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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 37-40

Radiation protection and dose awareness among doctors in a Nigerian Teaching Hospital: A preliminary study

1 Department of Radiology, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, ILE-IFE, Nigeria
2 Department of Community Health, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, ILE-IFE, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Olusola C Famurewa
Department of Radiology, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, ILE-IFE
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DOI: 10.4103/1115-1474.117908

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Background: Medical imaging using ionizing radiation is an essential tool for diagnosis. Ionizing radiation has adverse biological effects on living organisms and the risk of adverse effects increases with higher doses of radiation. It is the duty of the requesting doctor to balance the risks and benefits of imaging tests involving the use of ionizing radiation. However, previous studies reveal that doctors' knowledge regarding the radiation doses incurred during diagnostic radiological procedure is inadequate. Aims: To assess doctors' knowledge about the guiding principle of radiation protection (As Low as Reasonably Possible (ALARA)) and their knowledge of the radiation doses their patients receive during some common radiological procedures. Materials and Methods: We adapted the questionnaire used in a previous study and circulated it among 120 doctors from different specialties and cadres. There were questions about cadre, years in medical practice, specialty, and attendance at any training on radiation protection. We asked about nonmedical sources of radiation, the full meaning of ALARA, and the effective doses of ionizing radiation that patients receive during common radiological investigations proportional to chest X-ray. Responses were scored out of a total of 10 marks. Results: One hundred and twenty doctors participated in the study; 27 radiologists and 93 nonradiologists. The total scores ranged from 1 to 7 marks (mean score=3.38, median score=3.0). Overall, the doctor's total scores were significantly affected by their specialty and exposure to previous training on radiation protection, with P=0.001 and P=0.001, respectively. Scores were not significantly affected by number of years post qualification. Conclusion: Level of awareness about the basic principle of radiation protection and patients' exposure is poor among our study population

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