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Table of Contents
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 85-88

A need for specialized education in pediatric radiography in Nigeria

Radiology department, The Limi Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication18-Nov-2019

Correspondence Address:
Mr. Odira C Ewuzie
BSc. Radiography Radiology Department The Limi Hospital, Abuja
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijmh.IJMH_20_19

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Introduction: Pediatrics is a vast field with many facets. The importance of having dedicated specialists trained in the treatment and care of pediatric patients has long been recognized. It is necessary to determine if the profession of radiography is making similar progress in improving on the pediatric radiography services offered in the country. Objective: The objective of this study was to establish if there was a perceived need for specialized pediatric radiographic education in Nigeria. Subjects and Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional survey, which accessed radiographers' take on the need for specialized education in pediatric imaging. A Google Form link was distributed through various Nigerian radiographers' WhatsApp groups, inviting interested radiographers to participate in stating their opinions on the need for specialized pediatric radiographic education in the country and other related questions. Data were analyzed using IBM Corp. Released 2011. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 20.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp. Results were presented using tables and charts. Results: Seventy-six radiographers working in 25 states across the federation participated in the online survey. A total of 90.8% of the respondents stated there was a need for specialized radiographic education in pediatric imaging, and 64.5% felt that this education or training opportunities for radiographers was inadequate. Only 43.4% were comfortable performing pediatric imaging. Conclusion: Majority of the radiography departments in Nigeria do not have dedicated equipment or staff for pediatric radiography. Undergoing specialized pediatric imaging training will benefit radiographers who are keen on improving the radiography services offered to pediatric patients.

Keywords: Continuing professional development, pediatric radiography, postgraduate studies, radiography

How to cite this article:
Ewuzie OC. A need for specialized education in pediatric radiography in Nigeria. Int J Med Health Dev 2019;24:85-8

How to cite this URL:
Ewuzie OC. A need for specialized education in pediatric radiography in Nigeria. Int J Med Health Dev [serial online] 2019 [cited 2023 Jun 5];24:85-8. Available from: https://www.ijmhdev.com/text.asp?2019/24/2/85/271085

  Key Message: Top

There is a need to actively inform, encourage, and train radiographers to specialize in pediatric imaging as it is an area that requires special care and expertise to execute.

  Introduction Top

A child is any person younger than 18 years of age, unless an earlier age of maturity is recognized by a country's law.[1] A total of 42.45% of the Nigerian population are aged 14 years or younger.[2] With this great proportion being children, it is important that every profession should have a dedicated approach to taking care of the needs of this delicate age-group.

Radiological imaging is extremely valuable as a diagnostic tool in the pediatric population, but it comes with a number of distinct challenges as compared to the imaging of adults.[3] Pediatric imaging requires specific training and certification, but this is hardly the case in many countries where there may not be subspecialty training in pediatric imaging, and practicing pediatric imaging may not have specific requirement other than the practitioner having an interest in children.[4]

Many other health disciplines have pediatric branches with professional recognition for the important and specialized nature of their work.[5],[6] Pediatric radiography, as well as pediatric radiology to a lesser extent, do not yet receive the same recognition.[5] A need for radiographers with pediatric training has been identified as required in units that perform pediatric examinations.[7]

There are probably no known dedicated pediatric medical imaging hospitals or departments in Nigeria. The objective of this study was to determine if there was a perceived need for specialized pediatric education in Nigeria, and at what educational level it was best taught.

  Subjects and Methods Top

A questionnaire survey of Nigerian radiographers was used to obtain their opinions about the need for pediatric radiography education. A voluntary sampling approach was adopted for this cross-sectional descriptive survey. The respondents were radiographers who opted in taking the survey. The questionnaire was created and distributed via Google Forms in June 2019. Link to the document was circulated across various WhatsApp groups belonging exclusively to Nigerian radiographers. The responses were analyzed using simple descriptive method.

  Results Top

A total of 76 radiographers responded to the invite to participate in the survey. It was somewhat impossible to get the total number of radiographers invited because some radiographers belonged to multiple radiographers' WhatsApp groups that received the link to the Google Form. Radiographers working in 25 of 37 Nigerian states or territories participated.

From the responses received, 88.2% considered pediatric radiography to be a specialized imaging field with 90.8% stating they believed there was a need for specialized education in pediatric radiography. A total of 60% of the respondents believed this specialized education in pediatric radiography should be taught as continuous professional development programs.

None of the participating radiographers had an additional qualification as a pediatric radiographer, and 94.7% of them did not have a member of staff within their department with the responsibility for pediatric imaging. Only 43.4% were quite comfortable with handling pediatric imaging themselves, and 94.7% did not have dedicated equipment for pediatric imaging in their departments.

A total of 64.5% of the responses suggested that current education and training opportunities for radiographers in pediatric radiography within the nation were inadequate.

The results from the responses are summarized in [Figure 1] and [Table 1].
Figure 1: The educational level pediatric imaging is best taught

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Table 1: Radiographers responses on the need for specialized education in pediatric imaging

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  Discussion Top

The changing nature of the radiography profession influences radiographers' decision to pursue postgraduate education.[8] Professional development within the radiography profession has also been closely linked with the advancing technology of imaging equipment.[5]

Years ago, while facing a critical shortage of pediatric radiologists in the United States, Bramson and Taylor[9] wrote that “pediatric radiology must demonstrate that it is an exciting, attractive career choice for young physicians in training.”[10] Pediatric radiography in many parts of the world faces a similar scenario, and there has to be a standardized pathway for training interested radiographers in the art and act of pediatric imaging.

Radiographers need to learn new skills in order to remain relevant in health care.[8] Radiographic examination of children, being quite different from examining adults, requires knowledge of pediatric pathologies and normal variations in radiographic anatomy as well as an awareness of the child's level of cognition, comprehension, and communication.[5],[11] Appreciating the social, physical, and cognitive developments that occur during the phases of childhood will assist the radiographer in selecting a suitable approach to the examination and will ensure appropriate and effective patient communication and cooperation.[12] All these and more are the numerous things that can be taught as a part of pediatric radiography education.

It is very encouraging to note that pediatric radiography has been generally identified as an area of specialized medical imaging. A total of 88.2% of the respondents in this study agreed to this, with 90.8% further stating that there is a need for specialized education in pediatric imaging. This is similar to an earlier study conducted in the United Kingdom in 1998,[5] where 76.1% noted that they considered pediatric radiography to be specialized imaging, with 87.6% recording that there is a need for specialized education in pediatric imaging. In that same study,[5] the then opportunities for training in pediatric imaging were thought by the majority of the respondents to be inadequate. This is still similar to the present day thoughts of the respondents in this study, with 64.5% highlighting the inadequate opportunities for training in pediatric imaging. This inadequacy also extends into the work setting of the radiodiagnosis departments across the nation, where little attention is paid to pediatric radiography. This is reflected in the fact that none of our respondents had an additional qualification as a pediatric radiographer, and 94.7% did not have a member staff within their departments responsible for pediatric imaging, neither did they have dedicated pediatric imaging equipment in their departments or hospitals.

Only 2.6% of the respondents in this study were certain that they had a member of staff who had undertaken education or training in pediatric imaging, leading to a recognized qualification. This is consistent with the reports in the UK in 1998,[5] where only 4.5% of the respondents had such a staff in their department. In a more recent study by Mathers et al.,[13] responses indicated that in 60% of adult hospitals, staff attended pediatric training courses. However, the survey indicated that the recommendations of the Children's National Service Framework and the Health Care Commission have not been implemented fully in many imaging departments.

The development of dedicated pediatric imaging courses will provide opportunities for radiographers to expand their knowledge of pediatric anatomy, growth, and development, and to critically evaluate current techniques and procedures used in pediatric imaging.[5] Majority of the respondents in this study suggested that pediatric imaging education is best taught as continuous professional development programs; however, a good number also believed it can be taught at all levels (BSc, MSc, etc.). The responses in a previous study also indicated that there is a perceived need for education in pediatric imaging at all levels, with particular emphasis being placed on Continuing Professional Development short courses.[5]

  Conclusion Top

Pediatric imaging encompasses, within its sphere, an almost endless range of possible studies related to anatomy, growth and development, disease processes, and legislation to identify but a few.[5] The study has been able to identify a need for specialized education in pediatric radiography, as majority of the radiography departments in Nigeria do not have dedicated equipment or staff for pediatric radiography, and this may be best taught as continuous development program courses and at postgraduate degree levels. Pediatric radiography education will help to improve the level of pediatric imaging services offered within the nation.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Streuli JC, Michel M, Vayena E. Children's rights in paediatrics. Eur J Pediatr 2011;170:9-14.  Back to cited text no. 1
Central Intelligence Agency. The World Fact Book: Nigeria Demographics Profile 2019. Available from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ni.html. [Last accessed on 2019 June 18].  Back to cited text no. 2
Thukral BB. Problems and preferences in pediatric imaging. Indian J Radiol Imaging 2015;25:359-64.  Back to cited text no. 3
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Erondu FO. Challenges and peculiarities of paediatric imaging. IntechOpen Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/51611. [Last accessed on 2019 June 18].  Back to cited text no. 4
Hardy M. Paediatric radiography: Is there a need for postgraduate education? Radiography 2000;6:27-34.  Back to cited text no. 5
Department of Health. Welfare of Children and Young People in Hospital. Vol. 6. London, UK: HMSO; 1991. pp. 32-5.  Back to cited text no. 6
Harwood-Nash DC, Petterson H, editors. Pediatric Radiology. London, UK: Merit Comm; 1992. pp. 1-2.  Back to cited text no. 7
Mubuuke AG, Pope E. Factors that influence radiographers' decisions to pursue postgraduate education: An exploratory qualitative study. J Med Imaging Radiat Sci 2015;46:223-30.  Back to cited text no. 8
Bramson RT, Taylor GA. SOS: Can we save pediatric radiology? Radiology 2005;235:719-22.  Back to cited text no. 9
Otero HJ, Appiah BA, Mensah Y. Pediatric radiology education in a metropolitan radiology residency in West Africa: The Accra experience. J Am Coll Radiol 2016;13:985-7.  Back to cited text no. 10
McKinstry J. Paediatric radiography comes of age. Synergy1996;Nov:28-9.  Back to cited text no. 11
Hardy M, Boynes S. Paediatric Radiography. 1st ed. London: Blackwell Science; 2003.  Back to cited text no. 12
Mathers SA, Anderson H, McDonald S. A survey of imaging services for children in England, Wales and Scotland. Radiography 2011;17:20-7.  Back to cited text no. 13


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1]

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