THE GHANA SOCIETY OF RADIOGRAPHERS, GSR
The Ghana Society of Radiographers is the sole umbrella professional body for all certified radiographers (diagnostic, therapy and sonographers) in Ghana. It was established in 1986 in accordance with the Professional Bodies Regulatory Decree, NRCD 143 of 1973. It is a member of the Ghana Federation of Allied Health Professions (GFAHP) and the International Society of Radiographers and Radiologic Technologists (ISRRT). It currently has about 300 registered members.
The Vision of GSR
The vision of the Ghana Society of Radiographers is to foster professional growth and to improve the standards of delivery and practice of radiographers by promoting leadership and by expanding a body of knowledge through education and research.
Objectives of the GSR
The primary object of the Ghana Society of Radiographers (GSR) is to concern itself with all matters affecting the radiography profession in Ghana. The Society therefore has the following as its objectives:
1. To excel in the provision of best patient care by supporting radiographers to appraise evidence and implement best practice
2. To encourage all radiographers to
i. maintain highest professional standards of clinical practice, discipline and etiquette in radiography
ii. defend, uphold and maintain the honor and dignity of the radiography profession
3. To Promote and support education and research in radiography.
4. To ensure good relations between GSR and other similar associations or stakeholders both in Ghana and abroad to augment the delivery of healthcare in Ghana.
5. To create awareness of the science and benefits of radiography
6. To act as an advisory body to its members, other associations; private and government institutions and the general public.
7. To confer honor on deserving members
The Mission statement of the Society is “Promoting quality health in Ghana through Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy practice”
The Ghana Society has the vision of becoming a body that positively influences decisions on radiography in the healthcare delivery in the country. The Society therefore has the following as its Vision statements:
• to uphold and maintain the dignity of radiography practice in Ghana,
• to maintain the highest standards of clinical practice, professionalism and discipline in medical imaging and radiation therapy practice in Ghana,
• to promote and support radiography education and research,
• to collaborate with health agencies and stakeholders and
• to collaborate with similar and other health professional bodies both locally and internationally
Plans of the GSR
Among the challenges facing the practice of radiography in Ghana is low numerical strength, inequitable regional distribution of professionals and the evil of quackery.
There are currently about 300 radiographers to a population of about 26 million; a radiographer to over 100,000 inhabitants. And worst still, about 75% of these practitioners are concentrated in only 4 out of the 10 regions. There is also the problem of quackery especially in the practice of medical ultrasonography.
As part of the short-to-medium term plans the Society wants to see a significant increase (about 100% increase) in the number of radiographers (over the next 5-10 years), equitable regional distribution of practitioners and a dignified radiography profession. Towards this end, the Society is currently collaborating with the Allied Health Professions Council to rid the profession of uncertified persons practicing illegally. The Society is also collating comprehensive data on the current state of personnel and radiological installations across the country to help policy makers make informed decisions. The Society believes that through that it can lobby the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders in the industry to increase the training of radiographers, ensure equitable distribution of personnel to facilities in the region and also be able to effectively monitor the honouring of service agreement between the Ministry and equipment suppliers.
The Society is reaching out to all radiographers in Ghana to register with it in order to always benefit from the Society’s regular continuous professional development programs. Such will ensure that radiographers stay abreast in knowledge and skills with the rapid developments in the practice of radiography.
The Society has plans to work with sister associations in the sub-region to form a federation to project the aims and interests of the profession of radiography.
The Society desires that all radiographers in Ghana will be able to attain the highest level in the practice in order to be able to offer the best of care available in our practice to the patient. It is our vision that every radiographer will be able to develop himself or herself professionally.
Specific issues bothering the practice of Radiography in Ghana
a. Recognition for Specialized Clinical Post-graduate Qualification
A number of Radiographers in Ghana have had the privilege to pursue post-graduate studies in various imaging specialties in Ghana and abroad. The trainings were at different levels: post-graduate certificate, post-graduate diploma and masters and PhD. About 70% of these were in the field of Medical Ultrasonography. Radiographers started to practice Medical Ultrasonography way back in the mid 1990’s. They excel in this practice and generally in any facility, whether public or private, where the Radiographers have that additional qualification and competence they are recognized and are free to practice. There are also a couple of radiographers with qualification in Clinical Radiography Reporting. These, however, do not have the authorization to practice because the Ministry of Health is yet to recognize such practice. Currently in the district and small hospitals General Radiographers as part of their training assist requesting doctors and general practitioners with identifying pathologies in radiographs. They also assist by advising on the appropriate imaging modality or the most appropriate radiographic examination for the patient. Therefore recognizing and encouraging more radiographers to specialize in Clinical Reporting will make this specialized service more accessible to all categories of clients in every part of the country.
The Ghana Society of Radiographers has declared war on quacks. Some private individuals have set up diagnostic centres and have hired unqualified persons to run them. The GSR is fully collaborating with the regulatory body, the Allied Health Professions Council to weed out these persons from the Allied Health. The Council and has now empowered its Professionals Specific Committee to enable them assist it monitor these practices.
Radiography Education in Ghana
Radiography education in Ghana is a four-year undergraduate programme in the University. The entry requirement is a science-biased course in the Senior High School or its equivalent. The prospective candidate should have good passes with a total aggregate of twenty-four (24) or better at the WASSCE in the following six compulsory subjects: Modern Mathematics, English language, Social Studies, Integrated Science, Physics, Chemistry and either Elective Mathematics or Biology. However, due to the competition the cut-off point for entry since the year 2013 has been between aggregate 10 and 11. Those entering the programme with A-Levels should have at least a C in Physics, Chemistry and either Mathematics or Biology and a pass in General Paper.
Currently two universities offer programmes in Radiography. The School of Biomedical and Allied Health Sciences (SBAHS) of the College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana offers programmes which leads to the award of BSc Diagnostic Radiography and BSc Therapy Radiography. The School of Allied Health Sciences of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology offers a BSc Medical Ultrasonography programme. These two produce an average of thirty (30) radiographers annually. Three other Universities: Cape Coast University, University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ho and the Central University College have far advanced plans to run programmes in the training of radiographers.
Currently it is only the University of Ghana which offers post-graduate programme in Radiography. It runs an MSc in Medical Ultrasonography which is also under review to be expanded into MSc Medical Imaging and MSc Radiation Therapy. Some institutions offer Radiography-related post-graduate courses from which some Radiographers have benefited. This includes the School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences (SNAS) of the University of Ghana which runs a Master of Science programme in Radiation Protection in Health
A number of radiographers have enrolled on post-graduate programme in foreign universities due to the absence of such programs in Ghana. They are on MSc, MPhil and PHD programs mostly with Universities in the United Kingdom and few others South Africa, China and Australia universities.
There are plans to establish Ghana College of Allied Health Professions to offer to promote specialized training in radiography and the like.
Radiographers-Radiologists Relationship in Ghana
The relationship between radiographers and radiologists in Ghana is a very cordial one. We respect each other as two distinct professions but who work together as a team in the imaging and radiation therapy service. Radiologists are involved in the training of radiographers and are often times invited as resource persons to workshops and conferences of radiographers. We participate in each other’s CPDs. In almost all the district and small hospitals Radiographers work alone in the department of radiology but in the bigger hospitals, regional and teaching hospitals the department of radiology has both radiographers and radiologists. Senior Radiographers are also involved in the training of residents in the teaching hospitals. We also relate well in social activities as compatriots.
Leadership of Radiography in Ghana
The Ghana Society of radiographers is the sole professional umbrella of all certified radiographers in Ghana. It has a National Executive Council made up of the National officers, all regional Chairmen, the immediate past President and a Student representative. The Council is the governing body of the Society. The National Executive is headed by the President who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Society. The Executive run the day to day affairs of the Society and has a two-year tenure after which they may be re-elected. The National Congress is the highest legislative body of the Society. Congress is currently held biennially to among other things adopt the decisions of the Council, receive reports and hold elections. There are a number of standing Committees of the Council which address specific interests of the Society.
The President and the Executive represent the Society in various negotiations with stakeholders in the field; in formulation of policies in the Ministry, in the drafting of bills and legislative instruments, in labour negotiations and at deliberations of the Ghana Federation of Allied Health Professions. The Society has a five-member representation led by the Vice-President on the Professional Specific Committee of the Allied Health Professions Council. They represent the interest of radiography on the Council. The National Executive officers also organize CPD programs for members and actively collaborate with the Department of Radiography in the training institutions.
Achievements of the Ghana Society of Radiographers
Among the landmark achievements of the Society is the establishment of the School of Allied Health Sciences of the College of Health Sciences in the University of Ghana in the year 2001 to run undergraduate programmes in Allied Health Sciences with the award of BSc. Members of the Society were very active in the formulation of policies and the drawing up of the curricula. Members were again very active in all the struggles that finally led to the passing of the Health Professions Regulatory Bodies Act, ACT 857 (2013) which brought into being the Allied Health Professions Council. The first Registrar of the Council was the immediate past president of the Ghana Society of Radiographers. The Society has currently drafted the LI to help operationalize the Act.
The Society has been able to create awareness about the science and practice of radiography through public education, continuous professional development programmes and conferences.
The Society has given common identity to radiography practitioners in Ghana
West African College of Radiographers
A West African College of Radiography is long overdue. Health sciences and technology keep advancing and so healthcare delivery is evolving. The science and practice of Radiography is correspondingly advancing fast and evolving. Radiographers therefore need to be equipped to the highest level to meet these challenges; they need to receive specialized training to meet the challenges in the advancing healthcare delivery. There was some preparatory work being done under the auspices of West African Health Organization, WAHO to harmonize the curricula for the training of radiographers. I think that should serve as the launch pad for work to begin towards the establishment of such a College for the sub-region. Such a college will also offer Radiographers the opportunity to progress vertically in their practice.
The Ghana Society of Radiographers is a member of the International Society of Radiographers and Radiologic Technologists (ISRRT).
It is eagerly looking forward to establishing closer ties with sister associations in the sub-region and Africa as a whole.
Planned programmes of the Society in 2016
The planned activities for the year 2016 included Zonal Scientific Workshops for Northern Zone in February and for the Southern Zone in March 2016.
Radiographers in the Volta, Eastern, Greater-Accra, Central and the Western Regions of Ghana fall into the Southern Zone.
The Society of Radiographers will hold its 5th Biennial National Scientific Conference and Congress from the 4th-7th August 2016. Highlights of the Congress will be the adoption of the reviewed Constitution of the Society, election of new officers and Review of the Strategic Plan for the Society for the decade.
Meanwhile in May 2016 there are two workshops. One organized by the School of Biomedical and Allied Health Sciences of the University of Ghana in collaboration with a visiting professor in Medical Imaging and Public Health from the USA. The other is being organized by the Ghana Society for Medical Physics
Radiography is a very rewarding profession. The practitioner gets satisfaction from his interaction with the patient. It is very interesting because it is dynamic and very practical. The future of radiography is very bright. Through advance practice radiographers are going to be relied on more and more.