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Alumni Dispatches

Healthcare Delivery Through Ultrasound

Vivek Kalia, MD, MPH '10

Vivek Kalia I will have the great privilege of accompanying Dr. Kristen DeStigter and Imaging the World (ITW) to rural Uganda in March 2012. We will be expanding the "healthcare delivery through ultrasound" paradigm that ITW has designed and optimized in recent years to many new rural sites.

As an ITW volunteer and future radiology resident, I will assist by teaching local healthcare workers the proper technique of using ultrasound machines and protocols, how to troubleshoot the system and how to keep things working efficiently. Time and again it has been shown that maternal or perinatal morbidity and mortality can be profoundly decreased with (1) access to prenatal imaging, (2) teaching of local healthcare workers regarding the most common complications seen in puerperium, and (3) a reliable and sustainable network of equipment and personnel to convey crucial health information quickly (i.e., ultrasound findings and information to guide triage).

The results are becoming increasingly clear: ITW has observed that during a one-year period, there has been a 70 percent increase in both antenatal visits and deliveries at Nawanyago Clinic compared to the corresponding period of the previous year—leading to improved health and survival for mother and child.

These ultrasound machines are truly revolutionizing the level of care deliverable to remote areas of Uganda and other nations, and maternal/fetal health is just the beginning! ITW has already developed protocols to diagnose conditions of the liver/gallbladder, thyroid, kidneys, female pelvis, long bone and breast; and more protocols are in development. I am eager to help patients in Uganda realize a better level of health for themselves and their newborns.

Vivek Kalia is a resident in Internal Medicine at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and soon is bound for the University of Vermont/Fletcher Allen Healthcare for a Diagnostic Radiology residency. He has been involved in Physicians for Human Rights since his sophomore year in college at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, serving as chapter president for two years at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where he worked closely with Dr. Robert Lawrence, one of the original founders of PHR.

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