north easterSuburban Rotary clubs help Guatemala

Low cost, primary care diagnoses including trauma, tuberculosis, heart disease and other maladies can now be made quickly and accurately with this health care technology. This will help guide early diagnosis and effective treatment said longtime Rotarian John Vanden Brink, previously a consultant to the diagnostic imaging industry and prime mover of the project.

Thats thanks to a unique, model partnership recently formalized between the Guatemalan government, an international public health agency and members of Rotary International in Guatemala and the Chicago area.

north easterSuburban Rotary clubs help Guatemala,Photo courtesy of Larry Kanar, Rotary Club of Nort

Rotary District 6440 includes approximately 2,600 Rotarians. It is the home of Rotary International Headquarters in Evanston and Rotary District 6440s 72 clubs spread from Evanston north to the Wisconsin border, west to Richmond and Woodstock, and south to Batavia.

The partners are The Ministry of Public Health and Social Welre of Guatemala; The Pan American Health Organization; and Rotarians, including members of the 27 Rotary Clubs of Guatemala; and the 72 clubs of Rotary District 6440 in northeastern Illinois.

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The project as planned by the Guatemalan Ministry of Health should eventually impact more than 1.5 million people and provide a base for expansion of service to all of Guatemala through installation of additional systems and sites.

Under a plan established by the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welre of Guatemala, 29 remote clinics will connect with six regional hospitals. The clinics will send X-ray digital images via the Internet or other telecommunication options to the hospitals for evaluation. Pan American Health Organization will train X-ray technicians and also oversee maintenance and support installation.

This digital X-ray collaboration has its roots in a 2007 Rotary project. Six clubs in Rotary District 6440 contributed to the installation of a digital X-ray pilot with the participation of a local club and the Municipality of Guatemala City. Rotary District 6440 has had a successful partnership with Guatemalan Rotary clubs sending more than 135 individuals to participate in hands-on service trips over the last five years.

The collaboration could serve as a model for underserved communities throughout Latin America and the rest of the world.

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Guatemalans isolated in poverty-struck regions r from medical centers will have access to sorely needed diagnostic X-ray services.

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Meanwhile, Rotary District 6440 will raise a portion of the funds needed for the project and publish a manual for clinics and small hospitals on diagnostic imaging. Rotarians from Guatemala will provide another portion of the funds and assist in assessment of installation sites, provide transportation and install equipment. The Ministry of Health will seek additional financial backing from outside agencies and nongovernment organizations.

The partners signed a memo of understanding on April 18 to serve the Central American country, one of the poorest in the world, with digital X-ray technology through a multiyear, multimillion dollar partnership.

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In Guatemala City, John Vanden Brink demonstrates how X-ray diagnostic equipment will serve Guatemalans in remote regions. Behind him are Bruce Baumberger and Carlos Frum, Rotary District Governor and District Governor-elect, respectively, of nornorth eastern healththeastern Illinois-based Rotary International District 6440; and Jorge Aufranc, Past District Governor of Rotary International District 4250.

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