The Pakistan, Vietnam and Korea, what do they have something in common? The answer is that all these three countries experienced a war. And that's why Korea's development has become a model for Pakistan and Vietnam. And also it was the reason that Zehra and Duong chose Korea for their fellowship training. They're having training on PET/CT as a part of the IAEA Technical Cooperation at the nuclear medicine dept. of Seoul National University Hospital. October 16th, the day if the interview, was Duong's last day in Korea. He accomplished a general course regarding using PET/CT during 5 months since May. Zehra who begun training on June 13th, is going to go back to Pakistan on December, 14th.
Trained at clinical practice, treating the patients
During the past several years, Vietnam has continually strove to develop medical applications of nuclear technology. This year, the PET-Cyclotron center was established first at Choray hospital in Ho Chi Minh City and other hospitals in the country. In Hanoi, Tran Hung Dao hospital, where Duong belongs, was the first. Duong has been trained at clinical practice, treating the patients. He learned the progresses and directions on PET scan while the staffs of SNU hospital carrying out the inspections. And also he learned about basic equipments and computer operating system of PET-Cyclotron. Duong said that he was very interested and got confidence on PET/CT during 5 months in SNU hospital. He is going to share his knowledge and experience in Korea with other technologists in Vietnam. So it is expected to make better cooperation between Vietnam and Korea in nuclear medicine field.
In case of Pakistan, nuclear medicine recently was introduced by the government. Pakistan is operating 13 nuclear medicine center around the NORI, Nuclear Medicine, Oncology and Radiotherapy Institute. Up to now, SPECT gamma camera is being used as a principal equipment. But they are aiming to introduce PET/CT within 2 or 3 years. That's why Zehra's fellowship is important to Pakistan. She is, so to speak, in the center of Pakistan's brand-new PET era.
In SNU hospital, Zehra has performing not only clinical practice but also academic research, just as she had done in NORI. It seems not to be easy, but she wanted to utilize 6 months of time as far as possible. During the first 2 months she spent most of the time to read the PET/CT films. These days she is busy participating some projects and conferences in SNU hospital.
A Language barrier still exists
Duong and Zehra said that they are most impressed by the staffs, who help and teach them very well. During the training, they became nice friends. But unfortunately the language problem still exists. Zehra said.
"Sometimes, especially after presentations, they ask questions and then they discuss only in korean, so I just missed about it. So if I knew korean I would join them and I could learn much more."
Duong also missed that he could not make enough conversation because of the language barrier. They could learn just greetings and counting, frequently used in daily life. Actually they were too busy to learn korean language.
Asia-Pacific region occupies 45% of death rate from cancer in the world. And the experts anticipate it would increase up to 60% on 2020. Even worse, most of developing countries in Asia do not have medical equipments that can diagnose cancer in early period. According to the World Health Organization, 1/3 of cancer patients can be cured by the early diagnosis. That's why PET is important. What Duong and Zehra have learned in Korea is not just a technology, it was a hope. The hope, that would spread to all over the Asia through beautiful cooperations.