BACKGROUND: Nuclear medicine needs better integration into the Nigerian health system. To understand the relevant public health initiatives that will be required, this study
assessed the pattern of nuclear medicine imaging services at the first nuclear medicine
centre in Nigeria from January 2010 to December 2018.
METHODS: The data of consecutive nuclear medicine (NM) scans performed between 1st
January 2010 and 31st December 2018 at the NM department in a tertiary hospital in
Nigeria were extracted from patient records and analysed using SAS version 9.4 (SAS
Institute, Cary, NC). The National Cancer Institute’s Joinpoint software and QCIS (QGIS
project) were used to estimate imaging trends and geographical spread of patients.
RESULTS: An average of 486 scans per year was performed during the study period.
Patients travelled from 32 of Nigeria’s 36 states, and the majority (65%) travelled more
than 100 km to obtain NM scans. Bone scans accounted for 88.1% of the studies. The
remainder were renal scintigraphy (7.3%), thyroid scans (2.5%), whole-body iodine scans
(1.7%) and others (0.4%).
CONCLUSIONS: NM in Nigeria appears underutilised. Furthermore, the studies to characterise the access gaps and implementation needs will contribute to the design of practical
strategies to strengthen NM services in Nigeria.