A review of MRI studies in Africa with special focus on quantitative MRI: Historical development, current status and the role of medical physicists

Published:October 08, 2022DOI:


      • The study analyzes MRI availability in 32 (59%) of the 54 African countries.
      • MR systems in 4 northern countries make up 53% of all MR systems available in the 32 studied African countries.
      • Less than a third of the surveyed African countries have 1 MR system for less than a million population.
      • The 32 studied African countries altogether have average of 1 MRI system per million population.
      • Published literature on brain examinations dominate quantitative MRI published studies in Africa in the last 5 years.


      This scoping review provides overview on the historical and major developments, current status, quantitative magnetic resonance (MR) studies and the role of medical physics bodies in MR imaging in Africa. The study analyzed MRI availability in 32 (59 %) of the 54 African countries. South Africa and Egypt have the most dominant MR systems. Number of MR systems in the 4 northern countries (Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Libya) alone constitute 53 % of the total number of machines in the studied countries. Less than one-third of the countries have 1 MR system serving less than a million population. Libya recorded the most MR systems per million population. The studied countries altogether have an average of 1 machine per million population. The private sector far dominates number of installed MR systems across the region, making up two-thirds of the distribution. A major challenge was revealed where less than 3 % of Medical Physicists in the studied countries are engaged in MRI facilities. Review of MRI published studies in the last 5 years indicates dominance of literature on brain studies and most of such published works coming from Nigeria. Only 7 out of 27 published studies reviewed were quantitative. The African region has no dedicated MRI physics societies; however, the regional medical physics body and national associations have big roles to play in developing MRI through education, research, training and leveraging on awareness creation. This review is the first of such wide scale study on MRI availability and quantitative studies in the African region.


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