Edinburgh Imaging

MSc projects 1718 008

Radiology equipment within the health care facilities of a low-income African country: what is available, is it being used & how was it procured? A national survey in Malawi.

  • Background & objective: Up to 70% of health care equipment in sub-Saharan Africa is not being used. Medical imaging plays an essential role in modern healthcare. Lack of functional radiology equipment is a barrier to improving medical care. This project aimed to investigate barriers to effective use of radiology equipment & to guide investment in provision, utilisation & maintenance of radiology equipment, for improvement of healthcare in Malawi.
  • Material & methods: A systematic review evaluated the available literature on the subject. The literature search informed the making of a standardised telephone questionnaire, which was administered to a representative from each radiology department in Malawi.
  • Results: Half of the literature found was manuals published by WHO (5/10). There were three articles that evaluated the radiology equipment in low income countries. The response rate of the survey was 89% (72 out of 81). There are a total of 323 pieces of radiology equipment at radiology departments in Malawi, where 49% always work. There is a lack of service contracts & user training, & the equipment is older than recommended. Access to consumables are low in government facilities & higher in private facilities.
  • Conclusion: The findings of the systematic review show that there is a gap of research in this area. Improvements for overcoming barriers for use include:
    • Procurements/donations should include collaboration with the recipient department, proper installation of the equipment, service contract & user training
    • Access to consumables should be prioritised, not only in the private sector
    • Budgeting for new radiology equipment should include these points to not make the equipment into a liability for the department; if the budget does not suffice then other solutions should be explored, like joining resources or choosing other types of equipment.
Project type:
  • Systematic review
  • Data acquisition & analysis
Imaging keywords:
Application / disease keywords:
  • Radiology department management
  • Radiology equipment procurement
  • Imaging MSc
  • 17-18