Hundreds of thousands of people living in Madagascar are set to benefit from a major donation of medical equipment by Peel Health Campus (PHC) to the Australians Doctors for Africa organisation.
Three gastroscopes, two colonoscopes and two light sources will assist in the diagnosis of oesophageal, stomach and bowel problems, including complications from a common and potentially deadly disease called schistosomiasis.
PHC chief executive officer Dr Margaret Sturdy said the equipment had been decommissioned at the hospital and replaced by the very latest technology.
While this equipment has now been superseded in Australia, it is considered state-of-the-art in developing countries.Peel Health Campus chief executive officer Dr Margaret Sturdy
"While this equipment has now been superseded in Australia, it is considered state-of-the-art in developing countries," Dr Sturdy said.
"Rather than disposing of the scopes, we made inquiries about suitability for donation.
Australian Doctors for Africa representative Dr Digby Cullen welcomed the facility's donation - their second scope donation in the past five years.
"Madagascar has a high incidence of illness, and even death, caused by the bowel disease, schistosomiasis," Dr Cullen said.
"This equipment will help with diagnosis and early treatment, which will significantly improve a patient's outlook.
"Our program has been very successful in training local African health professionals in gastrointestinal endoscopy, proactive treatment of the complications of disease."
Dr Cullen first became involved with Australian Doctors for Africa soon after it was established by orthopaedic surgeon Graham Forward in 2005.
Cathy Poole, an experienced long serving endoscopy nurse also working with the organisation, said it was a priority to make sure staff were trained to care for the scopes and to properly disinfect them.
"Our training is delivered by committed staff and with consistency of repeat visits to Africa we have built up high levels of trust with the staff on the ground," Ms Poole said.
"The African health workers undergo rigorous training and assessment programs and are certified at the end."
Ms Poole added that she had been very impressed by the maintenance of standards between the six monthly visits.