ORANGE COUNTY, Calif., May 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly two thirds of the world lacks basic diagnostic imaging. Whereas mammography or X-ray are considered standard procedures in the United States, many places around the world are not privileged to such technology. In fact, the WHO reports that those approximately 4 billion lives are at risk of avoidable or treatable death, simply due to the unavailability of radiology.
These statistics present the opportunity to foster a conversation about the issue of unequal access. Sir Francis Bacon is said to have coined the phrase, "knowledge is power," an abstract statement with real world implications; it translates to unequal access to necessary resources like water, food, and healthcare. This fact seems to be especially true in a dynamic world in which access to knowledge dictates the type of technological advances a society is privy to. Whereas lack of knowledge or education can create barriers to technology, one nonprofit organization is working to undermine the sentiment.
By creating programs that target specific areas through understanding their crucial needs, RAD-AID is empowering populations without medical imaging technology with education, training, and equipment. Since 2008, the nonprofit has worked to increase and improve resources for those in developing countries throughout the world. Today, the organization includes over 4,500 volunteers from 200 countries that have formed 47 chapters to foster programs in more than 14 countries.
"I thought about how critical imaging was, and [that] there was this major break in medical care…you can't get to other areas of health care without radiology," said RAD-AID founder, Dr. Daniel Mollura, in an interview with the Baltimore Sun.
The organization has even trademarked their data collection program that assesses how strategic programs may be implemented, based on perceived limitations. The Radiology-Readiness tool is a WHO endorsed program that determines how to cater care and equipment donations to a community based on their available resources.
Currently, the organization has helped to advance radiology in China, India, Africa, and Haiti. In the future, RAD-AID will expand to Eastern Europe and remote areas of Alaska. Each program in every region of the world is different, created specifically for the areas they service.
Though the programs are implemented completely by volunteers, RAD-AID garners funding through partnerships with corporations, government entities, and other nonprofits. Ampronix is proud to work with organizations with ties to RAD-AID, like Phillips Healthcare.
Although those who work with the nonprofit say donations of services and equipment aren't usually an issue, the mere existence and prolific utilization of this nonprofit highlights an endemic problem throughout the world; lack of access to quality healthcare.
Part of this issue is the lack of trained individuals to administer healthcare services—there needs to be a shift away from conducting temporary help towards focusing on how to create enduring and perpetual healthcare systems for these areas around the world.
Next week, G7, the group of leaders of the top 7 economies of the world, will meet at Ise-Shima in Japan to discuss a host of topics including climate change, infrastructure, and health. Their health goal this year is to discuss topics such as public health emergency outbreaks, lifelong healthcare services, and the feasibility of providing universal healthcare coverage, which they have defined as "access to health services without suffering financial hardship to pay for them."
It's a truly disturbing fact that two thirds of the world lack regular access to things we often take for granted, like radiologists. However, there has been increasing improvements across the board from a great deal of organizations that offer promising results. From nonprofits with the goal of bolstering diagnostic radiology in lacking areas to global leaders who are meeting with health as one of their top agenda topics, the trend towards implementing global and resilient healthcare systems seems within reach.
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