For the past three days, the Africa Health Exhibition and Congress took place at the Gallagher Convention Centre at Midrand, half way between Johannesburg and Pretoria. Over 10,000 people – delegates, exhibitors, speakers and visitors – have attended the event, with the exhibition comprising over 550 companies representing 50 nations, including 18 country pavilions from all over the world. Prominent local firms with large stands included Lodox, manufacturers of whole-body X-ray systems, and SafMed, specialists in decontamination and infection prevention for operating theatres.
Running in parallel were conferences where the topics included: medical device procurement; building hospitals; health technology management; sterilization; ethics and medical law; imaging and diagnostics; and quality management. Topics in the imaging track encompassed: urogenital; breast; women; radiological insights; radiation safety; paediatric; radiographers and management; and interventional radiology. This was a well-attended conference with over 200 delegates from all corners of the African continent, eager to learn about developments in the field.
CapeRay’s CEO, Kit Vaughan, presented two papers in the breast imaging session. The first was entitled “Novel imaging techniques to diagnose breast cancer: a review” in which he described seven of the “hottest” modalities to have emerged in the past few years. These included: digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) – illustrated at left – where the FDA has recently approved Hologic’s 3D Genius system as superior to conventional 2D mammography; automated breast ultrasound (ABUS), including the SoftVue system from Delphinus; and opto-acoustic imaging (OAI), the Imagio system from Seno that distinguishes malignant from benign lesions by converting light energy into sound energy.
In addition, Kit reviewed: breast computed tomography (BCT) which is true 3D imaging, where Koning has recently received FDA approval; tactile sensors, as represented by the iBreastExam (IBE), where piezo-electric finger detectors measure differences between stiff cancerous tumours and normal benign tissue; diffuse optical imaging (DOI), a novel experimental tool that uses near-infrared diodes to map optical absorption which is altered by haemoglobin concentration; and terahertz pulsed imaging (TPI) that assists surgeons with the removal of cancerous tissue. Kit’s second presentation in the session was entitled “Detecting breast cancer with a dual-modality device” and summarized the recent paper published in Diagnostics.
Kit also participated in a panel discussion on radiation safety, giving a provocative presentation entitled “Debunking the linear no-threshold (LNT) dose model” that was based on recent papers by Siegel and Welsh. Africa Health has come a long way in the past six years, with every indication the event will return to Gallagher Estate next year.