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Rural areas often face a lack of essential healthcare services.

Medical Physicists Seek Support on Passage of Regulatory Bill

The Nigerian Association of Medical Physicists (NAMP) has appealed to President Bola Tinubu and the National Assembly (NASS) to support the passage of the Medical Physics Regulatory Council (Establishment) Bill, 2022.

The President of NAMP, Prof. Fatai Balogun, made the appeal during the association’s 2023 Annual Scientific Conference and Workshop on Thursday in Calabar.

The theme of the five-day conference, which started on Nov. 6 and would run until Nov. 10 is: “Medical Physics: Creating Innovation for Safe Radiation Medicine Practice.”

The Medical Physics Regulatory Council (Establishment) Bill, 2022 was formerly Medical Physics College and Medical Physics Regulatory Council of Nigeria, Bill 2017.

Medical physicists are healthcare professionals with specialised training in the application of physics to solve health challenges.

The NAMP president, therefore, said that the pending bill is aimed at producing college of medical physicists and a regulatory body to check the activities of academic and clinical medical physicists.

According to him, if the bill is passed, it will enable the nation to train those who want to go directly to clinical studies, while encouraging people to take the field of medical physics as a viable option.

Balogun said, “medical physicists are so important in healthcare provision. In fact, without them, you cannot set up an oncology centre because without medical physicists, there will be no oncologists.

“Currently, our members are just over 100, with very few of them certified because Nigeria does not have a regulatory body necessary for certification.”

Ms. Olusola Osunsami, the Chairperson of NAMP Clinical Training and Certification Board, stressed the need for legislative backing for medical physicists to be recognised as healthcare professionals.

She said the physicists play vital roles in the way patients are treated because they ensure science and technology are used for effective and safe medical practice.

On her part, Dr Nwamaka Lasebikan, the President of the Association of Radiation and Clinical Oncologists (ARCON), commended NAMP for the 2023 conference.

Represented by Dr Ololade Kehinde, the Secretary General of ARCON, Lasebikan called for investment by government, individuals and financial institutions, while appealing for a reduction of bottlenecks that hinder the establishment of cancer centres.

Dr. Samuel Otene, the Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), National Cancer Committee, said that the relationship between clinical oncologists and medical physicists was so strong as they could not do without each other.

Otene said while an oncologist could give a dose of radiation to a cancer patient, the oncologist needed a medical physicist to explain the safety of the amount of radiation to the body of the patient.

He said while cancer care is a multi-disciplinary endeavour, its challenge still remained the high cost of treatment.

He added that, “if we can find a way to incorporate cancer care into the health insurance scheme, it will go a long way in reducing the rate of cancer mortality in the country”.