Mammography units donated to Vietnam

July 5, 2000

Two Lorad Transpo 350 mammography machines have been donated by Trex Medical and installed in Vietnamese hospitals, while a densitometer and sensitometer—used to monitor quality control of mammography film results—were donated by X-Rite.The

Two Lorad Transpo 350 mammography machines have been donated by Trex Medical and installed in Vietnamese hospitals, while a densitometer and sensitometer—used to monitor quality control of mammography film results—were donated by X-Rite.

The machines were installed in April in the National Cancer Institute in Hanoi and in Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City by Radiology Mammography International, an organization founded in 1996 by Dr. Richard N. Hirsh, an Akron, OH, radiologist.

“We’ve actually been going to developing countries since 1989, but we decided to incorporate in 1996,” Hirsh said.

RMI has installed radiology equipment in hospitals in India (1989), Nepal (1994), the West Bank Palestinian city of Ramallah (1995), Honduras (1996), Armenia (1997), Cuba and Israel (1998), and Nicaragua (1999).

“We try to visit first for a feasibility study,” Hirsh said, so he knows what kind of facilities the country has.

He said plans are in the works for the installation of radiology equipment in Romania and in Beijing. Hirsh does most of this international work on his own vacation time, he said.

Other Western companies participating in the Vietnam program are Agfa, which donated 20 cases of mammography film to each hospital, according to Hirsh; Nuclear Associates, which donated breast phantoms; and Cook, which donated localization needles.

The Vietnam Mammography Teaching Project is based on a feasibility assessment visit that was made in 1998 under the guidance of the U.S. Committee for Scientific Cooperation with Vietnam. In April, RMI sent two teams, each consisting of a diagnostic radiologist, three mammography technologists, a field-service engineer, and women’s health educators, with Vietnamese American nurses as translators, Hirsh said.

RMI is a nonprofit organization that helps mostly developing countries meet mammography and radiology needs.