Bon Secours Health System recently donated a Mobile Mammography Unit to Raouda Medical Center in Tahoua, Niger.
The unit was utilized by Our Lady of Bellfonte Hospital in Ashland, Kentucky, until July of 2015 and was the second of two units that combined for more than two decades of service to the region. The hospital ceased its mobile mammography operations because of the digital mammography and same day results now available at the hospital’s Women’s Center.
“The analog equipment of the Mobile Mammography Unit will now find a useful second life in Niger,” said Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital CEO Kevin Halter. “Our health system’s strategic quality plan calls upon us to serve those who are vulnerable and to help co-create healthy communities. We’re pleased that our equipment, which traveled thousands of miles in service of our patients, will continue to serve women on a different continent.”
Following his comments, Halter publically signed a donation agreement officially transferring ownership. After the ceremony, the unit was driven to the Port of Baltimore to begin its journey to Niger. Dr. Mahaman L Moussa, president and CEO of the Raouda Medical Center, traveled to Ashland to receive the Mobile Mammography Unit.
“While the incidence and prevalence of breast cancer in Niger are high, it is unfortunate that out of the eight states in Niger, only two have a mammography machine,” Moussa said. “Tahoua, where our center is located, is among these states without mammography. Women must travel to the capital Niamey to get a mammogram. The donated mobile mammography will be of tremendous help for the women in Tahoua and the surrounding states. I have no doubt that this donation will make a remarkable contribution towards addressing women’s health both in the cities and rural areas.”
Raouda Medical Center is a nonprofit facility with 50 beds in Tahou, Niger. The facility’s mission is stated as “offering diverse, high quality health services at low to no cost to patients of all sociodemographic classes in the Tahoua region and Niger Republic at large.” The city of Tahoua has a population of approximately 100,000 and serves as the center of the larger Tahoua region, one of Niger’s eight administrative regions.
The donated Mobile Mammography Unit was purchased in 2002 to replace the mobile mammography program’s original vehicle. The donated unit traveled more than 84,000 miles during its 13 years of service and provided more than 1,000 mammograms annually, finding, on average, 125 cancers per year.
“Though digital mammography has become the standard of care in America, the equipment on the unit is fully operational and passed all regulatory mandates when the unit was retired,” said OLBH Director of Radiology Terri Hannon, who oversaw the mobile program. “The technology traveling to Africa today can identify breast cancer early and will save lives in Niger just as it did for women in our area.”