At an International Medical Corps health facility in Juba, South Sudan, a new ultrasound machine is providing critical imaging capabilities for doctors treating expectant mothers. Vicky Keji, a 20-year-old mother of two, is one of many patients who have benefited from it. She received an early diagnosis that led to the healthy birth of her son.
“The ultrasound machine has made it easy for us to diagnose expectant mothers and to take quick, appropriate action,” says Dr. Lwesso Guillain, Director of International Medical Corps’ protection-of-civilians (PoC) Site-1 health facility and three other health facilities in Juba. “Using the machine, we discovered that Vicky Keji had a low-lying placenta. Later in her pregnancy, when she experienced labor pains, she came directly to our facility. Since we already knew the diagnosis, we performed a caesarian section and delivered a healthy baby boy.”
Though the ultrasound machine can be used as a tool to help diagnose the causes of outer-abdominal sickness and other ailments, it is most helpful in reproductive health. It produces images necessary for doctors at three major pregnancy benchmarks: confirming pregnancy in the first trimester, examining fetus development in the second trimester and providing a prognosis for delivery at the end of the third trimester.
“I am happy that the early diagnosis made possible by the ultrasound machine saved both my and my child’s life,” says Vicki.
“Before we had the ultrasound machine at this facility, we were not able to confirm some ailments, such as extra uterine pregnancies,” explains Dr. Guillain. “We transferred many cases to other facilities that had those machines—and some patients could not afford their high costs. Now we can provide these services free of charge.”
Nyahok Chuol Bil, 26, is a pregnant mother of three who has benefited from the new equipment. She has delivered all of her children at International Medical Corps’ health facility, but this is her first pregnancy with access to an ultrasound machine.
“When I came for a consultation and check-up with the ultrasound, the doctor showed me everything. I could see the physical movements of my baby inside my womb. It made me happy to see that my child is safe and healthy,” says Nyahok. “Though I haven’t yet given birth, I am already confident that I will have a safe delivery. International Medical Corps’ doctors keep monitoring my situation and providing instructions to follow. I feel safer in my pregnancy than before.”