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Heading Deep Into Eastern Africa with a Pocket-sized Ultrasound

Picture1From its dynamic urban environment to its proximity to Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, Uganda’s capital of Kampala has much to offer. Some might say its people are the most enjoyable part of the city, and Dr. Mumoli would certainly agree.

Born and raised in Italy, Dr. Nicola Mumoli has been in the medical field for more than 20 years as a physician, researcher, and professor. Dr. Mumoli recently joined Bhalobasa ONLUS, a non-profit that funds entrepreneurial and healthcare projects in India, Burkina Faso, Congo, Uganda and Tanzania.

One of the main challenges in Uganda is limited access to healthcare. In a country where the average age is 15.5 years¹ and life expectancy for males is 60 years², the importance of basic healthcare is undeniable. For many, healthcare is simply not affordable, but even for those who can afford it, the distance to local hospitals poses an incredible risk.

Equipped with GE Healthcare’s Vscan™ with Dual Probe – a pocket-sized Ultrasound machine – Dr. Mumoli and seven other Bhalobasa volunteers including doctors, nurses and teachers worked with the community of Kampala and surrounding towns in Uganda and Tanzania to teach children of all ages about healthy habits and train nurses and clinicians in the local hospitals.

 

At the city’s main hospital, the team was struck by the outdated machinery, influx of foreign doctors, and lack of resources. “The local medical community was eager to learn about general imaging, in particular to scan the bladder, abdomen and chest. They have many medical problems in their community and often no solutions,” said Dr. Mumoli.

With the single ultrasound console, the team was able to scan more than 120 patients in addition to teaching local clinicians and nurses how to use the ultrasound for general scans.

“With Vscan with Dual Probe, we were able to give patients immediate diagnosis and care,” said Dr. Mumoli. “The device’s portability allowed us to scan these patients both in a clinical setting and also in more rural settings.”

Dr. Mumoli and the team of volunteers spent time with children who had lost their parents to various diseases and were living in tough conditions. “Despite all this, their faces were lit up with happiness and smiles. Their resilience was truly inspiring,” he said.

¹ Index Mundi – 2014 profile

² World Health Organization – 2015