Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
A university lecturer at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, College of Medicine, Nnewi Campus, Anambra State, , Dr. Anthony Ugwu, has blamed politicians for the medical radiography quackery in Nigeria.
Dr. Ugwu who is currently in the University of Zimbabwe for external examination of final year radiography students is billed to also audit radiology examinations within this period.
In a telephone discussion with our correspondent, Dr. Ugwu frowned at the situation in Nigeria whereby some state governors allow schools of health technology to run medical imaging training.
According to him, no school of health technology in Nigeria has been accredited by the Radiographers Registration Board of Nigeria (RRBN) to train students in medical imaging and no scheme of service exists for such cadre in Federal Civil Service.
Speaking, Dr Ugwu noted that the RRBN is the only regulatory parastatal empowered by law to license practitioners to operate radiography facilities with legal extensions to other forms of imaging like Magnetic Resonance Imaging while no such provisions exist for National Board for Technical Education, which oversees technical training in Nigeria.
He compared the situation in Nigeria with that of Zimbabwe and noted that only three institutions train radiographers in Zimbabwe while such quasi-trainings and unaccredited institutions are nonexistent.
Daily Sun gathered that recently, in Nigeria, there has been an upsurge in the emergence of unaccredited radiography training institutions. These institutions include University of Buea and University of Douala, Cameroon, Imperial College of Advanced Studies, Kano in affiliation with Alpha Higher Institute Douala, Cameroon.
These institutions according to Ugwu are not accredited for radiography/medical imaging training by RRBN. He called on the police IG and other relevant law enforcement agencies to clamp down on the institutions and stop them from further deceit of unsuspecting public.
Dr. Ugwu further took a swipe on some Chief Medical Directors who cashed in on the lacuna created by the recent industrial imbroglio in the health sector to allow non radiographers to expose patients to ionizing radiations.
He noted that such an obnoxious practice is capable of increasing the scourge of cancer in our society and enjoined the RRBN to take legal actions against such Medical Directors.
According to him, one of the best ways of ensuring sanity in the medical imaging practice is to grant radiographers autonomy which would enhance their closer monitoring of activities leading to the dispensing of ionizing radiations in line with international best practices.
He thanked the leadership of the Medical Imaging Society of Nigeria (MISON) for initiating legal processes which would lead to the autonomy of radiographers in the clinical setting irrespective of the nonchalance exhibited by other professional arms.
In a related development, Dr. Ugwu congratulated the leadership of the Medical Laboratory Scientists Association for securing a judicial pronouncement in favour of autonomy.
In his remark, professionalism is all about internal control, discipline, independence and expertise. He thanked the National leadership of the Pharmacists, Physiotherapists and Laboratory Scientists for their efforts geared towards starting residency /fellowship programmes and basic doctoral degrees as these would enhance the quality of training, improve patient care and enhance the rating of Nigeria on the World Health Organisation scale.
Dr. Ugwu who is also the incumbent publicity secretary of Nigerian Society of Radiography lecturers noted that the society and RRBN have been called upon by individual radiographers to follow the path already created by pharmacists and others and promised that academic radiographers would live up to expectations.
Finally, he called on the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority and RRBN to step up the monitoring activities in this country as a way of fighting the cancer scourge and other radiation induced injuries on humans.