Clinical Study

Underutilisation of nuclear medicine scans at a regional hospital in Nigeria: need for implementation research

28 Aug 2020
Akintunde T Orunmuyi, Ismaheel O Lawal, Omonefe O Omofuma, Olalekan J Taiwo, Mike M Sathekge

Background: Nuclear medicine needs better integration into the Nigerian health system. To understand the relevant public health initiatives that will be required, this study assessed the pattern of nuclear medicine imaging services at the first nuclear medicine centre in Nigeria from January 2010 to December 2018.

Methods: The data of consecutive nuclear medicine (NM) scans performed between 1st January 2010 and 31st December 2018 at the NM department in a tertiary hospital in Nigeria were extracted from patient records and analysed using SAS version 9.4 (SAS Institute, Cary, NC). The National Cancer Institute’s Joinpoint software and QCIS (QGIS project) were used to estimate imaging trends and geographical spread of patients.

Results: An average of 486 scans per year was performed during the study period. Patients travelled from 32 of Nigeria’s 36 states, and the majority (65%) travelled more than 100 km to obtain NM scans. Bone scans accounted for 88.1% of the studies. The remainder were renal scintigraphy (7.3%), thyroid scans (2.5%), whole-body iodine scans (1.7%) and others (0.4%).

Conclusions: NM in Nigeria appears underutilised. Furthermore, the studies to characterise the access gaps and implementation needs will contribute to the design of practical strategies to strengthen NM services in Nigeria.