Pan African Medical Journal

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Survey of magnetic resonance imaging availability in West Africa

Godwin Inalegwu Ogbole, Adekunle Olakunle Adeyomoye, Augustina Badu-Peprah, Yaw Mensah, Donald Amasike Nzeh


Introduction: The availability and utilization of MRI units across sub-Saharan Africa countries remain poor and its distribution is largely unknown. A cross-sectional survey was conducted to determine the distribution and utilization of MRI facilities across the West African sub-region.

Methods: An interview and online search survey was conducted from September 2015 to September 2016, to determine the MRI facilities (Government/Public and Private) available in the West African sub-region. In Nigeria and Ghana, face-to-face interviews were conducted while for other West African countries, telephone interviews with radiologists and other health professionals as well as a Google online search were conducted to ascertain the distribution of the MRI facilities in the region. The number of MRI units in West Africa per million population was calculated and compared with other parts of the world from available published data.

Results: Eighty-four MRI units serve a combined population of 372,551,411 in the West African sub-region at the time of this report. Nigeria accounted for more than two-thirds (58 (69%)) of the available units. Of these, 45 (77.6%) of the units were low-field strength systems. Ghana's 14 MRI units were fairly equally distributed between the private (57%) and the public sectors (43%). Ghana with 0.48 units/million population had the highest number of MRI units/ million population followed by Nigeria with 0.30 units/million population.

Conclusion: Though there is an increase in the number of available MRI units in the West African sub region in the last decade, the numbers remain appallingly small for the population. Infrastructural and maintenance limitations constitute a major impediment to the use of high filed systems in the region. There may be need for greater cooperation between public and private enterprises for future improvement of MRI utilization in the region.

Keywords: MRI, West Africa, survey, utilization, partnership
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