By Lilian Okoro
The Radiographers Registration Board of Nigeria (RRBN) has called for collaboration in the fight against quackery in radiodiagnosis practice in the country.
Alhaji Abdulfatai Bakre, Chairman, Governing Board of RRBN made the call during a Town Hall/Stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Board on Thursday in Lagos.
The theme of the programme was: “Radiography Practice in Nigeria; Patient-Centred Practice and The Need For Monitoring and Enforcement”.
Bakre said that the essence of the meeting was to sensitise the general public, governments, organisations and all stakeholders on the dangers of quackery in ionizing radiation practice and the need to engage the services of certified professional radiographers.
According to him, the sensitisation is to hold in the six geo-political zones of the country, with the Southwest zone being the kick-off point.
“Lagos State and Southwest Nigeria have a peculiar history in the evolution of radiography profession in Nigeria, both in training and practice.
“In no small time, Lagos State became the household of a greater number of radio-diagnostic/radiation therapy centres in Nigeria.
“This is one of other reasons why I aligned to staging the first-ever stakeholders/town hall meeting of the profession, which is patient-center based here in Lagos, to serve as awareness, education and sensitisation to all stakeholders.
“Care of patient in radio-diagnosis/treatment cannot be treated with levity, since as it is the fulcrum of any establishment that is into healthcare,” Bakre said.
In his keynote address, Prof. Mark Okeji, Registrar, RRBN, said that monitoring and regulation of radiation practice was necessary for the safety and health of the the populace.
Okeji regretted that Nigeria was fast becoming a dumping ground for all manners of radiographic equipment and unqualified foreigners which would not augur well for healthcare and medical practice.
According to him, the board is entrusted with the mandate of ensuring safe use of ionizing radiation in medicine through documentation, inspection and monitoring of all the available radiographic modalities in the country.
He said the Board was also entrusted with enforcement of compliance across the country.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders including the general public to report to the Board any observed unethical or substandard radio-diagnosis practice for necessary action and prosecution.
He said: “Radiography practice has grown from the routine x-ray investigation to more complex and sophisticated procedures, thereby contributing immensely to qualitative healthcare delivery and most advanced technology-based medical profession in the modern history.
“It is on these premises that I would like to call on the employers of labour in public and private health facilities to encourage good radiography practice through appropriate equipment procurement.
“Employment of qualified registered radiographers with requisite skills and professionalism with commensurate renumeration.
“It’s a known fact that cancer is on the increase in Nigeria, but funny enough radiation as one of its predisposing factors is used in its treatment.
“Inappropriate and unregulated radiation exposure could equally cause deterministic and probabilistic effect of radiation alike, such as cataract, cancer and genetic effect.
“Hence, the practice of radiography requires effective supervisor, monitoring and regulation”.
Prof. Kenneth Agwu, who was a Guest Speaker at the meeting, described quackery as any practice outside the scope of a profession or training.
Agwu said there were protocols for every radio-diagnosis, which must be dully followed for good result.
According to him, quacks often skip these protocols due to lack of knowledge and quest for profit maximisation.
He explained that the higher the doses of radiation, the higher the risk of killing more cells in human body.
“Hence the need for engaging qualified and registered Radiographers who are well knowledgeable about the operations,” Agwu said.