95% of Medical Laboratories in Nigeria are Manned by Quacks, Says Erhabor


Charles Onyekamuo in Akwa

About 95 per cent of medical laboratories in many hospitals in the country are manned by unqualified laboratory scientists, the Acting Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), Mr. Tosan Erhabor has disclosed.

Speaking at the 18th Conference/Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Guild of Medical Laboratory Directors of Nigeria (GMLDN), held in Anambra State Capital recently, he said the council was determined to engender confidence in laboratory results, a reason he noted was for seeking the co-operation of GMLDN in its efforts to rid the medical laboratory science profession of quackery and illegal practice.

He described quackery as a canker worm which must be stamped out by concerted efforts of all stakeholders of the profession.

Towards eradicating quackery in the profession, Erhabor said advocacy meetings had been mounted across all the zones in the country, while the councils EQA programme has commenced with the first set of samples from participatory laboratories received and analyzed.

He enjoined those medical laboratories that were yet to key into the scheme to do so, adding that in line to combating quackery, the management and stakeholders completed the protocol for assessment of laboratories as a way of objective assessment geared towards global best practices.

Speaking on the theme of the conference titled: “Medical Laboratory Automation in a challenging Economy”, Erhabor noted that it was apt given the “technical recession” the nation’s economy is experiencing presently saying however that medical laboratory automation which is the use of clinical laboratory instruments to assay large numbers of samples with minimal human intervention.

He said that the major obstacle to the implementation of automation in medical laboratories had been its high cost which has prevented laboratory scientists in a challenged economy like ours to adopt.

He nonetheless advocated the use of simple and low cost automated devices like robotic arms or 3D printers which he said can also perform tasks done by large automations.

“In a challenging economy like ours, bench top automation is recommended. It consists of machines of reduced size compared to large automation units found in resource –rich laboratories. Bench top automation is often flexible and can deal with many different tasks. It is an attractive solution for many laboratories bearing in mind that majority of laboratories in a challenging economy do not need employment of full scale automation”, he said.

Anambra State chairman of GMLDN, Dr. Uche Ngenegbo said the state government has now moved to ensure that all the laboratories in the states hospitals are certified.
Towards this end, government agents he said go to private laboratories to ensure that quality is maintained in terms of equipment and results.

He identified lack of finance by members to formally register with the body, poor patronage, inadequate exhibitions, impostors and the preponderance of quacks as some of the challenges facing the medical laboratory science profession in the state.
“Untrained quacks from outside the profession have invaded it thinking that they can manage and produce results they can’t even read”, he said, adding that his organization has declared war against quackery in the profession.