We have witnessed first-hand the incredible challenges midwives face practicing obstetrics in remote locations in sub-Saharan Africa and we have searched for a way to make an impact.

Our team at the University of Washington has placed low-cost ultrasound equipment in the hands of midwives in rural Uganda and trained the midwives to use the instruments effectively.

Training local people to perform an ultrasound early in pregnancy allows detection of life-threatening conditions (twins, ectopic pregnancy, and abnormal placement of the placenta). Health care workers can then use this diagnostic tool to encourage women to seek care in a hospital where outcomes can be managed effectively instead of attempting a home birth to save money.

Our team has trained 45 midwives in Uganda to perform pregnancy ultrasound. In the future, we hope that the video tutorials, in combination with hands-on training, will be important educational tools to help new learners feel comfortable using the technology.