By Vincent Ujumadu, Awka
THE brain drain currently affecting many professions in Nigeria has hit Radiography as no fewer than five Radiographers are said to be leaving the country every week for greener pasture abroad.
Radiographers are professionals who diagnose diseases using various modalities, including X-Ray and ultrasound devices in the hospitals.
Although the President of the Association of Radiographers of Nigeria, Dr Joseph Dlama said Nigeria requires about 50000 Radiographers for effective coverage of the entire country, there are only about 2500 and it is from the meagre number that many are jetting out of the country almost on daily basis.
Dlama, who painted the worrisome picture at the annual national conference and scientific workshop of Radiographers in Awka said the unfortunate thing is that only nine universities in the country offer the course up to the first-degree level.
Dlama said: “We used to have about 2500 Radiographers in the country, but the number is depleting on daily basis as a result of brain drain. As the President of this association, every week I receive nothing less than five Radiographers leaving this country. We also notice that the larger number of Radiographers leaving Nigeria is from the South-East”.
According to him, because of the shortage of Radiographers, the Radiographers Registration Board of Nigeria bridges the gap with trained X-ray technicians whose practice is also regulated by the board.
He added: “The regulatory body monitors the practice of radiography in all hospitals and diagnostic centres to ensure that the standards are strictly adhered to.
“We have offices in the six geopolitical zones for effective monitoring of the practice of the profession in all public and private hospitals, as well as in the diagnostic centres. Based on the law, any hospital that does not have a Radiographer is not supposed to be licensed to operate.
“We call on the government to address the shortage of radiography workforce by investing in manpower development, procurement of state–of–the–art equipment, ensuring a budgetary provision for the training and retraining of Radiographers, so as to provide the required services for the progress and advancement of our health care system”.
The weeklong conference with the theme, ‘Medical Imaging and Artificial Intelligence: the Inevitable Reality’ featured the presentation of researched papers by experts in the field.