By Winnie Osika
More than 100 radiographers in the country will benefit from trainings on the latest medical imaging technologies and techniques in radiography.
This will be achieved through a two –year partnership announced by GE Healthcare and the Society of Radiography in Kenya (SORK).
The partnership will build on efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through capacity building. Under the partnership, SORK will provide accreditation for the participants while GE Healthcare will provide radiography training equipment, content and facilitators for the training sessions targeting radiographers from private and government healthcare facilities, GE said.
SORK Council President, Kenneth Wangari, admitted that there is need to increase skill sets of healthcare workers, especially in radiography.
“Despite having qualified radiographers in the country, 90 percent do not have certified speciality training,” he said, adding recent upsurge in radiography equipment install base and an upward shift in technology on the equipment have also widened the training gap.
Wangari noted to improve workflow efficiency, there is need to improve radiographic equipment handling techniques.
“We are partnering with GE Healthcare to develop course material, curriculum, trainees and trainer’s manuals, lecture aids, simulations and webinars for online training as per applicable law and regulation,” he said.
Through the partnership, radiographers will be trained on radiation safety and protection, Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) focus, use of contrast media, conventional imaging and mammo focus, radiotherapy focus, ultrasound focus, management and leadership imaging services and molecular imaging.
GE Healthcare is a healthcare business provider of medical imaging, monitoring, bio-manufacturing, and cell and gene therapy technologies.
GE Healthcare General Manager Andrew Waititu was positive about the partnership and said GE Healthcare will continue to work with the private and public sector to improve healthcare delivery through training of professionals.
“The partnership with SORK will lead to improved outcomes for patients and the overall healthcare system through localized capacity building,” said Waititu.
The continuous training program will be conducted using GE Healthcare imaging machines and simulation software at the GE Healthcare Skills and Training Institute, an education facility for healthcare professionals in Karen, Nairobi.
“Availability of well-trained radiographers in an ever-evolving healthcare industry remains low despite rise in demand. There is need to provide continuous training specifically focused on various imaging modalities such as CT and MRI focus where radiographers can acquire specialized skills on modalities,” GE said.
Kenya has 1,400 radiographers. Through the training, the radiographers will be better skilled to take precise imaging for better analysis and referrals hence reducing the cost, time and complexity of inappropriate diagnosis.
“The Society of Radiographers in Kenya is keen on embracing partnerships that will reduce the radiology specialty certification gap. There is also need for county governments to facilitate access to essential modality speciality training to ensure capacity use of installed radiographic equipment,” Wangari said.
To practice radiography in Kenya, a radiographer must be registered with SORK and obtain a license from the Radiation Protection Board of Kenya.
Radiographers can specialize in various disciplines within the practice notably: – MRI, Nuclear Medicine, Ultrasound, Interventional Radiography, Radiotherapy, Oncology and Medical Education.
However, the profession has traditionally embraced two distinct disciplines- therapeutic and diagnostic radiography.
Therapeutic radiographers are responsible for providing safe and accurate high-energy radiation treatments to patients with cancer.
Diagnostic radiographers provide imaging examinations, using imaging modalities and techniques for appropriate management and treatment of patients.
In 2016, GE inaugurated a healthcare training and skills institute in Kenya designed to train health professionals. Over 1,000 professionals have benefited from the institute since its launch.