In India RAD-AID visited Artemis Health Institute in New Delhi, Okay Diagnostic Research Center in Jaipur, Dr. Shamer Singh Memorial Radio-Diagnostic Center (SSRD) in Chandigarh and the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGI) of Chandigarh. With the help of the Grameen Foundation, RAD-AID and Project HOPE were also able to meet with ESAF Microfinance and Investments to discuss financial service options for the region.
China and India, in particular, are going through profound changes as their economies develop. Conditions including cardiovascular disease, cancer and obesity (previously a problem mostly in Western countries) are emerging as health risks as their populations' vocations, diets and lifestyles change, says Ronald de Jong, CEO of Emerging Markets for Philips Healthcare, a maker of imaging equipment that is sponsoring Radiology-Readiness and providing RAD-AID and Project HOPE with technical expertise. These health concerns require early diagnosis in order to be treated successfully, he adds. In addition to the collaboration with Project Hope, Philips recently entered a two-year partnership with China's Ministry of Health to train 1,000 rural doctors in 400 hospitals to improve technical breast cancer–screening skills.
The ability to sustain radiology services over time is a major challenge. RAD-AID says it has built relationships with financial institutions including Goldman Sachs and the Grameen Foundation as well as advisors from Columbia University's Business School to study how radiology can be implemented cost-effectively to serve the urban and rural poor. Efforts are underway to analyze how collaborations in India could include privately run health institutions with government and nonprofit NGOs to address health care needs.
In addition to the possibilities in China and India, RAD-AID is studying how radiology can be brought to bear in Uganda despite that country's limited health care resources. RAD-AID and Project HOPE also plan to send a volunteer to Haiti this fall to study the radiology needs of post-earthquake reconstruction in several of HOPE's affiliated institutions there.
"We had a team of biomedical engineers in Haiti to look at some of the equipment donated since the earthquake and even before that," Kimble says, adding that most of it was not operable. "The technology couldn't function for lack of a part or people who knew how to operate and maintain it."
The American College of Radiology's (A.C.R.) Foundation Haiti Radiology Relief Fund, set up shortly after January's earthquake in that country, sent out a survey to multiple facilities near Port-Au-Prince to measure the impact of damage to radiology infrastructure and determine some priorities for support, including equipment, infrastructure planning, teaching materials and the coordination of volunteers to assist throughout the process, according to Brad Short, A.C.R.'s senior director of member services. Mollura serves on the college's Foundation International Outreach Committee, though which RAD-AID works with the A.C.R. to improve radiology programs in several countries, including Haiti.