Oncology Mission 2015

Impact Health Vietnam, in collaboration with Roche Pharma Saigon, the Department of Pathology of HCMC University of Medicine & Pharmacy and the Society of Pathologists of Vietnam organized a three day workshop on the topic “Advanced Training on the Diagnosis of Lymphomas” based on WHO 2008 Classification. The selected audience for this “train the trainers” event consists of experienced Vietnamese pathologists from eight major hospitals of Hanoi and Saigon: Bach Mai, K3 hospital, the National Blood Transfusion & Hematology hospital, Military Hospital 108 in the north and Cho Ray hospital, Oncology Hospital, HCMC Medical UMP hospital and Blood Transfusion & Hematology Center in the south. The event took place at HCMC University of Medicine & Pharmacy/Pathology Department from 12/21 to 12/23 2015. A total of 20 registered pathologists and 5 auditors participated in this advanced training program. 

Dr. Dayton and Dr. Nguyen participated in the 2014 IHVN oncology mission and were the lecturers for our one day symposium on the same topic at the same location in Saigon in April 2014. The program for December 2015 covered similar topics as 2014’s agenda. The training focused on diagnosis of lymphomas based on WHO 2008 Classification, with many case studies presentations prepared by Dr. Vanessa Dayton and Dr. Kim Chi Nguyen, and consultation on difficult cases submitted by participating pathologists.

Topics presented by Dr. Dayton include: Introduction to WHO 2008 Diagnosis & Classification of Lymphomas; Lymphoma Therapy 2015; Lymph node pathology and 4 case studies.
Nguyen’s topics cover Application of Immunohistochemistry to diagnosis of lymphomas; Introduction & Overview of the classification of lymphoid neoplasms and 5 case studies.

The third and last day of the training event is reserved for consultation. Even though the lecturers received a lot of cases submitted by participating pathologists, only 4 were selected prior to the event, due to time constraint and issues with the quality of the slides.
At the conclusion of the symposium, Impact Health Vietnam, together with Dr. Dayton and Dr. Nguyen have donated many valuable medical textbooks and 9 copies of WHO 2008 Classification of Lymphomas to the participants and their hospitals.

A group discussion was held at the end of the event by representatives of Roche, IHVN delegation and many Vietnamese doctors who attended the training program. Observations and recommendations were shared by all attendees and future planning for continuing education was also discussed by the organizers. Dr. Dayton emphasized the importance of using international standards for slides preparation including staining and fixation techniques, in order to have accurate diagnosis and better outcomes for the patients. She recommended Roche Pharma Saigon to consider establishing a central reference lab for Vietnam, and to support the development of a training program for Vietnamese histology technicians. A clinical observership for qualified pathologists in the US is also considered, in addition to annual or biannual training for more pathologists in Vietnam.

A valuable microscope with all objective lenses, an internal camera and a brand new laptop for use with the digital work intended, were brought from the US and donated to the Hematology Lab of Children’s Hospital 2 (ND2). Our IT mission volunteer, Isaac Dayton helped with the setup and tutorial for the Vietnamese doctors. A locally bought table and 2 chairs suitable for use with this microscope were also provided to the lab.

In the spirit of Christmas season, our team scheduled a visit to the children at the oncology ward of CH2 hospital.130 gift packages containing cash and food were purchased and packaged by our local friend and given to each child in this ward. It was such a rewarding experience to see these little faces light up with joy and excitement. For a short instance, they seemed to forget about the pain and suffering they had to endure because of this terrible illness.