MEDICAL experts under the aegis of the Association of Radiologists in Nigeria (ARIN) have advocated the need for the Federal Government to establish Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) centres across the 36 states.
The advanced imaging technologies, they said, would be most useful if provided at the three senatorial zones nationwide, such that those at grassroots could have access to better diagnosis, especially during emergencies.
ARIN President Sule Ahmed Saidu made the call at the 4th Annual General Meeting of the group held on Sunday night in Abuja.
“We are not near enough at all. Most of the trained radiologists are in the urban centres. That also brings to mind the need for the devolution of some of this necessary radiological equipment to the grassroots. I think the government needs to begin to think of the provision of this high-tech equipment along senatorial districts.
“I am looking at a situation where at least in a state we should have an MRI machine, if it’s possible one in each senatorial district.
“But certainly, we should not have less than a machine in each of the senatorial districts so that the distance an average Nigerian needs to travel to be able to access some of these services is shortened because many of these patients actually need these services acutely or on an emergency basis,” he stated after the AGM at the weekend.
“The longer the distance, the more precarious the conditions of the patients and its outcomes.”
“We want to urge the government to try to provide the necessary equipment that will sustain our training and also ensure that we keep our best manpower so that we can continue to provide the necessary healthcare services to the teeming populations of Nigerians that are in dire need of such services.”
The association, according to the president, consisted of over 300 members nationwide, and it’s a member of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
He observed the experts were converged at the city centres, stressing the need for greater investment in radiological equipment due to high cost.
The United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS) defines the MRI as a “type of scan that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the insider of the body.”
It could be used to examine any part of the body including, “the brain and spinal cord, bones and joints, breasts, heart and blood vessels including internal organs such as the liver, womb or prostate gland.”
Before undergoing the scan, patients are expected to notify their radiologists if they have metallic objects in their body or electronic devices.
The ARIN president shared a similar explanation of the significance of the technology. Besides proper diagnosis, which he said could foster successful treatment of diseases, it also helps in post-treatments.
He unveiled future plans to provide data on available radiological modalities across the country for the public to identify which facility had which equipment. This gesture, Saidu noted, would engender proper public guidance to access better health care delivery.
“One of the surest ways you can monitor such patients is radiological. Radiology is important and as it is always said, radiologists are doctors. Also, globally, radiology is the most contemporary of all the medical fields,” he added.
“We are urging the government to pay particular attention to the practice of radiology and the provision of radiological equipment because they are very expensive and we also expect that philanthropists will come in here to also assist the government.”
He applauded the federal and state governments who had so far provided different radiological equipment in different health facilities in the country.
“We hope that the government will continue to do these for the effectiveness and efficiency of our healthcare service delivery.”