Hologic Hysteroscopy System Expands Treatment Options in Rwanda.
Hologic customer Dr. Scott Eder and the International Organization for Women and Development (IOWD) are on a mission to expand access to gynecological care in Rwanda. For women in developed countries, a hysteroscopy is a common gynecological procedure used to diagnose and treat many intrauterine and endocervical problems. But in developing countries, such as Rwanda, the lack of basic medical equipment and shortage of trained OB/GYN physicians mean that too many women undergo hysterectomies for benign gynecological conditions.
This is beginning to change as Dr. Eder is bringing minimally invasive hysteroscopy treatments to women in Rwanda, thanks in part to a donation from Hologic of a THS® tower-free hysteroscopy system.
The International Organization for Women and Development (IOWD),an all-volunteer non-profit organization, was founded in 2003 by Barbara Margolies to treat women in Africa suffering from obstetric fistulas. IOWD began in Niger, and in 2010, it brought its mission to the women of Rwanda. Three times a year, IOWD sends teams of nurses, physicians and technicians to treat women with fistulas, and to simultaneously train physicians, medical students and residents on techniques to prevent
the injury during childbirth. Everyone is a volunteer, and everyone pays his or her own way, including airfare, lodging and meals. Most also bring their own medical supplies.
Dr. Eder utilizes Hologic gynecologic products at The Center for Women’s Health and Wellness, a private OB/GYN practice in New Jersey. These include the NovaSure® endometrial ablation system, MyoSure® tissue removal system and THS® tower-free hysteroscopy system to treat women with abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB). When Dr. Eder mentioned to his Hologic sales representative that he didn’t have the most basic medical devices to treat AUB in Rwanda, his sales representative went to work at Hologic to secure the donation of a hysteroscopy system.
“It was an off-the cuff-comment. I didn’t expect anything to happen. But within a week, Hologic notified me that they had made the donation,” states Dr. Eder. “Two weeks later, we had the equipment. Everything went very quickly.”
Leveraging the Hologic donation, IOWD—under the guidance of Dr. Eder—expanded its mission in Rwanda to include obstetrical and gynecological care and training. “In a country that doesn’t have access to much, the Hologic donation is phenomenal,” states IOWD Founder and Director Barbara Margolies. “Dr. Eder is literally changing the lives of women in Rwanda.”
In Rwanda, Dr. Eder works at the Muhima District Hospital in the capital city of Kigali, performing surgeries to remove fibroid tumors, repair vaginal prolapse and treat other gynecologic conditions. Last year, in the first week after bringing the Hologic equipment to Rwanda, Dr. Eder performed six hysteroscopy procedures. When he returns this month, he expects to see as many as 30 patients.
“The Hologic hysteroscope is having a major impact,” reports Dr. Eder. “Previously, the only option for women with abnormal uterine bleeding was a hysterectomy. No other treatment was available. It is no surprise physicians and patients alike are very excited about the equipment.”
A key part of Dr. Eder’s mission in Rwanda is surgical training. “We train physicians and they train other Rwandan physicians,” explains Dr. Eder.
At the Muhima Hospital, Dr. Eder is working with OB/GYN specialist Dr. Ramses Ramazani. “The hysteroscopy equipment is really important for our work,” declared Dr. Ramazani. “Only three other health facilities in the entire country have this system, and most of our patients do not have the means to travel to those facilities. With the Hologic system, we are helping our patients and their families receive treatment near where they live. No words can express our gratitude; that is why we say thank you to Hologic, thank you to IOWD and thank you to Dr. Eder.”
Dr. Eder is also creating a continuing education program with lectures on women’s issues, such as uterine incontinence, the diagnosis and treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding, and endometrial ablation. “Our goal is to create a self-sustaining program.”