Patients in developing countries often need to have X-ray examinations repeated so that doctors have the image quality they need for useful medical diagnosis, the IAEA is learning. The findings come from a survey involving thousands of patients in 45 hospitals and 12 countries of Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.
"Poor image quality constitutes a major source of unnecessary radiation to patients in developing countries," emphasizes Dr. Madan Rehani of the IAEA Division of Radiation, Waste and Transport Safety, which carried out the survey under technical cooperation (TC) projects of the IAEA. "Fortunately, were moving forward to help countries improve the situation and have shown definite improvements."
The survey was done in phases from August 2005 to December 2006 at hospitals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Madagascar, Sudan, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia. Project counterparts in these countries worked through IAEA-supported regional technical cooperation projects that aim to help countries implement quality assurance programmes for radiographic examinations, in line with international radiation safety standards.
"The use of X-rays in medical care is growing in developing countries," Dr. Rehani says. However, he adds, vital information about both the quality of X-ray images and patient doses is "grossly lacking" at many hospitals where the IAEA has helped launch quality assurance programmes.
The survey found that more than half (53%) of all X-ray images evaluated through the project were of poor quality affecting diagnostic information, Dr. Rehani said. One consequence is that patients then are given repeat examinations, which means exposing them to X-rays again, as well as entailing extra costs. The survey included patients receiving chest, pelvic, abdomen, skull, and spine X-ray examinations.
The good news is that efforts
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International Atomic Energy Agency