Dave Fornell, ITN Editor at RSNA
Dave Fornell, ITN Editor at RSNA

Dave Fornell is the editor of Imaging Technology News magazine and Diagnostic & Interventional Cardiology magazine.

Blog | Dave Fornell, ITN Editor at RSNA | RSNA 2017| December 08, 2017 | Dave Fornell

A Glimpse Into Radiology in the Developing World in Africa

A Glimpse Into Radiology in the Developing World in Africa

RSNA members Stanley Ogoinja, MBBS, and Mayomi Onuwaje, M.D., both from Nigeria, said they are among less than 60 radiologists that serve their entire county of 190 million people.

When I attend evening sessions at any of the medical conferences I go to throughout the year, I always look forward to meeting doctors who can talk about what they do on a daily basis to get a reality check on the true current state of healthcare. As an editor of a new technology magazine, you get a skewed sense when you only see work-in-progress and brand new FDA-cleared products. At the 2017 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting in late November, I attended a Toshiba evening event and met two radiologists from Nigeria. We had a great conversation about the state of healthcare in their country. It also gave me a reality check as to the state of medicine in developing countries, compared to the U.S. and Europe.

RSNA members Stanley Ogoinja, MBBS, from Yenagoa, and Mayomi Onuwaje, M.D., from Warri, said their African country of 190 million people has a major shortage of doctors. They are among a group of less than 60 radiologists that serve the entire country’s population.

Access to advanced imaging systems like CT is limited to about one machine in most large cities, mostly 16-slice or lower systems. MRI access is even lower. However, Dr. Ogoinja showed me spinal MRI trauma images on his iPhone that are from his 1.5T MRI system that matched the excellent quality of anything I have seen from U.S. hospitals.

They said access to care is limited to people who can pay out of pocket, since very few Nigerians have insurance. The annual income of most people is about $50 per month and the cost of an MRI is about $200, so MRI is often used as a last resort or is reserved only for people who have higher incomes. The cost for surgery is sometimes lower than CT or MRI, so exploratory surgery is still used as a less expensive option. Point-of-care ultrasound is widely available and is the primary imaging modality available, they said.

Access to hospitals is also an issue, as people from rural areas may take several days to get to a city hospital. This, combined with the high cost of care that makes many people come to hospitals only as a last resort, leads to poor outcomes with many diseases. They said this is most pronounced in cases of stoke and coronary disease. Ambulance and paramedic services to the hospitals also are nonexistent. 

Radiologists make about $2,000 a month and the cost of a good apartment is about $1,000 per year, they said. The cost of living in Nigeria is also pretty low, compared to Europe and the U.S., so they said doctors can live pretty well there.

In Africa, they said Egypt and South Africa are the two main hubs of education and advanced imaging and healthcare. In central Africa, Kenya and Ghana are the two most advanced in terms of access to care and advanced imaging capabilities, they said.

To see what vendors showed at RSNA 2017, visit the ITN RSNA FastPass microsite.

Watch ITN videos from RSNA 2017.


Related Content

Ingenia Ambition X 1.5T MR. This innovation is the latest advance in the Ingenia MRI portfolio, which comprises fully-digital MRI systems, healthcare informatics and a range of maintenance and life cycle services for integrated solutions that empower a faster, smarter, and simpler path to enabling a confident diagnosis
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | September 14, 2018
Philips, a global leader in health technology, launched the Ingenia Ambition X 1.5T MR.
Videos | Radiation Therapy | September 07, 2018
A discussion with Ehsan Samei, Ph.D., DABR, FAAPM, FSPIE, director of the Duke University Clinical Imaging Physics Gr

Image courtesy of Philips Healthcare

Feature | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | September 06, 2018 | By Melinda Taschetta-Millane
According to the Prescient & Strategic Intelligence report, “Global Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Market Size,...
Videos | Radiomics | August 09, 2018
A discussion with Martin Vallieres, Ph.D., post-doctoral fellow at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
Gary D. Luker Named Editor of Radiology: Imaging Cancer

Image courtesy of University of Michigan Medical School

News | Oncology Diagnostics | August 06, 2018
The Board of Directors of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) announced that Gary D. Luker, M.D., will...
Videos | Digital Radiography (DR) | August 03, 2018
Sheila Sferrella, president of Regents Health Resources and Bill Finerfrock, president of Capitol Associates, discuss
Videos | AAPM | August 03, 2018
Ehsan Samei, Ph.D., DABR, FAAPM, FSPIE, director of the Duke Un...
New Regulatory Approvals Driving Research and Development Dollars in Medical Imaging Artificial Intelligence
News | Artificial Intelligence | August 01, 2018
Medical imaging has become the bellwether for the application of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, especially...
Videos | Artificial Intelligence | August 01, 2018
A discussion with Steve Jiang, Ph.D., director of the medical...
Sectra radiation dose monitoring software can help manage radiation dose from multiple medical imaging modalities.
News | Radiation Dose Management | July 25, 2018
July 25, 2018 – Sectra will install its cloud-based,...