The New JRA Imaging Center – Advanced Equipment Is Just the First Step
The newly inaugurated medical imaging clinic in Antananarivo, Madagascar is the first of its kind in the country. While it brings with it the latest diagnostic equipment and treatments, it is also facing a number of obstacles.
Step One – Facing the Challenge
Launched in January 2016, Joseph Ravoahangy Andrianavalona Hospital’s imaging center is open around the clock. It serves roughly 3500 people per month, and yet many remain unaware or reluctant to make use of it. With an aim to increase attendance, the team at the center has begun focusing not only on patient treatment but also on educating the local community on the importance and effectiveness of early diagnosis.
Step Two – Building Trust
For many people, especially those in rural areas, the technologically advanced equipment and its purpose raise a certain amount of skepticism and mistrust. Building trust, especially when it comes to one’s personal health and body is a delicate process that requires patience and work. One of the steps that have been taken in this direction is staffing the center with local professionals only. According to Dr Mohammed Homoud, medical manager of the center, this has not been easy as many staff members had no previous experience with the new machines and needed further training, but in the long term it is definitely worth the effort. The team behind the center – JRA hospital, NIP Global, Madagascar president’s office and Ministry of Public Health – is also working on raising awareness of the importance of regular checkups specifically for breast cancer.
Step Three – Improving Access
According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is one of the top twenty causes of death in Madagascar. While it is highly treatable when detected on time, the mortality rate from breast cancer in the country has increased by 8.9% since 1990. Now that the mammography equipment is ready and available, and the medical staff is trained to operate it and decipher results, this has to change. NIP Global is working with the center and local leadership to urge the public to attend regular checkups and make mammography services accessible to all women in Madagascar.