A new radiology center in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, has opened its doors, according to Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. (ZBC).
The launch of the Diagnostic Radiology and Magnetic Resonance Imaging Centre comes at a time when the scarcity of radiologists in the country has reached a tipping point.
At present there are 115 diagnostic radiologists in the country of 14 million people.
“There is a shortage of radiologists in the country and reasons for this need to be explored, and solutions to this gap identified,” said Dr. Dumisani Ndlovu.
He and his wife, Dr. Ntokozo Ndlovu, have been the forces behind the center.
Dumisani Ndlovu was the managing director of DRMC Medical Centre, which opened its doors in 1990, when an ultrasound scanning (USS) machine was installed at the Fife Avenue Medical Centre in Harare, according to the news site Spiked.
The matter has economic as well as healthcare impacts, noted Ndlovu, addressing the occasion's guest of honor, Health and Child Care Minister Dr. David Parirenyatwa, saying, “we cannot continue to rely on external institutions to train radiologists for us, as this may be costly in more ways than one. I appeal to you today, honorable minister to look into this issue with the urgency it deserves, as in Zimbabwe, professionals of my level and training are but an endangered species. Succession planning is needed in this field and has to be put in place.”
At present, Ndlovu said that while there is an upsurge of medical students, the radiologist shortage remains – and there is no radiology training now available in the country, according to Spike.
Parirenyatwa responded that he was “cognizant of the fact that Dr. Ndlovu has observed glaring inadequacies in the specialist field of diagnostic radiology in this country, particularly as far as training in the field is concerned. It is true that in a progressive country where the development parameters are well placed, teaching hospitals must be equipped to provide high-level training for diagnostic radiologists,” according to ZBC.
According to Spike, the minister said that the goal was to continue to spread radiological expertise in the nation, stressing that, “we are aware that every hospital, from district, to provincial and indeed tertiary level, must have a resident radiologist with access to the best available technology. It is my hope that as we move further into the new dispensation of national governance, and as we open new frontiers of cooperation and collaboration with our global partners, this mission will stand accomplished.”
Radiologist shortages are a concern worldwide. In 2017, for example, GE Healthcare and Teleradiology Solutions joined together to tackle the issue in India, where at that time there was one radiologist for every 120,000 patients.
“Shortage of qualified medical professionals, including radiologists, is emerging as one of the biggest impediments to growth and access to quality health care in India,” Milan Rao, president and CEO of GE Healthcare, India and South Asia, said in a statement at the time.