Zim Only Has 22 Radiologists

THERE are 22 radiologists serving the whole of Zimbabwe with the majority based in Harare, one stationed in Bulawayo, HealthTimes has learned

By Fungai Masona

This grim revelation comes at a time when massive brain drain of health workers is further crippling the health sector.

In an interview, Dr CADX co-founder Mr Gift Gana said this was testimony to the limited human and infrastructural resources in Zimbabwe.

We have got limited resources in Zimbabwe. And this includes radiologists who are our specialists for interpreting medical images. Here in Zimbabwe we have got only 22 radiologists. Twenty one of them are based here in Harare, one in Bulawayo. In other towns and provinces there are no radiologists. Most of them practice within the private sector. This brings limitations in that doctors are making a diagnosis for a patient who medical imaging has been done,” he said.

Dr CADX is an Artificial Intelligence software using image recognition technology.

“We are using image recognition technology which some of you may recognise from your latest phones where you unlock your phone using your face. So, it’s sort of a similar technology but we have applied it to medical images.

“So, have been able to get 100 000s of chest X-rays that have been labelled by radiologists. Our artificial intelligence has been able to learn, and the different patterns that are indicative of the different pathology,” Mr Gana said.

In 2018 when The Diagnostic Radiology and Magnetic Resonance Imaging Center was
opened, Dr Dumisani Ndlovu also bemoaned the shortage of radiologists.

Zimbabwe is increasing its annual intake of medical students, but a shortage of diagnostic radiologists remains—just 115 in the region for a population of more than 14 million.

“There is a shortage of radiologists in the country and reasons for this need to be explored and solutions to this gap identified,” Ndlovu said. “We cannot continue to rely on external institutions to train radiologists for us, as this may be costly in more ways than one.”

Radiology is a specialty of medicine in which images of the body’s organs are interpreted in order to diagnose disease. Radiologists are medical doctors (MDs) having the specialized training to interpret medical images for diagnosis while radiologic technologists are the medical imaging professionals that use and manage the equipment for making the images.

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