By Edmund Mingle
The government has acquired new ultra-modern Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan equipment for four regional hospitals to improve safe diagnostic operations as part of measures to improve health care delivery in the country.
The four machines, meant for the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, the Cape Coast, Ho and Tamale Regional hospitals, form part of the first phase a hospital development project to install MRI machines at all regional hospitals.
Currently, installation of the equipment at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and the Tamale Regional Hospital, have reached an advanced stage, while those of the Ho and Cape Coast Regional and have started with the preparatory works.
The present equipment at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, which is said to have elapsed its lifespan and has been characterised by frequent breakdowns, would be replaced with a new one in the second phase.
Ghana becomes the third Africa nation, after South Africa and Egypt to have access to an ultra modern MRI system that would make health diagnosis more effective, efficient, cheaper and safer in the country.
Mohamed Haroun, Area Manager for Toshiba, manufacturers of the MRI machines, arrived in Ghana from the Middle East yesterday to supervise the installation process.
He told reporters on arrival at the airport that the Vantage Titan MRI system procured for the government was the best in the world saying,” it is highly in use in Europe.
The first four machines are expected to be fully operational by March, this year, and according to Mr. Haroun, Ghana could easily become the West African hub for medical diagnosis and treatment since other neighbouring African countries would rely on them for medical services.
“With these machines here, people would not need to travel outside the country for medical examination,” he said.
Each of the machines has the capacity to take care of about 70 patients a day.
As part of the procurement arrangement, medial doctors expected to handle the equipment are being trained to enhance their capacity and to ensure maximum utilisation of the system for the benefit of patients.
Besides, the manufacturers have provided resident engineers to take care of the machines that would be fitted with hi-tech security systems for their protection against misuse and destruction.
He lauded government appreciation of advanced MRI technology, saying not many governments were concerned about what kind MRI systems they procured for their countries.
“The Ghana government was strict on the specifications, and would reject anything less,” he said.
The cost of the four was not immediately available, but Mr. Haroun noted that the benefits Ghana stood to gain from the equipment far outweighed the cost.
He described the equipment as “a complete revolution in MRI system technology,” indicating that it was 100 per cent safer for patients.
“Ghanaians and African deserve safe and efficient health care,” he said, and gave the assurance that the safety and comfort of patients were guaranteed.
The Vantage Titan 1.5T MRI system by Toshiba has been designed with features to improve the patients comfort and increase the range of patients who are able to undergo MR exams. It has been equipped with the Pianissimo technology to dramatically reduce acoustic noise that is a significant cause of discomfort during exams. Patients who are sensitive to contrast agents now have the option available to have a contrast free exam.
The Vantage Titan is a large open bore MRI system that improves patient care with its reduced noise, extended field of view and increased homogeneity.
With the largest and widest open bores available, the system has an open bore that is 18 per cent larger than other 1.5T systems with a 71cm aperture, and offers one of the most powerful MR systems that is available with a 30/130 gradient platform.
This MRI system has a field-of-view size 55 x 55 x 50 cm that is very unique in size which produces high-quality images without compromising homogeneity or overall imaging performance.
Gamel Sinare, Managing Director of Toshiba Ghana, in his remarks, gave the assurance that the machines would be installed on schedule for Ghanaians to derive the desired benefits.
He thanked the government for the cooperation, and pledged the company’s continued commitment to the provision of advanced technology for health care delivery in Ghana.