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  • My Turn

    March 01, 2013

    Coordination=Care for Children Worldwide

    The idea of forming a world federation of pediatric radiology came to me while attending a one-off international symposium on pediatric imaging organized in Rio de Janeiro in 2009. Pediatric radiologists gathered from all over the world to share their knowledge with colleagues who often struggle to attend meetings of such caliber. We had the beginnings of a global movement.

    Yet between us there were tremendous differences in available practices and resources. We needed to coordinate efforts and advocate together for our subspecialty and the care of children worldwide. While diagnostic imaging services in modern medical settings have evolved enormously, even state-of-the-art healthcare can overlook our patients’ unique needs and the training required is simply out of reach for most lower resource nations who already grapple with multiple challenges. Appropriate diagnostic imaging services are rarely integrated into the health plans of these nations, yet their pediatric populations are huge and these services save lives.

    Created in 2011, the World Federation of Pediatric Imaging (WFPI) aims to unite pediatric imaging organizations to form one voice, one message and one network when addressing the global challenges in pediatric imaging. How we will achieve our goals is context-dependent: active participation in global forums, for example, via strong collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency, World Health Organization, European Society of Radiology, American College of Radiology (ACR) and RSNA and sustained pediatric input into the International Society of Radiology. Mindful of the need for concrete deliverables, we are disseminating best practices and educational content through our own and other organizations’ websites; we’re also making recommendations and offering training, research and meetings while advocating for resource allocation and patient safety.

    In lower resource settings, we demonstrate by doing. We provide teleradiology services for Doctors Without Borders and for a new hospital in South Africa. More than 45 WFPI volunteers from all over the world tele-read some 350 radiographs between July and October 2012. We support a cross-border Ethiopia-South Africa training initiative and will participate in ACR’s project in Haiti. Our locally engaged project coordinators ensure the relevance of our input.

    The WFPI has evolved faster than we ever imagined. Its foundations have been laid and our dreamers are becoming doers, driven by the conviction that the access to and application of pediatric imaging are essential components of children’s basic healthcare.

    The WFPI’s governing Council currently represents the four regional founding societies—Society for Pediatric Radiology (North America), European Society of Pediatric Radiology, Latin American Society of Pediatric Radiology, and Asian and Oceanian Society for Pediatric Radiology—and is open to other regions of the world. National and supranational organizations can also join the WFPI. For more information, visit www.wfpiweb.org or contact wfpi-office@gmail.com.

    M. Ines Boechat, M.D.
    M. Ines Boechat, M.D., is president and chair of the council of directors for the World Federation of Pediatric Imaging. Dr. Boechat is a professor of radiology and pediatrics and chief of pediatric imaging at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital.
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