Proqual Diagnostic Imaging, spreading far and wide

By Theresia Tjihenuna
October 2012
Prime Business
Since it swung its doors open to the public four years ago (January 2009), Proqual Diagnostic Imaging has presented a major breakthrough in the much needed services of advanced digital diagnostic imaging in the country.

The opening of the medical centre was not only good news to patients who had previously been put on long waiting lists for diagnostic services but also to physicians who did not have the necessary expertise or radiology equipment to perform in-depth diagnostic imaging. Today, Proqual Diagnostic Imaging continues to advance its spread across the local medical field with its state-of-the-art equipment for diagnostic imaging in Namibia.

At the helm of this great medical venture is lead radiologist of Proqual Diagnostic Imaging, Dr Edward Fynn. He is the one who discovered a niche in the market upon the realisation that there was a shortage of radiology facilities in the country.

“Costs and travelling inconveniences experienced by patients who were miles away from this kind of service prompted me to set-up the practice here at home,” Dr Fynn says.

“Sometimes patients had to wait for at least three months to be examined for specialised diagnostic imaging services after booking an appointment. This usually delayed treatment, which cannot be administered without accurate diagnoses,” he adds.

Some of these people are cancer patients who needed urgent screening to monitor the spread of their illness. The willingness to assist these patients is what drove Dr Fynn to open up a practice that would decrease the waiting periods by patients for screening services, hence help save lives.

Proqual Diagnostic Imaging is committed to giving patients mainstream diagnostic imaging in a friendly, relaxed and warm environment. It offers high quality image diagnoses using advanced X-rays; CT-scans; digital mammography (used to detect breast cancer); ultrasounds - including vascular Doppler - obstetrics; skeletal heart-sonar; bone densities; fluoroscopy examinations.

Many patients are often anxious when they are ill and they sometimes undergo unfamiliar medical examinations that can heighten their state of anxiety. For that reason, Dr Fynn says the medical equipment at his practice are placed in such a way that the patients feel comfortable and relaxed during each exam.

The practice’s CT-scanner is beneficial for claustrophobic patients. This means that patients who suffer from the phobia of confined spaces can relax as the scanner is entered feet-first. In addition, the practice makes use of the latest computer software that enables general practitioners (GPs) and other healthcare practitioners to receive patients’ images and results instantly. Dr Fynn says the practice stands on four pillars of customer-driven care principles: Excellence, integrity, teamwork and professionalism. “Here, we treat patients as customers, not as sick people,” Dr Fynn says.

“We also pride ourselves in assisting patients who struggle financially as part of our social duty. Proqual performs radiology screening on five breast cancer patients free of charge every month as long as they have referral letters from the Cancer Association of Namibia,” he says adding, “We try to accommodate anyone in need but cannot afford the radiology screening. We also give a 10% discount to pensioners. If a patient cannot pay, we still assist provided they have been referred to us by their physician.”

Dr Fynn is assisted by Dr Lungi Mcinga, also qualified radiologist. Dr Mcinga has 11 years’ experience in the radiology field. She worked in New Zealand after obtaining her qualification in South Africa before joining Proqual earlier this year. The practice also has a strong female-dominated team of which seven are radiographers, two are sonographers, seven form the administrative staff while two are supporting staff members.

Sarah Markus is one of the senior radiographers who have been with the practice since its early years.

“We have grown from a staff of nine to 25 in less than four years. It is indeed something to be proud of,” Dr Fynn says proudly.

Apart from the main branch at the Heritage Square, Proqual also owns and operates three other imaging facilities; in Windhoek’s Eros, Rehoboth and Okahandja.

“We are in the process of opening our fourth branch in Rundu in the next two months,” he says adding that the whole idea of expanding Proqual’s services to various parts of the country is to take the services to the doorsteps of the masses so that Namibians can have easy access to radiology facilities.

Looking back at how it all started, Dr Fynn says the practice has come a long way. “When we started off four years ago, we were faced with a major financial challenges as well as finding the right people for the job,” Dr Fynn recalls.

Fortunately, the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) injected N$4.2m to the practice as start-up capital as part of its Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) development. This helped boost the purchase of the practice’s most valuable diagnostic equipment.

Dr Fynn wishes to give back to the community by passing down his skills to the Namibian youth so that the country has an adequate number of practicing radiologists in future.

“If all goes well, we would like to conduct practical training for young Namibians as part of our skills transfer initiative. We are currently involved in teaching medical students at the University of Namibia (Unam) and we hope to do more in this regard,” he says.

Plans are also underway to set up training centers across the country that would be used to train young Namibians in the Radiography field. With a strong and dedicated team on board, Proqual has raised the bar for quality and efficient medical services. PF