Dr Martin Ogharandukun, the Acting Director General of the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA), on Monday identified dearth of professional radiographers as the greatest challenge confronting the agency.
Ogharandukun spoke at the 7th National Training Course for Radiation Safety Officers in Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology held at the University of Ibadan.
Represented by Mr Timothy Akpa, the Director of Radiological Safety in the agency, the NNRA boss said many hospitals now run diagnostic radiology departments without radiographers, describing this as dangerous.
`` As other needs for radiographers other than diagnostic are arising in our health care systems and industries, many of them will be converted to therapy, nuclear medicine therapists.
`` Based on this, we call on State and Federal Government to give scholarship to qualified school leavers to study radiography in the available institutions and encourage more institutions to start programmes for massive training of radiographers, ’’ he added.
The NNRA boss also said the agency was on the verge of completing the compilation of minimum requirements for authorising diagnostic and interventional radiology.
He also that the agency would soon start registration of X-ray machines based on the result of quality control tests carried out on them.
`` Machines that fail the QC-tests will have to be dropped, failure of QC-test, not age, will be adopted as reason for dropping X-ray machines in the short run, ’’ he said.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Isaac Adewole said the agency in collaboration with the Physics Department of the institution had commenced two professional courses in radiation protection.
This, he said, was to ensure safety in the application of ionising radiation in the country.
``I am aware of the presence of thousands of ionising radiation emitting equipment all over the country, especially in the field of medical applications.
`` Though the benefits of these cannot be overemphasised, abuse can be catastrophic.
``It is in this regard that I want to advise you as the future Radiation Safety Officer of your institution to ensure compliance of your practices with the requirement of Act 19 of 1995,’’ he said.
Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State in his address of welcome said his administration was interested in working with the NNRA to ensure effective realisation of its mandate.
The state government, he said, was committed to supporting NNRA in ensuring the protection of life and property from the harmful effects of ionising radiation.
Represented by the state’s Commissioner of Health, Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin, the governor urged NNRA to consider the possibility of further involving indigenes of the state in its activities.
`` Our people need to know more about radiation and its harmful effects if not properly handled.
`` This administration has made the health sector one of its cardinal programmes,’’ he added.
Ajimobi said the state was currently developing the facilities in its hospitals, adding that all the state hospitals could boast of at at least one conventional X-ray machine