The Sustainable Cardiovascular Health Equity Development Alliance (SCHEDA) recently donated medical equipment to the Clinical Services Department of the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
SCHEDA is a global non-profit organisation, co-founded by two Gambian – Americans Dr. Ngoneh Jallow and Dr. Sheikh Omar Jobe, and supporting cardiology training and services in the developing world. The aim of the organisation is to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in low- and middle-income communities through awareness, education, research, training and building interventional capacity.
The donated equipment includes a handheld ultrasound probe, an iPad, an ambulatory blood pressure machine, and a handheld ECG monitor. The ultrasound probe will allow doctors to incorporate ultrasound in their assessment of patients, both to make diagnoses and to answer specific questions about how to manage the patients. This enables more rapid access to ultrasound that’s needed for simple reasons, rather than a full formal diagnostic scan.
The blood pressure machine will assist in the assessment control of high blood pressure, especially for difficult to treat patients. The machine is taken home by the patient and provides continuous monitoring over a 24-hour period. The ECG monitor will help in determining the cause of palpitations which are usually intermittent.
Karen Forrest, Head of the MRCG at LSHTM’s Clinical Services Department (CSD) said, “I’m really excited to receive this equipment. I previously had some basic training in ultrasound, and it has been my dream to introduce point of care ultrasound to our service and to other services in The Gambia. This kind of diagnostic aid is increasingly used in high-income countries, where they already have easy access to tests. It will have a huge impact in our setting, where we have fewer diagnostic options. It will particularly help us to assess acutely ill patients and guide us in getting them better. I’m looking forward to being able to share these skills with Gambian doctors.”
In partnership with SCHEDA, the CSD team plans to organise a training programme in 2020, to train doctors in the use of bedside ECHO particularly for assessing patients’ hearts and fluid balance.