Dearth of facilities, under-diagnosis affecting radio-diagnosis in Nigeria, says radiologist

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By Lilian Okoro

Lagos – A radiologist, Dr Livinus Abonyi, on Monday called for appropriate legislation that would deal with quackery in radiodiagnosis in the country, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

He also decried the high rate of under-diagnosis and lack of adequate facilities in most radiodiagnostic outfits.

Abonyi is a lecturer in the Department of Medical Radiography, Faculty of Clinical Sciences at Unilag’s College of Medicine.

Radiodiagnosis is the branch of medical science that focuses on the use of radiation, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance for diagnostic, therapeutic, and research purposes in medicinal practice.

It is related to disciplines of anatomy, pathology, physiology, and interventional procedures.

Abonyi also said that those highlighted issues were the major challenges facing radiodiagnosis in the country.

He said that the growing menace of quacks in radiodiagnosis across the country had made it pertinent that government should introduce appropriate laws to check the trend.

Abonyi said that most health cases were under-diagnosed due to lack of adequate facilities and machines in the diagnostic centres.

According to him, appropriate legislation is needed to define the requisite training and certification which a person must possess to run a radiodiagnostic outfit.

He added that such requirements would also guide them in handling ultrasound and radiographic reporting.

“Inaccurate diagnosis leads to wrong management of the ailment, which can lead to grave consequences on patients,’’ he said.

Abonyi advised radiodiagnostic outfits without adequate facilities to perform proper diagnosis to always refer their patients to better equipped specialist centres.

He said that they should not wait until their patients’ ailments become complicated.

The radiologist emphasised the need for cross-referral of radiodiagnostic health cases to well equipped specialist centres for proper diagnosis. He said that this would check under-diagnosis and mistreatment of ailments.

“Some patients have the financial capabilities to pay for advanced diagnosis for their ailments.

“Unfortunately, some selfish radiodiagnostic centres will retain such patients pretending to be handling the situation until it gets out of hand before referring their patients to more equipped ones.’’

He urged Nigerians to always patronise well equipped specialist diagnostic centres where their ailments would be properly managed.

He said such would help them to avoid limited diagnosis, under-diagnosis, misdiagnosis and mistreatment of the ailments.

He also called for more collaborative efforts by the government, individuals and corporate organisations.

He said through that, they would be able to provide adequate and functional radiology equipment, particularly, in public tertiary health institutions for effective healthcare services.

Abonyi, however, admitted that the cost of procuring radiodiagnostic equipment and providing services were quite expensive.

“Hence, there is the need for greater Public-Private Partnership (PPP) framework, aimed at ensuring that this capital-intensive service is made available in all our tertiary health facilities across the country.

“This will enable Nigerian radiologists to offer radiodiagnosis services that are comparable to such specialised services anywhere in the world,’’ Abonyi said. (NAN)