UW’s RAD-AID Chapter Performs Ultrasounds In Rural Nicaragua

Posted on June 2014

UW Radiology’s Dr. Gillian Battino and ultrasound technologist Jenna Glodowski scan a pregnant patient in Nicaragua.

Do you think you could perform 172 ultrasound exams in just 6 days? How about with no running water or computerized patient records? That’s exactly what a team from UW Radiology did on their recent visit to Nicaragua, where they made a difference for patients in need as part of the department’s burgeoning global outreach initiatives.

The team, comprised of Drs. Gillian Battino, George Carberry, Andrew Schapiro, Bora Ozel and ultrasound tech Jenna Glodowski, spent 2 weeks in Nicaragua as part of UW Radiology’s chapter of the worldwide NGO RAD-AID. Splitting their time between the campus of Nicaraguan NGO AMOS Health and Hope and a rural clinic in the Matagalpa region, they performed well over 100 ultrasounds, diagnosing everything from placenta previa to gallstones.

UW Radiology also donated a GE Logic E ultrasound machine and a V-Scan machine to AMOS Health and Hope for use in their Managua clinic. This charitable gift was made possible by the generosity of the Department of Radiology as a whole, who donated $12,000 amongst themselves to support the global outreach program.

“Nicaragua [has] a huge need for ultrasound and other appropriate testing for patients, especially in the rural areas,” AMOS co-director Dr. David Parajón noted. “We are very excited about the possibilities that our collaboration with RAD AID and UW Radiology is opening up for our program to better serve those in need.”

The price tag for an ultrasound in Nicaragua — approximately $22 — may not seem expensive by U.S. standards, but amounts to approximately 11 full day’s salary for the poorest patients. For those patients, receiving an ultrasound, especially from such highly-acclaimed faculty, would normally be out of the question.

“This trip is the culmination of efforts throughout RAD-AID and University of Wisconsin Department of Radiology to develop an opportunity to educate our residents and staff about radiology service in global health. Without the support of our faculty, administration, residents, staff and the institution at large and without our pairing with RAD-AID, it would not have been possible. It is the long term goal of our RAD-AID chapter and Department to develop a sustainable program of service and education and we are well on our way,” says Gillian Battino, M.D. who has had global health and radiology service as a professional goal since she finished her fellowship in 2010.