McCormick Magazine

From vision to reality: Alliance brings digital X-rays to developing world

From vision to reality

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xrayIn a country like South Africa, where hundreds of thousands of new tuberculosis cases are reported each year, X-rays — which can provide a quick diagnosis of the disease — require expensive hardware, chemicals, and film and are often locked away in storage closets due to lack of funding. In response to this problem, Northwestern, the University of Cape Town, Rotary International, and other organizations created the World Health Imaging Alliance (WHIA) in 2007.

WHIA has now partnered with several companies to continue striving to provide low-cost digital X-ray imaging to developing countries. Sedecal, a global original equipment manufacturer of X-ray systems, has provided World Health Organization–approved X-ray machines and has also donated equipment and manufactured equipment at a discounted cost.

Digital medical imaging is now provided by Carestream Health, a global company providing medical and dental imaging systems and information technology solutions. Several of Carestream Health's Point-of-Care Computed Radiography systems have been donated for use in the pilot installations.

The software systems that manage the digital images have been provided through a partnership with Merge Healthcare, a leading medical imaging software solutions company. Merge has pledged staff time, software licensing, and product development assistance for the current and next generation of WHIA solutions. Merge is currently working to develop a new generation of its world-renowned MergeBox to encapsulate a site's total image-
management requirements in one rugged box.

WHIA is also developing future capabilities that will make it possible for clinics and hospitals to access telemedicine for improved health-service delivery. This would provide clinics and hospitals with the ability to utilize electronic medical records and offer every patient direct access to their own personal health records.

WHIA currently has a site established in South Africa and another under implementation in Guate-mala. Close relationships with Rotary International, global not-for-profit organizations, and local organizations have provided WHIA with a lineup of candidate sites interested in receiving its services.

For more information, see www.whia2009.org.