force to establish a consensus curriculum and competency assessment tools for residency training.
Augmented tongue ultrasound for speech therapy
Researchers have developed a system that can display the movements of our own tongues in real time.
Ultrasound imaging of the brain and liver
Ultrasound is commonly used in diagnostic imaging of the body's soft tissues, including muscles, joints, tendons and internal organs.
More Ultrasound News and Ultrasound Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Accessing Better Health
Essential health care is a right, not a privilege ... or is it? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can give everyone access to a healthier way of life, despite who you are or where you live. Guests include physician Raj Panjabi, former NYC health commissioner Mary Bassett, researcher Michael Hendryx, and neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#544 Prosperity Without Growth
The societies we live in are organised around growth, objects, and driving forward a constantly expanding economy as benchmarks of success and prosperity. But this growing consumption at all costs is at odds with our understanding of what our planet can support. How do we lower the environmental impact of economic activity? How do we redefine success and prosperity separate from GDP, which politicians and governments have focused on for decades? We speak with ecological economist Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey, Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Propserity, and author of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab