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High Forex Rate Making Equipment Unaffordable – Radiologists

The high exchange rate of the naira to dollars, the Association of Radiologists in Nigeria laments, has made it more difficult for them to acquire some important equipment needed to carry out their job effectively.

According to them, the high cost of equipment has become the biggest challenge facing the association.

This was disclosed by the newly-elected National President of the association, Prof Olalekan Oyinloye, at a dinner and award ceremony to mark the closing session of the 6th Annual General Meeting and 60th AGM of the Association of Radiologists in West Africa in Abuja.

The Consultant Radiologist at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, particularly mentioned equipment like the Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine that cost as much as $6 million, which he said the association could not afford.

He said, “There is also what is called a Computed Tomography machine. If you want to buy a new one, we will be talking 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 droves, almost virtually every month somebody must move.

“Let me use this example, some of my trainees, very good crops of trainees, I think they finished between 2016 and 2017. I can tell you that about six of them have Japa, only one 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 for the medical profession.”

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

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

He also called for the provision of sophisticated equipment to enable radiologists to do their job and increase their remuneration, as well as the provision of regular training, adding, “With the provision of these, medical doctors would stay back in the country.

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

James, who was also the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee 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 for doctors to work.

He also decried the situation where most medical doctors are emigrating from the country and called on the 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 and 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 and many others that are readily available in every part of the country.

“You can’t do without radiologists. A radiologist will tell you exactly what the problem is. Our message to the FG is to give us an enabling environment where all this equipment is made available with functional electricity and adequate remuneration.