This pilot program will serve the Upper West Region of Ghana, based from the city of Wa, and will save the lives of mothers and babies by bringing transformative portable ultrasound technology to the region.
We are Gifty Serbeh-Dunn and Michael Fountain. We met in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island ten years ago, and our families have been friends ever since. Both of us are passionate about socially conscious business practices. This project is a perfect utilization of both of our talents and expertise, and is a cause we both feel very passionate about and committed to - reducing infant and maternal mortality.
Gifty: When Michael mentioned the portable ultrasound technology to me, I jumped at the idea, as I knew well that it would make a difference in the lives of expectant mothers and babies in Ghana. I was born and raised in Wa, in Upper West Region of Ghana, where the maternal and child mortality rate is extremely high. Any tools that would assist the hard working doctors there would be embraced. I set to work to connect the dots to make this project a possibility. Donations would enable us to purchase this amazing technology to bring to the health units in Wa, Upper West Region. Any effort to reduce maternal child mortality in this region means saving numerous lives, that of both mothers and babies. We are looking to raise 50,000 to take five ultrasound units and probes to the rural areas in UWR - Wa in Ghana.
Michael: I am a long time technologist with a great interest in people. At one time my focus was building the Internet, and later it became the safety and security of transactions and information online. I am interested in leveraging technology to improve the lives of people. We need help from others who have a similar vision to make this project a success.
The challenge was to uncover a technical advance that is available, provides a needed service, and can be quickly delivered to the point of use. Portable ultrasound is that technology. It is clear that the use of new, miniaturized ultrasound imaging drives early prenatal care to people who have not had access to pregnancy management early in the gestational period. Simply determining gestational age, and potential high risk conditions, is a huge win where resources are limited, and transportation must be planned weeks in advance. We are fortunate in Wa to be partnering with trusted regional providers who have identified their logistical and infrastructural needs and are the primary providers of care in the region.
Gifty: The closest comprehensive care facility is Tamale, a city which would be a four hour drive for most women living in rural areas of the region, but because of very bad roads it is a day’s journey away. Because of this, prenatal care using any such technology is out of reach for most women in this region. As my work involves assisting women in my home region, it makes sense to include maternal health issues as a necessary part of how I help their efforts at alleviating poverty. My family ties, as well as my professional connections in Wa, make me an excellent bridge between the community of Wa and you, the donor.
Michael: Delivery of services to the point of care is critical to the success of any health care initiative in remote regions such as the UWR in Ghana. Currently the barriers to the provision of technically advanced services in pre and perinatal medicine are the availability of the imaging equipment, transportation of providers to the point of care, training of the medical technologists, and the availability of expert interpretation.
This project will provide public health professionals with the tools for comprehensive prenatal care: lightweight mobile transportation, a medical kit that includes portable ultrasound for the health practitioner delivering the service, and training in the use of the ultrasound probe at the Midwifery Training College for the Upper West Region at St. Joseph's Hospital in Jirapa. Using telemedicine, ultrasound images can then be interpreted by physicians at major healthcare centres. Portable ultrasound provides detection of high risk conditions, gestational age, and other vital information necessary for successful pregnancy and birth. The use of portable ultrasound will transform health care in this region, with a drastic reduction in infant and maternal mortality.