Working Toward Maternal Health in Zambia through Portable Obstetric Ultrasound

Lusaka, Zambia

Obstetric Ultrasound in Zambia

UNC Global Projects Zambia Headquarters

It has been just over two weeks since I arrived in Lusaka, Zambia, to begin my MPH Summer Practicum with UNC Global Projects Zambia (GPZ). I am working to develop training materials for a project providing portable ultrasound probes to 6 different antenatal clinics in regions surrounding Lusaka. While here, I have had the opportunity to meet with midwives working with the project to train clinic staff in ultrasound technique, observe the ultrasound probe in action at the local hospital, and soon head to the regional clinics to help implement the training on how to use the probes. As a Maternal, Child, and Family Health student, I know how important access to obstetric ultrasounds is for maternal safety, for delivery planning, and for diagnosing stillbirth. It’s been so great to get to use the device and learn about its implementation in antenatal care here in Zambia, and to learn about Zambian maternity care from the incredible team here.

Living in Lusaka has been quite an adjustment, with load-shedding (deliberate power outages to reduce demand) about half the day, limiting the electricity to the fridge and stove in the apartment I share with another UNC practicum student working at GPZ. We have begun to explore the country in our spare time, heading to the Lower Zambezi River last weekend where we were able to watch wild hippos sleep in the river, and elephants cross from Zimbabwe into Zambia. We are hoping to continue exploring on our weeks throughout our time here!

An elephant crosses the Lower Zambezi River from Zimbabwe back into Zambia

I am looking forward to watching the implementation of our training in the coming weeks, and feel passionately about the importance of maternal health in low and middle income countries, and hope to continue to learn from the joint UNC/Zambian team working on this project in my remaining 7 weeks here.