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Radiographers’ board moves to make MRI available to more Nigerians

By Emeka Anuforo
28 July 2016   |   3:39 am
The Radiographers Registration Board of Nigeria (RRBN) has commenced efforts to ensure that the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) services are made available to more Nigerians.
Mr. Michael Okpaleke

Mr. Michael Okpaleke

The Radiographers Registration Board of Nigeria (RRBN) has commenced efforts to ensure that the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) services are made available to more Nigerians.

To this end, the Board reached out to operators in the private sector of the medical practice and well-meaning members of the public to work with government to ensure that the facility is available on a broader basis.

MRI is described as noninvasive medical test that physicians use to diagnose and treat medical conditions. It uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, and other internal body structures.

Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Radiographers Registration Board of Nigeria (RRBN), Mr. Michael Okpaleke, who spoke during the Post Graduate Diploma programme in MRI specialty organised by the board for radiographers in Abuja, noted that the involvement of the private sector would make the machines available in more hospitals, and also enable them get higher strength MRIs which produce better images and better diagnostic value for the patients.

He said the MRI machines were the most expensive imaging equipment in any radiology department, costing more than Computed Tomography (CT Scan) machines. They cost on the average N50 million for the smallest type or lowest grade.

He said: “Today’s programme is a national training programme for radiographers who practice magnetic resonance imaging in Nigeria. It is actually aimed at retraining them. Some of them are practicing MRI in their specialty where they are working and some are not.

The idea is to retrain them to re-tool them so that they will be able to deliver good diagnostic services to patients/clients and by so doing creating value for them in the health industry and also fulfilling the mandate of the ministry of health and ensuring that universal health coverage is accessible, affordable and equitably distributed to all Nigerians. The best way to do that is to ensure there is qualitative training for those who provide those services.

To ensure quality services and international best practices in radiography in the country, he stressed how the board recently embarked on a monitoring and enforcement exercise, adding that 10 centres each were closed in Osun and Imo States.

He said the aim of the MRI training was to retrain radiographers and equip them to deliver good diagnostic services to patients, and by so doing create value for them in the health industry.

A participant in the course and staff of the MedicAid Radio-Diagnostics, Kamal Lamido, said when more radiographers were involved in the MRI specialty, diseases would be detected earlier and people would have more access to the services.

“I will advise more radiographers to undertake this course because both the number of MRIs and MRI radiographers in the country is very low, and as more centres are trying to have MRI machines, the need for experts to man them rises,” he said.

The Head, Nigerian Institute for Radiographers, Mr. Ejimofor Malachy, said 23 radiographers were being trained for the present MRI specialty course, adding that the institute had an arm of the RRBN charged with the responsibility of updating professional knowledge of radiographers.

An MRI specialist, Uchenna Dike, said it improved diagnosis and that healthcare was hinged on proper diagnosis, adding that it was only when cases ware properly diagnosed that clinicians would know exactly what the cause was and what treatment procedures to take.

He said: “MRI is the latest technology in magnetic medicine therefore its place in healthcare management cannot be over emphasized. We have very few experts and so the essence of the training is to increase the number of MRI experts in Nigeria.”

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