Our Mobile Ultrasound Clinic Project at the Well Woman Clinic (WWC) was sponsored by Heineken Africa Foundation
The Prenatal Equipment Project Outreach (PREPO) Mobile Ultrasound Clinic HAF 39, as it was officially known, was an extension of the Prenatal Equipment Project (PREP), a project undertaken at the WWC and in the Freetown area, from January 2010 to December 2011. Heineken Africa Foundation purchased a GE Voluson 703 PRO clinic-based ultrasound equipment for PREP, and until 2012 the project continued with funding from the MEPS Trust. A total of 2208 pregnant women were seen at the WWC and 2330 scans carried out.
Of 88 abnormal and emergency scans, there were only 2 maternal and 10 fetal deaths.
PREPO, a mobile ultrasound clinic outreach covering the rural areas (Waterloo and Sussex), the provinces (Bo, Kenema and Makeni), lasted from 2013-2015. It recorded 16 fetal and 2 maternal deaths out of 316 abnormal cases found.
Various challenges, especially the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic in 2014, prevented the project from achieving its target of 5,000 beneficiaries of ultrasound screening. Forced to suspend outreach to the provinces and rural areas the WWC closed down entirely for eight months. The project, therefore, ended with 4,490 beneficiaries and 4,656 scans.
Apart from the above, the following were other benefits derived from the project:
Eleven health professionals were trained in ultrasonography in the above areas of operations;
Women, who would otherwise
have had no access to screening, were given the opportunity to register with antenatal clinics;
Peer educators were trained to cascade the benefits of ultrasound screening during pregnancy, especially on the need to reduce myths and misconceptions of early disclosure of pregnancy;
Some women changed their attitude to early disclosure of pregnancy and, as the project progressed, continued to present themselves during the first and second trimesters. They also agreed to pay for screening if it was affordable.
Heineken Africa Foundation (HAF) for funding this project which, it is hoped, will result in further behavioural change regarding the importance of ultrasound screening in pregnancy to reduce maternal/neonatal mortality and morbidity;
Members of The Project Management Committee (PMC) for giving their time and expertise during the period of the project implementation;
UNFPA for technical and financial support; the Ministry of Health and Sanitation for collaboration, especially for allowing the WWC to make use of government hospitals in Makeni, Bo and Kenema; to all the participants in the operational areas (Bo Hospital, Kenema Hospital, Makeni Hospital, Waterloo Clinic and the Sussex Health Community Centre); and to the staff of the health facilities in the operational areas and at the Well Woman Clinic. Last, but by no means least, Mrs. Jennifer Renner-Thomas, Programme Director MEPS WWC for conceptualising and coordinating the project.