World Journal of Preventive Medicine
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World Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2013, 1(3), 22-29
DOI: 10.12691/jpm-1-3-3
Open AccessArticle

Global Maternal and Child Health Outcomes: the Role of Obstetric Ultrasound in Low Resource Settings

Katherine Stanton1 and Lillian Mwanri1,

1Discipline of Public Health, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia

Pub. Date: September 17, 2013

Cite this paper:
Katherine Stanton and Lillian Mwanri. Global Maternal and Child Health Outcomes: the Role of Obstetric Ultrasound in Low Resource Settings. World Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2013; 1(3):22-29. doi: 10.12691/jpm-1-3-3

Abstract

There are vast inequalities across maternal and infant mortality with the developing world accounting for the majority of the burden. Within countries there are also disparities between urban and rural populations with rural populations expecting worse maternal outcomes. These inequalities are linked to health care service delivery, with this review focusing on obstetric ultrasound and its potential to improve maternal and newborn health in low resource settings. Access to obstetric ultrasound in the developed world is almost universal, identifying potential obstetric risks to contribute to improvements in maternal and newborn health outcomes. In contrast to this access to obstetric ultrasound in the developed world is poor, particularly in rural areas. Considerations for service provision in these areas are vastly different to the developed world and include infrastructure, economic resources, training and cultural acceptability. Innovations in teleradiology and portable ultrasound offer opportunity for improved ultrasound access in low resource settings potentially improving maternal care and outcomes. The versatility of ultrasound also offers a wide range of non-obstetric clinical applications. This review demonstrates promising benefits of obstetric ultrasound in poorly resourced settings. The literature also shows a need for large scale trials in limited resource settings, particularly in rural and remote areas.

Keywords:
obstetric ultrasound developing countries maternal and child health low resource settings

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