International Ultrasound - Tanzania 2018
Help us raise $15,000 to create a sustainable ultrasound program in Mwanza, Tanzania!
This summer, 11 first year medical students from UC Irvine will be traveling to Mwanza, Tanzania to teach ultrasound and conduct research at the Tandabui Institute of Health, Education, Science and Technology (TIHEST). We will be the fifth UCISOM student group to go and work with the wonderful community of Mwanza. Our goal is to create a sustainable ultrasound program at TIHEST by providing local instructors with the means to carry on the program after our trip has ended. In addition to helping to educate the clinicians in Mwanza, we will be conducting research projects that we have created based off of the needs of this specific community. For example, our ophthalmology research project is to expand upon the ophthalmic needs last years team concluded. Finally, we are extremely excited to host a cervical cancer screen-and-treat clinic as well as research the demographics of cervical cancer and pelvic inflammatory disease patients. This information will help us to understand the at risk women, so we contribute to reducing the prevalence of these diseases.
Learn more about our projects below!
Ultrasound is a medical imaging technique that uses sound waves to visualize internal organs in real time. You are probably most familiar with ultrasound and its ability to visualize a developing baby inside its mother’s womb. But, ultrasound offers a variety of other uses: from visualizing a beating heart to localizing the presence of internal bleeding. Medical imaging tests that are easily accessible here in the United States, such as MRI’s, CT’s, and X-rays, are not easy to come by in Mwanza due to cost and the size of the machines. Ultrasound machines are more portable than their imaging counterparts (some can fit inside a small duffle bag!) and cost less to own and operate. For this reason, teaching the local community how to properly use ultrasound can provide many benefits.
Cervical Cancer Screen and Treat
Cervical cancer is the most prevalent cancer among women in Africa with approximately 40% of new cases occurring in East Africa. Tanzania has the 6th-highest national rate of cervical cancer in the world at 54.0 cases per 100,000; this preventable cancer is a major cause of death for Tanzanian women. Despite this burden, Tanzania has no universal cervical cancer screening protocols in place. Since 2016, UCISOM Team Tanzania has engaged with local communities in Mwanza (2016) and Ukerewe (2017) about HPV/cervical cancer awareness and has facilitated screen-and-treat services for populations-at-risk. Between 2016 and 2017, an average 13.32% of screened women were found to have precancerous cervical lesions with eligible patients being counseled and treated on the spot. For the 2018 clinic, we aim to expand demographic data collection and provide more robust HPV/cervical cancer educational services. Team Tanzania 2018 will be partnering with Buzuruga Health Center (public hospital) to run the screen-and-treat. To prevent HPV infections that may lead to cervical cancer, we will be sharing educational material and videos to better teach the women about the risks and causes of cervical cancer. This project is a continuation of efforts to promote women’s health through increasing access to cervical cancer screening and treatment.
Pediatric Ophthalmology Care Study
The World Health Organization estimates that in low-income countries, childhood blindness prevalence may be as high as 1.5 per 1000 children. It is estimated that 300,000 of the 1.3 million blind children in the world live in Africa. Our research project aims to utilize our unique patient demographic of children and mothers in Tanzania to perform vision screening for a wide range of childhood diseases and conduct a survey to assess maternal perspectives on child vision care and accessibility of these services. Our group will bring an auto-refractor to Tanzania to conduct accurate readings of refraction errors in children, perform stereo acuity tests for strabismus, test for cataract presence using the red reflex, and perform visual acuity testing. We will collect all visual data from our patients and administer the survey to their mothers in order to gain perspective on knowledge of pediatric eye conditions and symptoms and accessibility of services to address any of these symptoms.
Thank you for supporting our team and for all the work and hope we will bring to Mwanza, Tanzania!