Africa’s Regional Coordinator’s Report Elizabeth Balogun

Africa’s Regional Coordinator’s Report Elizabeth Balogun 


RADIATION PROTECTION TRAINING THE TRAINERS WORKSHOP IN AFRICA (LAGOS AND TOGO)


Radiation protection has been in the front burner of medical imaging practice globally in the past few decades with the ISRRT playing a critical role. Around the world people are living longer and often with too many diseases that require quality and safe care. Too many people are not informed about the benefits and risks of the care they receive. Only 1 in 3 persons have the risks of their procedure explained to them with 1 in 5 people undergoing an unnecessary examination. It is estimated that 3.6 billion persons are exposed to ionizing radiation from medical sources worldwide annually. Against this background the Bonn call for action which also has the endorsement of the ISRRT with a position statement to that effect has been striving to advance and strengthen the practice of radiation protection in medicine in order to achieve change in practice globally including the African sub-region.

Togo hosted in December the 2019 edition of the regional training the trainer’s workshop in radiation protection for French speaking African radiographers. It brought together 40 participants from 7 (Togo, Benin, Ivory coast, Cameroun, Mali, Guinea Conakry, Burkina Faso) countries and had presentations on several themes of medical radiation protection and practical works hands on exposure and dose measurement in the radiography room. Radiographers were also equipped with teaching methods and pedagogy. They undertook to impact the practices of radiation protection in their countries, as well as to lobby the authorities of their countries for the application of the principles of radiation protection.

The Lagos venue had 90 participants in attendance from all the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria and 4 (Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) other countries

Training and re-training of radiographers and radiologic technologists has been ongoing with expert support from the ISRRT and the IAEA. The training sessions were facilitated by  Dr. Mohammed Mogaadi who is Radiographer and Medical Physicist trainer with the IAEA.

In view of the level of commitment shown by the ISRRT and the IAEA, Radiographers in both English and French speaking Africa had the Train the trainers’ workshop in November and December 2019 in Lagos and Togo respectively. There were some interactive peer-review breakout sessions, comprising eight (8) different groups in Lagos which identified common challenges of radiation protection across the region and also made a declaration tagged the “Lagos Declaration on Radiation Protection”. 


Common challenges
While several challenges were identified during the session with representatives from various countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Nigeria. Most challenges were similar across countries in the region. These challenges were grouped under 3 thematic areas based on the principles of radiation protection viz; Justification, optimization and dose limitations. 


Delegates at the training of the trainer’s workshop were optimistic that these common challenges facing the African sub-region is surmountable with political will from the relevant heads of governments with their respective ministries of health making radiation protection of patients, staff and the public a priority consistent with the recommendations of the international basic safety standards of the international atomic energy agency. Further support in terms of funding, training of radiographers alongside other health professionals to enhance justification and the use of referral guidelines in the region is strongly recommended with requisite support from the ISRRT, IAEA, WHO, AU, WAHO among others, this is possible. 

 

Group of delegates at the Togo workshop

 

Group photograph of some of the participants in Lagos, Nigeria