The chief medical officer of Lagos Multi Specialist Hospital, R-Jolad, Dr Abiola Fasina, has advocated the adoption of the use of Point-of-care Ultrasound (POCUS) by hospitals, to improve clinical decision-making and bridge the diagnostic imaging gap for patients, including for lung pathology.
Fasina stated this at the 2021 pre-conference workshop of the Annual General Meeting and Scientiﬁc Conference of the Nigerian Thoracic Society (NTS), themed ‘Pulmonary Care: The Patient, the Practice and the Pandemic’ in Lagos.
According to Fasina, supporting a Computerized Tomography scan (CT scan) or a Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan (MRI scan) can be particularly challenging for hospitals due to the cost of the initial equipment investment combined with infrastructural issues including maintenance and repair requirements.
“Hence the call for scale-up of diagnostics ultrasound and x-ray capacity in particular. She pointed out that Point-of-care Ultrasound (POCUS) has long been employed in resource-limited settings and has led to improvements in clinical decision making,” she said.
She noted that, “Access to diagnostic imaging to improve clinical decision making remains a challenge in resource-limited settings such as Nigeria. The WHO has advocated for expanded global access to ultrasound teaching and technology for health providers as two-thirds of the world’s population currently has no access to imaging technologies.
“Therefore, expanding access to ultrasound and speciﬁcally, Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) in the hands of clinicians at the bedside, is of primary importance to help doctors manage patients better and decrease the incidence of medical mistakes. Lung POCUS shined during the COVID-19 pandemic and helped manage acute and critically ill patients better.”
She further stated that the purchase and maintenance costs of ultrasound machines are relatively inexpensive compared to CT and MRI and are becoming more portable and affordable.
She, however, said support was needed at all levels and from key decision-makers to support the purchase of machines and the training of clinicians in the various POCUS modalities to serve Nigerians better at their time of medical need.