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Corporate Buzz: GE Africa Launches Ultrasound Training Study in Tanzania

By:  GE Africa

Recently, GE Healthcare, in partnership with the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania, commenced the first-of-its-kind training of 14 Tanzanian Healthcare professionals at the Kisarawe District Hospital on GE's Vscan and Venue 40 ultrasound products.

The training is coming after over a year of designing the "Enhancing Training and Appropriate Technologies for Mothers and Babies in Africa" study prepared to assess the feasibility of technology intervention for enhancing antenatal care in resource poor settings.
 
While the maternal mortality ratio in Tanzania has decreased in the last decade, the current maternal mortality ratio of 454 per 100,000 live births is still higher than the figure targeted to reach the fifth Millennium Development Goal of 133 by 2015. The most common causes of maternal death in developing countries include hemorrhage, obstructed labor, hypertensive disorders and sepsis.

The goal of this project is to contribute to the Ministry of Health and Government efforts in reducing maternal mortality and new born deaths in order to accelerate the attainment of MDG's 4, "reducing by two-thirds the under-five mortality rate by 2015," and 5, "reducing by three-fourths the maternal mortality rate" by 2015 using simple and appropriate technologies in rural settings of Tanzania. This one-year project will measure the efficacy of such technological intervention in resource poor settings and also determine how cost effective such interventions are.

The team for this groundbreaking study was led by Janeen Uzzell, Director of Healthcare Programs for GE GGO in Africa, and Program Manager, Kallol Mukherji. The full team of clinical researchers, application specialists, regulatory and training design and implementation included GE Women Network members from GE Healthcare including Tanya Carillo, GEHC Segment Research Manager; Kelli Cummins-Brown, Senior Council, Research; Elizabeth Oakes, Ultrasound Applications Specialist; Karen Starr, Clinical Marketing Manager; Jeanie Standard, Ultrasound Applications Specialist, and Brenda Tennis, Ultrasound Applications Specialist.

The internal process of implementing an Investigator Sponsored Research (ISR) based study was led by Tanya Carillo and Kelli Cummins-Brown, summarizing their experiences thus: "Working on this project has been a very rewarding experience. I anticipated major challenges since it is one of the first research projects in Africa, but it was such a positive experience. With all of the cross functions and businesses working together so closely and being so well connected with Ifakara, we have all collaborated so well to the end goal of project kick-off - and done so in record time."

Kelli added: "The role of the many persons involved in this study is identical to that of any research study - facilitating research internally and externally to GEHC in the most compliant, appropriate and expedient manner. It was gratifying to know that the team's contributions assisted in the fruition of the research project."

Speaking at the start of the two-week long training, Janeen Uzzell said, "GE is committed to working with health sector stakeholders across Africa to advance access to quality and affordable healthcare." She also added that GE Healthcare has provided the much needed advanced training on how to use ultrasound technologies that help prevent maternal and neonatal deaths. These technologies will further be assessed for their impact to COST, ACCESS and QUALITY as well as whether they will be sustainable, sociable, cost effective, transferrable and can be enhanced by professional partners in Tanzania.

GE Women have made great strides towards saving the lives of mothers and babies in Africa. Integrating these core products into the healthcare process across the Continent will change the face of healthcare. Brenda Tennis said: "Traveling to Tanzania to train health care providers on the use of Vscan and Venue 40 ultrasound systems has not only changed how I view the world, but also filled me with such pride to be a part of the GE Healthcare team."

Also, during the training, a husband came to the clinic for the first time with his wife!

The training week was also covered on the front page of the main Tanzanian Business Newspaper, Daily News, as well as on their online edition. Please click to read the stories here, here and here.

Photos via GE Africa

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