RAD-AID to train local doctors to detect microcephaly using ultrasound

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From left Gillian Battino, Dr Berndt Schmit, Dr William Adu-Krow of PAHO/WHO and Dr Paul Edwards, Director Health Systems and Services also of PAHO/WHO

Over 20 local doctors will begin training on Friday at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) to use ultrasound to detect microcephaly in pregnant women who were exposed to the zika virus.

Friday’s programme runs from 8:00am – 4:30pm and the RAD-AID representatives will course participants in innovative strategies to support advancement of patient-care in the area.

This workshop will be facilitated by Dr Brendt Schimit, the Equipment Implementation specialist at RAD-AID International and Gillian Battino a Director, RAD-AID for Latin America.

RAD-AID is a UN-affiliated non-profit organisation. Last year, RAD-AID donated two new CT Machines valued at over G$88M (US$440,000.00) to the Ministry of Public Health, through Phillips Corporation, USA.

In addition to coursing the more than 20 General Medical Officers (GMOs) and obstetricians, drawn from the country’s 10 Administrative Regions and the GPHC, Schimdt and Battino, who are already in the country, will visit the sites for the CT Machines at the Bartica Regional and New Amsterdam Hospitals.

At these locations they will inspect and provide technical assistance and support in the design of permanent housing for these CT machines.

The team are also expected to meet with GPHC executives and Dr. Madan Rambaran, Director, Institute of Health Sciences Education (IHSE) to plan for infrastructure necessary for a residency program that is scheduled to begin in August this year

RAD-AID International provides medical imaging (radiology) programmes and improves radiology resources to 15 developing countries, with over 4,000 volunteers and 44 national chapters, including the first 3-Year Radiology Residency training program in Guyana at the GPHC in collaboration with the University of Guyana (UG).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. It can occur because a baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, which results in a smaller head size.

Even tough it can occur separately, microcephaly is linked to the Zika virus which is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito, which also spreads the dengue and chikungunya viruses.

These mosquitoes flourish in standing water in buckets, flower pots, old tyres and vases and bite during the day and night.

Brazilian health authorities are convinced that this baby’s head condition, known as microcephaly, is related to the Zika virus that infected her mother during pregnancy. (Felipe Dana/Associated Press)

The Zika virus took Latin America and the Caribbean by storm last year as it reached freighting  proportions.

Brazil one of the countries severely affected by the virus, registered significant increases in the number of babies being born with microcephaly.

Brazil’s Health Ministry had said that 3,530 babies were been born with microcephaly in the country at the end of October, 2016 compared with less than 150 in 2014.

Neighbouring countries took note and instituted mechanisms such a flight bans, among others, to protect their population.

Guyana last year officially recorded two cases of microcephaly but the health ministry was uncertain if it was linked to Zika.

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