United States Rotary District 6440 – composed of clubs in suburban communities north and west of Chicago – and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) have published a new online instructional manual designed to ensure the safety of health care workers and patients involved in x-ray use in rural and underserved areas of the world.

Titled “Radiation Shielding for Clinics and Small Hospitals with a WHIS-RAD,” the manual was authored by Dr. Gerald Hanson and the late Dr. Philip E.S. Palmer, radiological experts internationally recognized for their work with the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization (WHO) in radiation safety and radiology.  It was edited by Dr. Janice Honeyman-Buck.

The authors provided publication rights to Rotary District 6440 and PAHO in order to help the two organizations move forward with a project to bring digital x-ray technology to benefit the health of the rural poor of Guatemala – the first step in a long-term initiative to bring digital x-ray technology to the rural poor globally.

The manual provides key information about safety in the use of specific radiology technology – referred to as the World Health Imaging System for Radiography (WHIS-RAD) – which is intended for use in underserved areas of the world.

The new manual, along with “Diagnostic Imaging in the Community: A Manual for Clinics and Small Hospitals,” published earlier by Drs. Hanson and Palmer, will be made available to Guatemalan health workers as an essential part of a project by Rotary District 6440 and several partners that will install 29 digital x-ray machines in Guatemala.

As many as four billion people around the globe – two-thirds of the entire population – have little or no access to simple x-ray technology, which is taken for granted as a basic health tool in most industrialized nations. Guatemala, one of the world’s poorest countries, is among the countries most in need of this technology. Health care outcomes in Guatemala are among the worst in Central America. Poor, rural people living there are impacted by injuries and other maladies that could be easily cured – or at least properly diagnosed – with x-ray technology.

The digital x-ray project will expand the reach of health service to rural and poor Guatemalans by allowing their x-ray images to be read by physicians far from the physical location of remote x-ray clinics, via the Internet. 

“The choice, installation, and use of imaging equipment are complicated matters, and safety in the use of radiology is critically important,” said Pamela Kerr, past governor of Rotary District 6440 and chair of the district’s committee overseeing the digital x-ray project. “The creation of these manuals by global radiology experts who generously provided them to help advance health care in Guatemala is a key factor for the long-term success of this project that can’t be underestimated.”

More information about District 6440’s digital x-ray project is available at www.healthrays.info, 847-475-1283, or Gov.Pam@rotary6440.org.