The World Health Imaging Alliance (WHIA) has cemented partnerships in the medical imaging community that will enable it to ramp up its efforts to bring digital imaging technology to sites in need around the world.
Basic diagnostic x-ray services are a key component of primary health care delivery. However, two-thirds of the world's population is without access to it, according to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates. The WHO further estimates that there is a need for one diagnostic imaging machine for every 50,000 people. WHIA said its vision is to facilitate the deployment of 20,000 of these systems worldwide, thus providing one billion people with access to diagnostic imaging.
Given the large disease burden associated with tuberculosis and HIV, in particular, cost-effective and sustainable imaging solutions at the primary level of healthcare--with telediagnosis as an added value extension--will result in significant gains in the quality of care delivered, thanks to earlier diagnosis and commencement of treatment, according to Mladen Poluta, Director of the Healthcare Technology Management Program at the University of Cape Town.
Less than half of the approximately 1,500 WHO-approved, installed x-ray systems are in operation today. In addition, many solutions miss capabilities such as clinical site needs assessment, image storage, teleradiology and remote monitoring; all of which WHIA can provide for enhanced sustainability of an imaging clinic.
To provide a complete solution, WHIA has developed partner relationships with vendors such as Sedecal, a global OEM manufacturer of x-ray systems, to provide the WHO-approved x-ray machine; Carestream Health, for its Point of Care CR systems for use in the pilot installations; and Merge Healthcare, which has pledged staff time, software licensing and product development assistance for the current and next generation of WHIA solutions.
WHIA currently has a site established in South Africa and another under implementation in Guatemala. Close relationships with the Rotary International and local organizations have provided WHIA with a lineup of candidate sites interested in receiving its solution. In addition, WHIA has established relationships with many of the global not-for-profit organizations involved in providing imaging services, according to Ivy Walker, WHIA's CEO.