A machine to detect and diagnose of breast disease was officially handed over to the National Referral Hospital (NHR) yesterday.
Called the mammogram machine, this machine once operational is expected to the save lives of women and girls in Solomon Islands if they go for early check ups.
The machine was made possible thanks to the First Lady’s Charity which handed over the new machine to the hospital during a brief ceremony on Thursday at the hospital’s conference room.
Ministry of Health official, Dr John Hue said the new machine is a milestone in the progress of improving clinical care in the hospital.
He acknowledged the First Lady Charity and those who have been involved in this project to get the mammogram machine.
“This project is a very good demonstration of how an idea by a group of people from outside the hospital saw a need and work in partnership with the professionals went their way to get something done.
“This is not smooth running but it takes time, determination good leadership and some hurdles but they did it,” Dr Hue said.
He noted that ultimately it is better care for women with breast cancer that will be the outcome.
The machine is a digital mammogram and one of the latest technologies in the market.
There are safety features in the machine, including radiation dose reduction. It will be under the care of the medical imaging team at the NRH.
Dr Hue said this is a delicate piece of equipment and the medical imaging team have identified staff who will do regular QC checks for its safety and longevity.
He said the introduction of this service will help to diagnose breast cancer early, treat them early with the view to improve outcomes.
“If a tumour can be detected early the 10 year cure rate can be up to 85 percent but by the time it is 5cm, axillary lymph node involvement is 80 percent and if four lymph nodes are involved the cure rate drops to only 5 percent.
“When distant metastases occur, curative treatment is no longer a realistic goal, although palliative measures can still be provided to improve the patient quality of life,” Dr Hue highlighted.
“We believe that having this mammogram machine in the National Referral Hospital will save lives of many women and girls in our country by early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in woman,” Lady Grace Kabui remarked at the handing over of the machine yesterday.
Meanwhile, seven female staff at the imaging department of National Referral Hospital undergo two weeks training on the mammogram machine.
By TRIXIE CARTER