Patients can now access Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) services at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) following the repair of the MRI machine which broke down some weeks ago.
Computerised Tomography (CT) scan services are still unavailable as the machine is currently undergoing technical servicing.
Activities at the MRI/CT Scan Centre were halted following a nationwide breakdown of MRI and CT scan machines in five major government hospitals in the country.
The machines were installed in 2013 at the Ho Government Hospital, the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, the Tamale Teaching Hospital and the KBTH in Accra.
However, the machines broke down at all the major hospitals, resulting in great discomfort to patrons and medical practitioners at the facilities.
The machines, installed by Toshiba Technologies, reportedly ran out of helium, forcing the authorities of the affected hospitals to close them down as a security measure.
Since then, patients who turned up at the MRI/CT Scan Centre of the KBTH for those services were referred to private medical facilities.
On a visit to the KBTH by the Daily Graphic on Tuesday the paper saw that the MRI machine had been fixed and patients were accessing the service.
As of 9 a.m., some patients were waiting to either consult a specialist or take their results of scans conducted on them.
Efforts made by the paper to speak to the Head of the MRI/CT Scan Department, Dr Yaw Mensah, was not successful because the officer was said to be engaged in official duty outside Accra.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the KBTH, Mr Mustapha Salifu, explained that the breakdown of the MRI machine was due to the shortage of helium from the suppliers.
He explained that the level of the helium on which the machine operated ran to a point “where we were unable to keep it functioning, so the service had to be closed down.”
“We informed the suppliers about it but we were told that they had difficulty in supplying the helium because of the embargo placed by Qatar on other Arab states. Subsequently, they were able to deliver some helium to the hospital two weeks ago so we started operating the MRI service last week,” he added.
Mr Mustapha noted, “The period of the breakdown of the machine did not only pose a challenge to patients and their relatives but health professionals as well, because they rely on information they get from the results of the MRI services to plan.”
He further said the technicians were working on the CT scan machines to ensure that the service was made available to patients as early as possible.
Efforts made by the Daily Graphic to find out more about when the CT scan would be operational from the Biomedical Engineering Department of the hospital were not successful because the head of that unit was not available to speak to the issue.
Meanwhile, there are ongoing investigations by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to unravel the mystery behind the breakdown of the MRI machines across the country.
Source: Graphic Online