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SC Impacting Global Health by Bridging Two Worlds To Save Lives

June 7, 2018 - Posted in Telehealth by Julia Shillinglaw

Imagine having to walk over 120 miles before you could receive health care. Once you get there, you are told there is no doctor available. This would seem highly improbable for someone living in the United States, but it is quite common in places like Uganda.

Dr. Edward O'Bryan of MUSC has taken several medical mission trips to Uganda and other third world countries. He says that people would be "waiting outside a building for two days, sleeping outiside waiting for them to show up'" to receive medical attention. Seeing this need was what prompted him to co-found OneWorld Health a nonprofit organization that has started several sustainable medical centers including Masindi-Kitara Medical Center in Uganda where Dr. Godson Senyondo works. 

Dr.Godson treats patients on a daily basis who otherwise would not have received any care. Medical facilities are scarce, much less specialists. Dr. Godson often finds himself multi-tasking as the cardiologists, radiologists, and so much more to fill the gaps. To be able to do this, Dr. Godson has a valuable resource that he leans on: Telehealth.

Dr. Edward O’Bryan is a key player in the stateside Telehealth group. He, as well as other specialists, provide valuable insight to Dr. Godson and his staff through live video consults. Dr. Godson also has options available to him through different apps, when it comes to sending x-rays and ultrasounds to radiologists for more advanced diagnosis.

Telehealth has proven to be more than just a resource for the Ugandan doctors. Doctors on both ends say they benefit from the interactions. More importantly, people’s lives have been saved, and others now have a much better quality of life. Dr. O'Bryan has many success stories to share, particularly of one nineteen-year-old whose life was saved by Telemedicine when they were able to detect that she had a severe heart condition that would have been fatal if not detected. He says that, "I might not ever meet her or any of these patients, but I know there are lots of stories like that of x-rays that are getting read by these specialists that are changing these people's lives on a day-to-day basis, and it's just a great thing. Telemedicine is pretty radically transforming what we're able to do."

 

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