Aiming to create a more effective mammography and breast cancer screening program at Muhimbili University in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, two Tanzanian doctors are receiving 3 weeks training at Lourdes Hospital, NY.
The training program is conducted by Dr. Tariq Gill, the medical director of Lourdes Diagnostic Imaging and founder of Radiologists WIthout Borders, Dr. Janet Muhich, medical director of the Lourdes Breast Care Center and Laurie Ziegler, chief mammographer.
The Tanzanian doctors, Lulu Said Fundikira and radiographer Catherine Semkudi, are taking part in an intensive training program that will teach them the most current strategies on breast cancer prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment options.
Tanzania lacks diagnostic imaging tools and a lot of women die from breast cancer despite the fact that some types have high cure rates, Dr. Fundikira explained. "We have a good ultrasound machine, but we don't have a mammogram machine. Most of the time, the diagnosis is done quite late. The later you do it, the poorer the prognosis. The treatment is not really effective in both cases," he added.
Realizing that Tanzania does not have proper mammography services, Radiologists Without Borders is now trying to introduce digital mammography services to the African country, by searching for used machines to send. Radiologists Without Borders is a volunteer-driven, nonprofit, founded 2 years ago to promote diagnostic imaging services in poorer regions of the world, and was able to send a non-digital machine to Honduras. Their aim now is to establish video conferencing capability with Tanzania so that radiologists and technicians can learn new skills remotely. By going digital, Tanzanian doctors would be able to send mammograms to Lourdes doctors for a second opinion, if needed.
In 2010, Dr. Gill, Lourdes director of diagnostic imaging, and Matt Coletta, picture archiving and communications systems administrator, went to the African country to train its radiologists and radiology technicians.