Category Archives: General

ISUOG Outreach is off to Oman!

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ISUOG Outreach is excited to announce that it will be launching Phase I Trip I of its Outreach Program in Muscat, Oman starting Sunday, 5 November. Led by ISUOG Outreach Committee Member, Dr. Titia Cohen-Overbeek and supported of ISUOG Ambassador to the Middle East, Prof. Hisham Mirghani, the team consists of an international group such as Dr. Nimrah Abbasi of Canada, Dr. Valeria Angioni of Estonia and Ms. Pauline Schut from the Netherlands, with ISUOG’s International Development Coordinator Gesu Antonio Baez joining the team to deliver the program. The team will be teaching a group of 30 trainees from across the country in basic ultrasound in obstetrics and gynecology. With the backing and official partnership of the Omani Ministry of Health and GE Healthcare in supporting machines on loan, the ultimate goal of the program is to train key doctors from vital regions of the country to spread ultrasound knowledge and training in order to foster a sustainable environment in OG/GYN ultrasound education. Stay tuned on our blog for updates on the field as they happen! For more information about our program, visit our website for more details.

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Zika Humanitarian Response: Free Multilingual ISUOG Webinar on Zika – 19 May!

Physician Education Update!

FREE ISUOG Outreach Webinar
Congenital Zika Virus Syndrome: how to improve your diagnostic capabilities
Thursday May 19, 2016
English, Spanish and Portuguese

As pregnant women and their fetuses are being diagnosed with Congenital Zika Virus Syndrome with increased frequency in Brazil as well as in other Latin American countries, it becomes crucial to educate regional practitioners on the way to make these diagnoses as early as possible.

This free Webinar will provide participants with the necessary tools to differentiate between unaffected and affected.

English: Click here for more information, to view the full program, and to register now!

Spanish: Haga click para mas información, ver el programa, y registrarse ahora!

Portuguese: Clique aquí para mais informação, ver o programa e inscrever-se agora!

Guest Bloggers wanted for ISUOG Outreach!

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(Image by G.A Baez for ISUOG Outreach)

The ISUOG Outreach Program thrives on one thing – passion. Whether on the field or in the scanning room, we aim to share that passion with all our followers via our blog and on Facebook.

Have you volunteered with ISUOG Outreach before? Are you currently on the field conducting Outreach around OB/GYN ultrasound training? Have you yourself benefitted from ISUOG Outreach?

We are now accepting guest bloggers for 2016. Interested? Email us and let us know what you want to share. Your experience on the field? A topic related to ISUOG Outreach work? Something else?

This is a small way to make a big impact on how the world views ISUOG Outreach. Email outreach@isuog.org with you name, profession, country of residence and what you want to share.

Why women’s health is a vital part of global human rights

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Mothers in Ghana
(Image courtesy of Gesu Antonio Baez for ISUOG Outreach – Ghana)


10 December was Human Rights Day. When Hillary Clinton made the statement, “Women’s rights are Human Rights” during the 1995 UN Conference on Women in Beijing, it rocked global consciousness in recognising women’s rights as an integral part of human rights. But what about women’s health?  Is it a part of human rights and how does ISUOG defend this? ISUOG’s International Development Officer, Gesù Antonio Báez, explores this topic further.

 

It would be foolish to believe that women’s health didn’t play a crucial role in global women’s rights or human rights in general. Yet somehow, despite the numerous international conventions and covenants that have been championed by the UN and its global partners, women’s health has been pushed as merely a topic for development and humanitarian endeavours, as clearly demonstrated with the now defunct Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and newly initiated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) this past September.

Of course, this is not to belittle its category as an important item on the developmental agenda; in fact, it’s paramount to it! But women’s health amounts to so much more than as a single task to accomplish in a nation’s pursuit towards overall development. Because truth be told, women’s health – particularly their right to quality healthcare – is vital not just for global development, but crucial in the fight to defend women’s rights. For if women are the backbone to society and essential for a country’s empowerment, then denying them adequate healthcare is both a violation of their human rights and a denial for a country in achieving its true potential in global development.  Human rights are, first and foremost, a matter of preserving dignity and guaranteeing women access to competent doctors and health services is a task in which all nations and key human rights agents must be willing to invest upon in order to properly demonstrate their commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted by the international community exactly 68 years ago on 10 December 1947.

As an agent for women’s health, ISUOG’s mission is to ensure that every woman has access to competent ultrasound scanning and that OB/GYN conditions are effectively diagnosed because it is a women’s right – her human right – to receive proper treatment and care.

Either via an ISUOG Approved Course in Nigeria, a World Congress in Rome, an International Symposium in India, or an Outreach program in Papua New Guinea,  ISUOG strives to ensure this sacred right is respected and honoured by empowering OB/GYN professionals with the necessary skills needed to conduct a proper scan with quality educational resources, no matter where in the world they are located because the key to ISUOG’s mission is every woman.

Women’s rights are human rights as Hillary Clinton said nearly twenty years ago in Beijing, but women’s health is a fundamental part of this because it honours the women’s right to live. Through ISUOG’s mission and role in the important task of upholding this right, I believe we are on the way towards making an overall respect for this right completely universal.

Milestones: ISUOG’s role is to become the bridge in education

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(Image courtesy of ISUOG Outreach – Somaliland)

Paulina Stachnik is ISUOG’s Events and Education Assistant. Passionate about delivering high quality educational resources, she has worked as a teacher on three continents and completed her MSc in International Development in 2014 at the University of Edinburgh. She believes that comprehensive education and skills building are the key to long-term and sustainable growth around the world. As a result, she’s chosen to share how her passion and education mix in with ISUOG’s overall mission.

 

Milestones are a unique occasion for pause and reflection. While ISUOG has done little in terms of slowing down, with a growing list of 13,300 members, 25 years marks a significant chapter in the journey of an organization with humble origins and mindful values: quality, innovation, leadership, and learning.

Milestones are also an opportunity to come full circle and to gauge our progress, not only by how far we have come from the starting line, but also by how true we have remained to the ideas that have sparked ISUOG’s conception. As new initiatives continue to take form, ISUOG remains mindful of the most valuable—and renewable—resource it offers: education.

Picture this: one doctor in Ghana region attends a course on prenatal genetics via live streaming. She shares the knowledge with ten colleagues at her hospital; each doctor scans fifteen women every day—two spot an anomaly they would have otherwise not known about.

One Chinese trainee’s newly acquired knowledge of a Doppler technique shifts the direction of a fetus’ development, significantly increasing the chance of the recommended treatment’s success.

A case study presented by a young Turkish researcher starts a conversation between two doctors who come to a conclusion about an unresolved diagnosis.

ISUOG’s role is to become that bridge—for sharing knowledge, progressing research, encouraging discussion, redefining expertise—and after a quarter of a century, that bridge links a community of medical professionals in 126 countries. Momentum continues to build—ISUOG’s online CME platform makes learning a click away, as easily accessed from a suburb of Doha as a home office in London; translated guidelines make critical information clearly understood in native tongues; over 730 scientific abstracts for the 2015 World Congress in Montreal arrived from every continent.

Soon, it’ll be time for a birthday cake and birthday wishes. Though 25 candles may not be needed, as ISUOG’s ultimate goal of making comprehensive education and training for all professionals, anywhere in the world, is becoming a reality.

And we’re just getting started.

Success down under! ISUOG Outreach returns to Australia

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Dr. Nayana Parange (right)  beaming a smile as she trains a trainee on a simulator

Another amazing job! ISUOG Outreach has recently supported another outreach workshop in Australia, this time in Whyalla (South Australia). Led once again by Outreach Volunteer Dr. Nayana Parange, the workshop was delivered in June 2015 and was the response to the Indigenous Strategy and Reconciliation Plan UniSA, which allowed Nayana and her team to develop and deliver an ultrasound outreach workshop addressed towards ‘closing the gap’ to improve perinatal mortality and morbidity in the Australian Aboriginal communities through quality basic obstetric and gynecological ultrasound training.

The key purpose of the Outreach workshop was to provide ultrasound training to midwives and doctors working in the remote and indigenous communities in South Australia, so that they could provide basic ultrasound services to patients who would otherwise have no access to ultrasound services.

The workshop was modeled along the lines of the first workshop conducted last year in Darwin (Northern Territory). It included theoretical lectures as well as practical sessions, where the participants obtained hands-on training with simulators as well as real patients. The faculty and tutors included Dr Nayana Parange ( UniSA), Dr Karen Shand (Ob Gyn and Sonologist : Flinders Medical Centre), Dr Annie Thomas ( Ob Gyn Whyalla), Ms Brooke Osborne (UniSA)  and Ms Sarah Williams (Jones and Partners).

 

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The Australia Outreach team (Brooke Osborne, Sarah Williams, Annie Thomas, Karen Shand, and Nayana Parange)

 

The workshop was a success with 11 midwives and 2 GPs practicing in remotes parts of South Adelaide and Northern Territory. The trainees were very enthusiastic and particularly enjoyed the interactive nature of the workshop. Vicki Coulis, a participant from Wudinna Hospital said “Fabulous workshop, very helpful and will help me at point of care for Obstetrics and Gynecologic patients.”

The workshop was such a success that the Whyalla News (regional newspaper) ran a story it (to read it, click here)!

Given the success of these workshops, Dr. Parange and her team are definitely looking to plan another one in the near distant future – and we’ll naturally keep you informed!

SANA’s Spring Reflections from the Lebanese Outreach

Reem Abu-Rustum, MD FACOG is the founder and President of SANA Medical NGO (an ISUOG partner), dedicated to outreach obstetrical care in Lebanon. She is also ISUOG’s Ambassador to Lebanon and the Middle East, being actively involved in the integration of ultrasound in medical education. SANA celebrated 4 years of success this past May and in this post, Reem graciously shares her insight on not just outreach in the under deserved communities in Lebanon, but also accommodating new disadvantaged communities coming in from neighboring Syria as well.


Spring, earth’s time of rebirth and regeneration.

It brings with it endless hope and promise. This spring, it marked a most special time for SANA Medical NGO during which it celebrated its 4th birthday on 19 May 2015 and renewed its commitment to its mission.

It has been an amazing four years during which SANA had to evolve and adapt to the changing needs within the Lebanese Outreach. So many missions, lessons and stories have had a lifelong impact and have been forever etched within SANA’s memory; the endless images of stoic expectant mothers wearing appreciative smiles of reassurance and the bright faces of SANA’s trainees empowered by their new skill and knowledge. There lies the driving force behind SANA, infusing it with such a sense of purpose.

On its 4th birthday, SANA reflects back on its teachers, trainees, patients and supporters who have all been an endless well of inspiration.

Without its teachers, who served as the ultimate role model, SANA would not have come into existence. The incredible work that was being accomplished all over the globe by Alfred and Sharon Abuhamad, Titia Cohen-Overbeek, Jean-Claude Fauron, Lisbet Hansen, Philippe Jeanty, Anthony Johnson, Dario Paladini, Ann Tabor and the ISUOG Outreach volunteers is what led to the birth of SANA. It was founded in loving memory of Dr. Sana Elias with the goal of carrying out ISUOG Outreach’s work in ‘our own Lebanese backyard’. To its teachers, SANA is forever grateful.

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Over the past 4 years, SANA has been blessed in being able to partake in the sonographic education of over 30 deeply committed and motivated trainees of various ages and qualifications. The training is ongoing at different phases to the diverse groups. Regardless of their background, whether or not they could read or write, they held the probe with contagious excitement and dedication soon after putting their newly acquired sonogaphic skills to tremendous use. Nothing is as gratifying as watching SANA’s trainees positively impact the medical care being provided to the underserved expectant mothers in the Lebanese Outreach, which now comprises of both native Lebanese mothers and Syrian refugees. SANA is proud of its first group of nine midwives and nurses who have completed the basic training and received ISUOG certificates. They are now undergoing continuous advanced training. In addition, one of SANA’s star trainees, Midwife Loulou, has lectured to the newest group of 16 midwifery students igniting their interest and capturing their attention. Today, SANA is as committed as ever to making available proper sonographic training to all interested probe-handlers.
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As SANA reflects back, it becomes quite apparent that perhaps the most powerful images are those of its patients. SANA was established with a primary goal of providing high standard quality care to underserved Lebanese mothers. Little was it known back in 2011 that over one third of SANA’s patients would be Syrian refugees. SANA had to adapt to mounting needs where, in addition to the pre-existing suboptimal conditions in the Lebanese Outreach, it was faced with the additional challenges of a growing number of patients who had witnessed the atrocities of war in all its forms, due largely to the current conflict in Syria. But these patients were combatting death by bringing in life and as such, SANA has managed to take care of several patients now in their second and third pregnancies during their displacement in Lebanon. These patients tended to be either much younger or grand multiparas with higher rates of prior home births and prior cesarean births when compared to their Lebanese counterparts. SANA is indebted to its able partners who have facilitated its mission in delivering quality prenatal care to over 1000 patients. Most importantly now, it is through the actions of SANA’s trainees, who have been most gracious in providing quality prenatal care to underserved Lebanese and Syrian refugees, that SANA’s existence is validated.

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And how could SANA have ever succeeded in any of its activities had it not been for its volunteers? They have been giving consistently and selflessly, serving as a key to SANA’s sustenance.

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As SANA’s reflections come to a close, it looks forward to a most promising future fueled by unwavering passion and acquired wisdom, aided by its donors and supporters. Today, SANA renews its vows to carrying on with its mission thanking each and every one who has accompanied it on this most unforgettable journey in the glorious Lebanese Outreach.

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WHO Meeting in London: maternal health in the post-2015 agenda

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ISUOG participated as an active observer during the WHO-PMNCH Board meeting in London, chaired by Graça Machel, former First Lady of South Africa and Mozambique.

As a member of WHO’s Partnership for Maternal and Newborn Child Health, ISUOG participated in their Annual Board Meeting on Monday 20 April 2015, at the RCOG headquarters in London.

Chaired by former South Africa/Mozambique First Lady, Graça Machel (who is also the widow of Nelson Mandela) the energy in the room was electric with discussions on strategies to improve women’s health and focused on identifying priorities for maternal and child health for the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda. However, identifying these priorities became a real challenge for the board which tried to agree on what these should be and at the same time recognise the needs of all nations. This stems from the common issue of data and feedback monitoring which proved to be inconsistent over the years and there is now a lack of concrete and inconsistent reporting on what the main issues are in various countries.

ISUOG is a proud to partner with PMNCH and our presence at this meeting helped address the importance of providing doctors with quality education and training so that they can deliver effective obstetric and gynecological care to women all over the world.

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Amina Mahamad of Nigeria, UN’s Advisor to Maternal and Child Health for the Post-2015 agenda, responds to why educating doctors is crucial in saving the lives of countless women.

Highlighting the importance of ensuring all OB/GYN’s are empowered with quality education in training, Amina Mahamad of Nigeria, who serves as the UN’s Advisor to Maternal and Child Health for the Post-2015 agenda, shared her own experience as a mother. When giving birth to her four children in Nigeria, she was found subject to squalid conditions and dealt with doctors who were not sure exactly how to manage the childbirth. She highlighted that it is indeed time for countries to invest in education and resources for their health practitioners to help prevent maternal mortality. She mentioned as well her own cousin, who died of pre-eclampsia, which was not diagnosed until it was too late, despite having been to all her routine check-ups. Her message was clear; all mothers should be given the assurance and ease of mind that their doctor is fully capable of delivering their baby safely and this only comes through quality education for our doctors.

The agenda for the Sustainable Development goals aim to incorporate the needs of both the developing and developed world; and, it is clear that many more conversations will be needed to ensure that the goals fulfil the health requirements of women and children globally. ISUOG is very proud to be part of this process and looks forward to progress in the years to come.

Beyond 2015: the continued relevance of maternal mortality

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Image from ISUOG Outreach – Ghana 2010

Gesù Antonio Báez is ISUOG’s International Development Officer. He coordinates and is responsible for all development projects, in particular for the coordination of the ISUOG Outreach Program. He contributes regularly to the ISUOG Outreach Blog. To inquiry about Outreach, reach him at outreach@isuog.org

December 2015 will technically mark the end of the current Millennium Development Goals for 2015 and multiple organisations and NGO’s are running at frantic pace to continue to work towards fulfilling what those goals were set out to accomplish while governments are providing their last reports and findings to demonstrate whether they have met their goals for 2015 or not.

The Millennium Development Goals (or MDG’s as they are commonly called) were a list of eight specific goals designated and agreed to by the United Nations in 2000 that were aimed at cutting poverty and related factors in half by 2015. Among those eight goals were number four and five which primarily focused on the need to reduce levels of maternal and neonatal mortality rates in under development countries. But after 2015, should the topic on improving maternal and neonatal health come off the priority list?

At present, talks on the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals are underway with countless stakeholders and NGO representatives invited to the United Nations and relevant UN agencies to help identify them. A new initiative carried out by the NGO “Red Elephant” is underway in collaboration with the UN to carry out surveys in various regions to ask the global audience which items they should view as a top priority to begin working on- items such as adolescent rights, women’s empowerment, gender equality, and many more. And at ISUOG’s 25th World Congress which will take place in Montréal of this year, the topic of global maternal mortality will be a major focus. But will maternal mortality still be relevant for the new global goals going forward? Or will new priorities take precedence.

Clearly, there have been achievements, such as in China. According to the WHO, 97 women died per 100,000 live births in China in 1990. By 2013, the number reduced to 31 and this achievement was highlighted at ISUOG 10th International Symposium in Beijing last year.

India, however, is a different matter. At present, India is not anticipated to reach their goal for halving maternal mortality rates by 2015. Though significant progress has been made in certain Indian states, such as Kerala (which has also hosted a number of ISUOG Approved Courses), other states – particularly in the north such as Uttar Pradesh – have been improving at a slower rate. With this, it only carries more importance into why ISUOG is hosting its 11th International Symposium this year in New Delhi and stresses the importance of its presence in that particular region of the world.

Other countries such as Papua New Guinea have barely made any improvement since the MDG’s creation in 2000. In fact, it’s only doubled which makes it the worst place to give birth in the pacific region.

And in the wake of the current crises in Syria where refugees are giving birth within tents that are exposed to harsh environmental conditions, the need for maternal morality reduction is growing more urgent than ever before.  Maternal mortality must continue to always be a priority in all global agendas and ISUOG Outreach endeavors to ensure that it is through its education endeavors. Educating OB/GYN practitioners in ultrasound technology is vital for them to identify preventable causes of maternal mortality and in the long run, this can only help to reduce rates. But prioritizing maternal health globally is crucial for there to be reduction in the long term.

– Gesu Antonio Baez

 

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Infographic courtesy of the World Health Organization (WHO)

eBook for Outreach: a practical approach

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In dealing with the ISUOG Outreach Program, one of the main struggles for most countries in the developing world is to find proper resources to teach basic skills in ultrasound for obstetrics and gynecology. In many regions, such as in North Africa (most particularly in Egypt and Algeria), it’s not common to be offered training in gynecological ultrasound within a university context and if it is, it’s not sstandardizedbetween the institutions, rendering it difficult to keep up the consistency in quality.

Realizing this, ISUOG’s Outreach Committee Chair, Dr. Alfred Abuhamad and several other notable names in ISUOG (Prof. Rabhi Chaoui, Dr Philippe Jeanty and Prof. Dario Paladini) joined forced to produce the new eBook entitled Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology: a Practical Approach.

This eBook provides a thorough description of each trimester through multiple gestations as is intended to be used in both within outreach and in a basic developmental program settings.

Already, the eBook has been met with much success. After it was well received at the Outreach Workshop in Barcelona, Spain during ISUOG’s World Congress, it has been downloaded more than 4, 300 times to date and it has also been used for the first time used within an outreach setting when ISUOG supported an Outreach workshop in Darwin (Northern Territory), Australia. It is also currently being translated into multiple languages and has been adopted in Kiev (Ukraine) to provide basic training, thanks to the effort made by ISUOG’s Ambassador to Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia – Dr. Fred Ushakov.

With the ISUOG Outreach program expanding, we’re looking forward to seeing where this eBook will lead in providing standardized ultrasound training.