Tuesday, January 6, 2015
MRI scanning machine made to operate in digital format
The thought defunct Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam is still operating, but now under a new digital technology which simplifies storage of patients’ reports, Speculation had spread among members of the public that the machine had stopped operating for the last two months after it failed to print patients’ results after being screened on their bodies for a medical check up. Investigations has revealed that the hospital on Tuesday this week found out that, the machine does not give out printouts instead patients have their reports saved in a compact disc (in short CD) as a way of preserving their information in a modern digital manner. A Doctor in-Charge of Radiology Department at the MNH who preferred anonymity said in an exclusive interview that, when the printing machine failed to work, they decided to preserve patients’ information reports in CDs made available at the hospital. However, the contacted doctor dismissed claims that the five year old MRI machine at the hospital was defective as earlier speculated and that needs replacement and denied the fact that it does not operate. According to the doctor, the machine does its work as usual but not printing a factor which has compelled doctors at the hospital to view their patients’ reports saved in CDs. The CDs contains all the information including patients’ pictures which initially were issued in the form of printouts, a technology which has been phased out. The head of the department was contacted and said that, the machine was out of order and no longer functioning, a move that caused panic and commotion to some people who have patients to be examined by MRI machine at the hospital.
Senior Public Relations Officer at the MNH Aminieli Aligaesha told the Guardian in an exclusive interview at the hospital that, the changing technology has made the preservation patients’ documentations to be much easier, unlike before where such documents were manually handled that kit became difficult sorting out. However he said that, “the aim of using the CDs for preserving patients’ documents is safer rather than in papers which are easily worn out and get lost in future”. MRI is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to investigate the anatomy and physiology of the body in both health and disease. MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields and radio waves to form images of the body. The technique is widely used in hospitals for medical diagnosis, staging of disease and for follow-up without exposure to ionizing radiation. In Tanzania, apart from MNH such machines can be found in two other major hospitals in the country which are the Aga Khan and TMJ hospitals respectively. The Muhimbili’s installed MRI machine was inaugurated for the first time by President Jakaya Kikwete in November 2nd 2009. The main purpose of the machine is to provide good and quality contrast between different soft issues of the human body which makes it useful in the imaging the brain, muscles, the heart and cancers compared to other medical techniques such as computed tomography (CT) scans, or X-rays. MRI does not use ionizing radiation. MRI technologists perform scans using radiofrequencies within a magnetic field to produce images of bones, organs, and soft tissue. They also prepare and administer contrast agents to obtain some images.