In Togo, very few pregnant women receive ultrasounds although every woman is recommended to have at least one during their pregnancy. This is due to the cost of the procedure, the lack of trained staff and the lack of ultrasound machines. Ultrasounds are used to date the pregnancy, confirm a fetal heartbeat and detect preterm birth among other vital uses. In Togo only the top medical professionals know how to perform an ultrasound and the machines are only present in regional hospitals, not in local health facilities where the majority of women seek prenatal care. These prove to be large barriers to the wellbeing of pregnant women and their newborns.
In October, Hope Through Health received a shipment of equipment and supplies generously donated by IMEC, The Gould Family Foundation and Segal Family Foundation. The donation included two portable ultrasound machines. These machines will allow Hope Through Health to provide the lifesaving diagnostic tool to thousands of women who previously lacked access.
Hope Through Health’s Clinical Mentor and nurse, Emile Bobozi, spent the month of December learning how to operate an ultrasound machine. He was trained by a gynecologist that works at a private hospital in Kara. In the first month of the ultrasound program, HTH’s team visited 3 rural and 1 peri-urban sites and performed 168 ultrasounds!
Emile and the gynecologist performed the ultrasounds together. Any women with abnormalities were referred for further care at a tertiary center and will be followed by our team. Soon, Emile will be performing ultrasounds by himself and referring to the gynecologist for complicated cases. The long-term plan is for Emile to train birth attendants in the rural sites to perform the ultrasounds themselves.
The ultrasound program is a huge stride for the health and wellbeing of expecting mothers and their babies. HTH would like to extend our deepest gratitude to IMEC, the Gould Family Foundation and the Segal Family Foundation for their support in ultrasound equipment and suppleis. Together, we are transforming the healthcare system in northern Togo for a population of nearly 40,000 people.