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Forex rate: Radiologists decry high cost of equipment

Forex rate: Radiologists decry high cost of equipment

The Association of Radiologists in Nigeria (ARIN) has said that the biggest challenge facing the members is the high cost of equipment to work with.

The newly-elected National President of the association, Olalekan Oyinloye, said this at a dinner and award to mark the 6th yearly and 60th AGM of Association of Radiologists in West Africa (ARAWA) in Abuja.

Oyinloye who is also a Consultant Radiologist, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), stated that the exchange rate of Naira to dollars had become more difficult for the association to acquire some of the equipment.

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He particularly mentioned equipment like the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine as $6 million which the association could not afford.

“There is also what is called Computed Tomography machine; if you want to buy new one, we will be talking of about $500,000, so the basic challenge we have is in the equipment.

“The other equipment that you can’t divorce is power, MRI is a machine that has what is called the high-fead which is supposed to produce the best image and you have to power this equipment for 365 days in a year, you know what that means in Nigeria.

“You cannot afford to switch off the light, otherwise it will malfunction, that is a big challenge; in most cases even when they have the capacity, maintaining it 24 hours a day is a big challenge, so I think these are the two major challenges we have.

“The ‘Japa syndrome’ is a big problem, doctors are moving in drove, almost virtually every month somebody must move.

“Let me use this example, some of my trainings, very good crops of trainings, I think they finished 2016 and 2017, I can tell you that about six of them have Japa, only one of them is left in the country.

*A lot of the middle workers are also moving to Saudi, UK, moving to everywhere; it is a serious challenge, if this trend continues I have to be frank with you, it is a big problem to the medical profession,” Oyinloye said.

He said that the training which most of the Radiologists had put seven years into was meant to serve the country for a purpose, adding that the countries the medical workers were moving to might even have more personnel than Nigeria.

The Consultant radiologist said some of these challenges were discussed during the AGM and called on Federal Government to live up to its responsibilities and stop the trend.

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He called for provision of sophisticated equipment to enable radiologists do their work.

He also asked for increase in their remuneration and provision of regular training for the set of people, saying that with the provision of these, medical doctors would stay back in the country.

Dr Agaja James, the newly-elected Vice President 1, also reiterated the need for government to do more for the medical doctors.

James, who was also the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the AGM, said he was not encouraged because of the situation in the health sector, adding that it lacked most of the equipment required to work by the doctors.

He also decried the situation where most medical doctors were emigrating from the country, and called on government to do the needful.

“As for me, I am not going anywhere, considering my age and the years I have spent in this profession, I don’t think I am going anywhere, I am patriotic, committed to Nigeria; all the training I had was in Nigeria, I am still hopeful that Nigeria will be better.

“Radiologists are being carried along in the field of medicine, radiology is a profession which has doctors; we make the diagnosis for the clinicians from head to toe.

“Radiologists can tell you the problem either through our basic x-ray, ultrasound, computed thermography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and many others that are readily available in every part of the country.

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“You cannot do without radiologists, a radiologist will tell you exactly what the problem is; our message for the Federal Government is to give us an enabling environment where all these equipment are made available, functional electricity and adequate remuneration.