Main Funder: Fund for Innovation and Transformation (FIT), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and the Inter-Council Network (ICN)
Where: North Shoa Zone, Ethiopia
Remote Ultrasound Capacity Building for Antenatal Access Project in Ethiopia
This pilot project will test a capacity building program that will increase access to obstetrical care in rural Ethiopia by bringing potentially life-saving antenatal ultrasound imaging, and associated diagnostic, preventative and therapeutic capacities, to pregnant women in remote areas of Ethiopia. The goal of this project is to test the delivery of synchronous ultrasound services in selected health centers for pregnant women who are unable to access regular obstetrical care. This will be done by training midwives and other healthcare workers to use synchronous ultrasound technology in consultation with an Obstetrician located at Fitche Hospital.
Why this project is important
Despite significant investment and subsequent impressive advances in healthcare uptake and provision in Ethiopia over the last two decades, the country still struggles with one of the highest maternal mortality rate in the world, 412 deaths per 100,000 births, which is double the global average. The chances of a mother and her child surviving labour are even lower in rural areas, where 80% of the country’s citizens reside. This project can help more women get accessible and affordable healthcare and diagnose an at-risk pregnancy.
Project Strategies and Objectives
Demonstrate the potential of obstetrical telemedicine to address antenatal care access challenges in rural and underserviced regions
This project aims to test out ultrasound capabilities in low-resource regions of Ethiopia. Women in rural areas of the country currently often do not have access to ultrasound imaging as part of their antenatal care in their communities and must travel long distances to get the antenatal care they need. This is a barrier to poorer women who cannot afford to travel long distances, or who cannot take time away from work or their family. By introducing ultrasound technology and training local healthcare workers to perform ultrasound imaging and other antenatal care screening, pregnant women will get the standard of care they deserve.
To evaluate feasibility, potential and risks of a telemedicine network in rural areas with low connectivity
This is a pilot project to determine if a project like this could be scaled to other regions of Ethiopia and help reach more women who need access comprehensive antenatal care. It is a test of the synchronous capabilities of the technology that we will be using to ensure that it works in areas that have low connectivity to the internet.
To build capacity of front-line healthcare workers in remote regions of Ethiopia to perform obstetrical ultrasound imaging
Front-line health care workers will receive ultrasound imaging training, both theoretical and practical, which will also include other aspects of antenatal care, including the importance of diet and the warning signs of an at-risk pregnancy. Once they are out in the field, they will be performing synchronous ultrasound imaging under the guidance of a remote obstetrician located at the general hospital to ensure ongoing education and the strengthening of staff skills.
If you'd like to contribute towards this project, you can either donate towards this project through our donation form
, or you can donate towards our ultrasound fund
, where we are fundraising to cover the costs of the ultrasound machines for this project. If you'd like to receive updates about this 15-month project, sign up to receive our monthly newsletter here!