RE: Press Release by the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) on the harassment of Radiologists by the Registrar of the Radiographers Registration Board of Nigeria (RRBN)
The attention of Radiographers under the auspices of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Practitioners Association has been drawn to the Guardian Newspaper publication on the above subject matter of Thursday 17th November 2016, page 46. We the members of the above association had the option to ignore such frivolous and incoherent pronouncement of the NMA born out of parochial interest and punishable under Section 12 of the Radiographers (Inspection and Monitoring Regulations 2005) however disguised under public interest but as a responsive association, we have decided to react to the misleading publication of the NMA against the lawful monitoring activities of the RRBN and her dynamic Registrar and Chief Executive.
We categorically throw our unflinching support to the monitoring and enforcement activities of the RRBN to flush out all forms of quackery in Radiography practice in Nigeria by unequivocally stating that the RRBN is a statutory regulatory body set up twenty-nine (29) years ago by Decree 42 of 1987 now Act of Parliament cited as Radiographers (Registration etc) Act Cap R1 LFN 2004 to regulate the Radiography profession in Nigeria and does not regulate Radiology practice or Radiologists as claimed by the NMA (See the case of Prism Clinics & Diagnostic centre Ltd & 1 ors V RRBN delivered by the Federal High Court of Nigeria on the 21st day of October 2014). Having followed the ongoing monitoring activities of the RRBN over time, we are aware that no doctor was harassed to register his/her practice with the RRBN, instead, they were requested to comply with the relevant sections of the Radiographers regulations 2005 as well as the Radiographers (Registration etc) Act R1 LFN 2004 as required by law. With specific reference to Section 23 of the Radiographers training institutions/premises regulations 2005 which unequivocally states that “anybody who operates a Radiography Unit/practice (X-ray Imaging, MRI Imaging, CT Imaging, Radio-nuclide Imaging, Ultrasonic Imaging etc, Section 28 of the RRBN Act refers) in a centre or premises without registration with the RRBN commits an offence and on conviction shall be liable to fine or imprisonment or both fine and imprisonment” as may be determined by courts of competent jurisdiction. The use of the word “anybody” in the opening paragraph of Section 23 of the above regulation by extension refers to any person whether a doctor or otherwise who operates a Radiography Unit (either in a hospital etc) should cause that Radiography Unit to be registered with the RRBN in accordance with the law (See Section 15 of the Registration of Radiographers training institutions/premises regulations 2005).The latter further requests amongst other things that such Radiography units or premises shall have in its employment at least a registered Radiographer. Therefore any Doctor/Radiologist who despite been registered to practice medicine in Nigeria pursuant to Sections 9, 12, 11, 8 and 18 of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act but wishes to include Radiography practice (which is distinct from Radiology practice as acknowledge by NMA in her publication under reference) must therefore comply with the above RRBN Acts and RRBN Regulations 2005 as stated above.
The NMA in its publication under reference acknowledged that Radiography and Radiology are distinct; thus, why should a Radiologist including consultant Radiologist practice the profession of Radiography contrary to the stand of NMA and in fragrant contravention of the provisions of Sections 13, 14 of the RRBN Act as well as the provisions of the RRBN regulations 2005. This is nothing but corruption which the present administration is currently waging war against and must be condemned. What the NMA has just done through the said publication is what happens when corruption is fighting back legitimate authority.
The NMA publication also gave a distorted definition of Radiography and failed to list the various aspects of the Radiography profession as expressly stated in the RRBN Act. However for the purposes of clarity, Section 28 of the RRBN Act stated inter alia that Radiography means the art and science of the application of various forms of radiant energies on human beings in order to promote health, treat diseases and produce various diagnostic images including (a) X-ray Imaging (b) radio-nuclide imaging (c) ultrasonic imaging (d) thermographic imaging (e) magnetic resonance imaging – when medically indicated. The RRBN Act went further to explain that A Radiographer means a person who is trained, qualified and registered to practice any or all the various aspects of the Radiography profession (as listed a – e above).
Radiographers are the technical/scientific experts in medical imaging whose training is domiciled in full fledged departments of Radiography in our universities or in approved training institutions as it is done all over the world. They are trained to use sophisticated technology imagines equipment that produce various diagnostic images as identified in the Act.
The health care delivery environment is a complex industry with many professionals working as a team to care for the patient. It is for this purpose that we have radiographers, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapists, laboratory scientists, dental technologists etc, contributing their expertise to the success of restoring health. It is crude, unprofessional and selfish for any group in the team to claim mastery of all the professions in the health sector including the profession of Radiography to the detriment of the patients and the healthcare delivery system as a whole. This is akin to being a jack of all trade, master of none as stated by Hon. Justice B. A. Adejumo in suit no: NICN/ABJ/284/2014 between Nigerian Union of Phamacists, Medical Technology and Professionals Allied to Medicine & Anor v. Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex Management Board & 6 ors
The relevant section of the RRBN Regulation 2005 makes provisions for policemen to assist the Board in the discharge of her statutory mandates of regulating radiography practice in Nigeria as well as charging prescribed fees. From the foregoing, neither the RRBN Registrar nor the board have embarked on illegal or criminal activity and has not breached any law in Nigeria. The members of MRI Practitioners Association and well meaning Nigerians are solidly behind the RRBN Registrar and his team in their resolve to rid the country of unwholesome and unethical practices in the field of Radiography. Just like corruption is fighting back the present administration of his Excellency, President Mohammad Buhari, quackery is fighting back the Registrar and the RRBN for the good work they are doing in the Nigerian health sector.
It is obvious that NMA acted ignorantly having been deficient of the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the avalanche of judicial precedence in the public domain.
We therefore advise the general public to disregard the NMA publication of Thursday 17th November 2016, page 46 and to continue to assist the team of inspectors of RRBN in their ongoing inspection and monitoring nationwide to get rid of quackery and unauthorised use of radiation by unqualified and unlicensed persons which predisposes Nigerians to avoidable radiation hazards including cancer.