Radiographers Reject NCRRM Bill

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Martins Ifijeh

The Association of Radiographers of Nigeria (ARN) has called on the House of Representatives not to pass the bill for the establishment of the National Council of Radiology and Radiation Medicine (NCRRM) which was brought before it by Hon. Patrick Asadu.

The radiographers, who noted that the proposed bill was unnecessary as radiography already has a regulatory board, said the average Nigerian will not stand to gain anything from the bill, as it will constitute an extra burden and duplication of duties of existing regulatory bodies.

The President of the Association, Mrs. Elizabeth Balogun, who made the call in Lagos recently, said the bill, (titled ‘A Bill for an Act to Establish the National Council of Radiology and Radiation Medicine to Provide for the Control and Practice of the Profession of Radiology, Radiation Medicine, Nuclear Medicine, Radiotherapy, Radiography, Medical Physics and Technology and for Other Related Matters’) sought to put together professions that already have regulatory bodies, including radiography, medicine, nursing, and engineering into one regulatory council.

“The bill plans to bring different professionals who are comfortable where they have been and it is not going to add anything, but rather create an opportunity for a specialisation to lord things over everybody.

“It will do more harm than good to the health sector, which in turn affects the general public. We want radiographers to regulate radiographers and the country has given us the opportunity to do that to be able to deliver good services to the Nigerian populace,” she said.

Stating that the bill was another waste of tax payers’ money, she queried, “if radiographers are already being regulated as professionals, what is the motive for lumping them with others who don’t have their status of satisfaction and placement?

“Radiographers in the country must not only be formally trained but must be registered and qualified to be proficient enough to handle imaging techniques. That includes X-ray imaging, ultrasound, Computed Tomographic Imaging (CT Scan), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), among others.

“Nigerian Radiographers reject the bill and refuse to be associated in any way with it. We are satisfied with Radiographers Registration Board of Nigeria (RRBN), as our regulatory body. We are also aware of our legal right to fair hearing and freedom of Association.

“We call on well-meaning Nigerians and the entire citizenry to call for active participation of radiographers who are the end users in standard radio diagnostic equipment purchase.”

She said that the association had consulted the Federal Ministry of Health on the matter and the ministry promised to look into it.

The Chairman, Radiographers Registration Board of Nigeria, Mr. Abdulfatai Bakare, said that the proposed bill was not beneficial to the general public, adding that the bill was rather going to cause disharmony within the already fragile health sector in the country.

“The bill does not mean well for the good health of the general public and it is going to amount to huge waste of public funds.

“It will compound the challenges facing the health institutions; it will amount to obstruction of duties in the hospitals and further abate quackery. We are representing the interest of Nigerians where people will receive value for their money; whenever they want to seek services, they should get good services for the money they are paying,” he said.

The chairman said that both the board and association were not in support of the bill because they were not consulted before it was presented to the House. “We have a moral and legal right at the same time for whoever is proposing this bill to consult us before presenting it, “ Bakare said.

On his part, the South West Coordinator, ARN, Mr. Uzondu Eke, who warned on the dangers of chaos in radiography practice explained that little mistake in the profession could maim a person for life. He said the discovery of the bill was a rude shock to them as radiographers already have a regulatory body likewise the medicine profession, which is already being regulated by the Medical and Dental Council of
Nigeria (MDCAN).

The bill has passed the first and second reading and is currently awaiting a date for public hearing.