ESR@Work May 2017

EuroSafe Imaging calling for the use of new concepts and technologies to promote radiation protection in Africa

Prof. Guy Frija, Chair EuroSafe Imaging

The recently established International Society of Radiology’s Quality and Safety Alliance (ISRQSA) functions as convener of and facilitator for continental, regional and national radiation protection campaigns. The overarching objective of the ISRQSA is to establish a strategic plan for global efforts related to quality and safety, which reflect the input of the campaigns.

To this end, EuroSafe Imaging is pleased to collaborate with other continental radiation protection campaigns, as for example AFROSAFE, a campaign of the African Society of Radiology with the objective to unite with a common goal to identify and address issues arising from radiation protection in medicine in Africa. AFROSAFE has both an English-speaking and French-speaking branch to reflect the diversity of the continent.

EuroSafe Imaging participated in the African Congress of Radiology held in Hammamet, Tunisia, from March 31-April 2, 2017. It featured a session dedicated to the regional radiation protection campaigns, which provided insights into AFROSAFE, challenges and opportunities in Africa, as well as IAEA’s and WHO’s views. Prof. G. Frija, chair of EuroSafe Imaging and co-chair of the ISRQSA, made a clear statement as regards the use of new concepts and technologies to promote radiation protection in Africa with justification and optimisation as the two key pillars.

  1. Justification: European experience shows that clinical guidelines are not efficient for improving the use of imaging tests. Thus, developing justification in Africa by using the out-dated approach of clinical guidelines (in paper or electronic format) would be the wrong way, because by the time Africa has been provided with guidelines, developing countries will already be working with advanced IT systems, namely clinical decision support (CDS) tools, which will be mandatory in the United States from 2018 and which are spreading in Europe as well, e.g. ESR iGuide. Thus, G. Frija called for customised CDS systems adapted to the heterogeneous African context.
  2. Optimisation: Today’s modern imaging technology is equipped with dose reduction software and dose exposure collection systems. Africa deserves state-of-the-art equipment in medical imaging and thus no new equipment without these two features should be established. Equipment providers, health policy makers and international organisations should develop national and regional plans that would ensure Africa’s patients the same quality and safety for imaging services as in developed countries. This would allow Africa to build its radiation approach on the basis of new concepts, in particular related to diagnostic reference levels (DRLs) which should be based on clinical indication and no longer on anatomical location.