Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Members of a professional body of radiographers in Nigeria, the Medical Imaging Society of Nigeria (MISON), have threatened to seek legal measures against the Registrar of the Radiographers Registration Board of Nigeria (RRBN) and the Head of Institute of RRBN.
At the bone of contention is the issue of licensing all other non professional radiographers involved in sonography practice, a practice MISON members say has led to the “balkanization and cannibalization of ultrasound practice in Nigeria.”
In an open letter made available to Daily Sun, signed by the National Secretary of MISON, Awah Paul Akomaye, on behalf of the Board of Trustees of MISON, members of the professional body alerted colleagues, radiographers, elders of the radiography profession and practitioners of Radiation Sciences of the impeding chaos in the profession.
They noted that MISON, as the pressure group of the Profession/Association of Radiographers in Nigeria, has taken various steps in abating chaos in the profession through series of meetings and correspondences to the Registrar/CEO of the Radiographers Registration Board of Nigeria (RRBN), and the Head of Institute of RRBN, Prof Mark Okeji.
Unfortunately, they noted, the RRBN has proved to be insensitive and unresponsive to the concerns and fears of the very professionals they regulate.
“We do not need to roll out the litany of complaints from us all against this act of self-inflicted sabotage by the RRBN. There is no RRBN without Radiographers; that is sacrosanct. Yet, we wonder why there is so much apathy to our requests and demands for explanations from the RRBN,” the statement open letter read.
“The alibi so far orchestrated by the RRBN that Ultrasound practice in Nigeria is unregulated is immaterial, perfidious and aimed at perpetuating illegality against Radiographers, while causing grievous harm to the general public via misdiagnosis.”
The professionals demanded that the RRBN only perform her duties to Radiographers (whom they regulate) and refrain from licensing any other profession, no matter how qualified, from practicing Sonography; but rather should let the Board/Council of such other professions license them.
They resolved to seek clarifications from the RRBN, legally hinting that a preaction notice will be sent out to the RRBN, copying all concerned stakeholders in Radiography, the Federal Ministry of Health and the Presidency.
Giving a chronological sequence of events that led to a seeming point of almost irreconcilable differences, they noted that a memo was sent to the Registrar/CEO of RRBN on March 18 seeking explanation on the issue of contravening the act that set up the profession by the training of non radiographers in ultrasonic imaging.
They disclosed that from their findings, out of about 54 non radiographers that were enrolled by the board for the award of Post Graduate Diploma in Ultrasound, scores of applicants came from laboratory scientists, anatomists and even X-ray technicians.
They noted that when they requested to be furnished with the certificate details of the applicants, the Head of Institute of the RRBN denied them, citing that they were classified documents.
The group described the apparent hoarding of information by the RRBN as “an indictment and a contravention of the Freedom of Information Act,” vowing to invoke the Freedom of Information law to assert their rights to such information.
When contacted for comments, the Registrar, Radiographers Registration Board of Nigeria, Prof Mark Okeji, said MISON is not part of the Radiographers Board and have no right to query their operations.
“Are they writing as an interloper or what? Ask them whether they know the duty of the Board as a regulator. Anybody walking along the streets cannot just walk up and ask for some statutory information. Another thing is: are they legally part of the body called Radiographers?
When Daily Sun asked Okeji about the issue of admitting non radiographers into the post graduate programmes, he queried whether the reporter had seen the Act establishing the RRBN before asking the question. “Get it and read so you can ask them pertinent questions and also won’t be gossiping,” he said.
Chairman of the Board Mr A F Bakare, on his own part when contacted, said that he was in the classroom at the time and cannot respond to any of the issues raised.