You are here
Implementing a mobile diagnostic unit to increase access to imaging and laboratory services in western Kenya.
Access to basic imaging and laboratory services remains a major challenge in rural, resource-limited settings in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2016, the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare programme in western Kenya implemented a mobile diagnostic unit (MDU) outfitted with a generator-powered X-ray machine and basic laboratory tests to address the lack of these services at rural, low-resource, public health facilities. The objective of this paper is to describe the design, implementation, preliminary impact and operational challenges of the MDU in western Kenya. Since implementing the MDU at seven rural health facilities serving a catchment of over half a million people, over 4500 chest radiographs have been performed, with one or more abnormalities detected in approximately 30% of radiographs. We observed favorable feedback and uptake of MDU services by healthcare workers and patients. However, various operational challenges in the design and construction of the MDU and the transmission and reporting of radiographs in remote areas were encountered. Our experience supports the feasibility of deploying an MDU to increase access to basic radiology and laboratory services in rural, resource-limited settings.