Cape Verde is a volcanic archipelago of 500,000 people off Africa’s northwest coast. Access to health care is limited due to disparities in staffing, facilities, equipment, and medicine.
Accessibility to imaging varies per island within the country with the largest services performed in the Capital Praia on Santiago Island. It is at this location that more advanced imaging is available. Fogo, the island where the majority of the previous Rad-Aid efforts have been concentrated, has access to ultrasound and radiography.
Radiology training occurs internationally, most commonly in Portugal. There are few Cape Verdean national radiologists located in Praia. In other islands within the country, such as Fogo, a rotating international radiologist is present for a specified time period, typically two-year intervals.
RAD-AID in Cape Verde
Dr. Robin Sobolewski served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Mosteiros, Fogo before entering medical school. During her radiology training, she received a travel grant from the ACR with which she returned to Mosteiros to donate a Sonosite ultrasound unit. Upon her return, Dr. Sobolewski collaborated with Rad-Aid to expand the project in Cape Verde. The Mosteiros, Fogo clinic has only one rotating physician; radiology exams are performed by a non-radiology professional. RAD-AID’s development efforts span from direct service delivery, such as through portable ultrasound examinations, to technical assistance through training and radiography optimization.
In 2016, program manager Dr. Adriana Faulkner expanded RAD-AID’s program to São Filipe Regional Hospital, which has capability to perform radiography and ultrasound. Dr. Faulkner and the team installed a small-scale picture archiving and communication system (PACS), prior to which patients brought home their uninterpreted printed images. The team currently aims to evaluate the use of PACS and optimize the use of mammography. RAD-AID hopes to expand its partnerships with other health care facilities on the other Cape Verdean islands.