Opportunities and Challenges of Mobile Radiography Services in Zambia

Document Type : Mini Review


1 Midlands University Hospital Tullamore, Radiology Department, Ireland

2 Cancer Diseases Hospital, Radiotherapy Department, Lusaka, Zambia

3 Lusaka Apex Medical University and Cancer Diseases Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia

4 Chipata Central Hospital, Department of Radiology, Chipata Zambia

5 Arthur Davison Children’s Hospital, Radiology Department, Ndola, Zambia

6 Warwick Hospital, Radiology Department, Warwick, UK



 Mobile radiography is requested and performed using a mobile X-ray machine when a patient’s condition makes the transfer to the radiology department unsafe. In the Zambian healthcare system, these patients are admitted to special care units, such as intensive care units (ICU), resuscitation units of the accident and emergency (A& E) departments, COVID-19 isolation wards, and special care baby units (SCBU). These are critically ill patients who require constant monitoring and nursing care. Moving these patients to radiology departments for medical imaging due to non-availability of or non-functional mobile X-ray machines can negatively affect their condition, treatment, and nursing care. Chest X-rays are the most performed radiological examinations during mobile radiography. However, radiographers face challenges in providing mobile radiography services to critically ill patients due to limited space, life-support equipment attached to patients, infection control measures, limitations of mobile Xray machines, and radiation protection. The biggest opportunity identified during this review is the increased demand of patients requiring mobile radiography services. However, an insufficient number of mobile X-ray machines, lack of equipment and maintenance, inadequate radiation protection devices, and a critical shortage of radiologists to report on portable X-rays were the main challenges identified affecting mobile radiography services. Recommendations are made to improve the delivery of mobile radiography services in Zambia.