Malawi Radiology Policy

July 3, 2022

National Radiology Policy

The underlying philosophy and rationale of this policy is that medical radiological services are essential for the delivery of quality health care and should be made available to all the people of Malawi. Poor medical radiological services subject patients to inappropriate treatments, chronic ill-health, high out-of-pocket expenditures on health care, loss of incomes and ultimately loss of confidence in health services. Moreover, poor radiological services are also costly in terms of high wastage of scarce public resources due to ineffective treatments; and loss of economic productivity of the population due to chronic illness and loss of life.

The overriding purpose of the National Radiology Policy is to provide a unified guiding framework for achieving quality and standardized radiological services in the country through addressing the identified key challenges and their rootcauses, thereby improving the functioning of radiological services.An important aspect is the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions which calls for establishment of best diagnostic, interventional and therapeutic imaging services in the country.

This policy therefore will provide guidelines, which will direct the provision of diagnostic imaging services at different levels of health care delivery system for efficient and effective management of patients which consequently will improvethe health status of the Malawian population.The policy is in tandem with “Health Sector Strategic Plan II 2017-2022”(HSSP II), and National Health Policy, the goal of which is to promote the quality of life of all Malawians through the delivery of an Essential Health Package.

At present, human resource inadequacy is a cross cutting problemand has affected radiology service at all levels of health care delivery. As of 2020, there are only96 Radiography Technicians, 9 Radiation Therapists, 30 Radiographers (diagnostic), 1 Sonographer and 1 Radiologist working in public institutions. There is also 71 radiology staff in CHAM and Private Facilities. This is against a national population of over 17 million. Higher and specialized training in radiology has been limited. The majority have been trained in diagnostic imagingup to diploma level only. A few radiographers trained abroad have bachelors degrees and have mainly been trained in general diagnostic imaging, radiation therapy and only one in ultrasonography. Recently a second school in Malawi opened and is offering radiography training forradiographers at degree level and first graduates are expected in 2021. Furthermore, radiology is a vast field with variousspecialties and there is need to train staff inultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging, interventional imaging, nuclear medicine imaging, mammography and others.

This Policy will therefore be the single most important governance document to align all stakeholders towards strengthening the delivery of radiological servicesthereby contributing to achievement of the Malawi health sector goal of improving, financial risk protection and client satisfaction with service provided in the healthcare delivery system.

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