Medical Laboratory Scientists Protest Employment Embargo on Members

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Okon Bassey in Uyo

The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) has decried what it described as tacit embargo on employment of medical laboratory scientists in most federal medical centres, teaching hospitals and general hospital across the country.

The National Publicity Secretary of AMLSN, Dr. Cosmir Ifeanyi, made the protest known at a press conference to end the 13th Public Health Lecture Series and 198th National Executive Council Meeting of AMLSN held in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, at the weekend.

The association argued that the challenge with recruitment of medical laboratory scientists across the country was a national disservice which portends disaster to the Nigerian health system.

Blaming this on the politicisation of the health care system in the country by Nigerian doctors, the body noted that not even a single medical laboratory scientist had been recruited in the numerous centres in the last 10 to 15 years.

Accordingly, the association called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct for the replacement of retired and dead medical laboratory scientists and the immediate employment of medical laboratory scientists in all federal tertiary health institution to bridge the manpower deficit.

 “In most tertiary hospitals, the medical laboratory scientist-doctor-patient ratio has become so distorted such that professionals are frequently overwhelmed by work load, and that can of course occasion misdiagnosis and poor quality care service delivery.

“We note with displeasure the surreptitious employment of quacks in federal tertiary health institutions in Nigeria and the reckless manner in which persons with qualification in industrial chemistry, zoology and related biological sciences are now being employed and deployed to provide medical laboratory testing.

“This violates not only the laws of the federation, but endangers the ignorant, uninformed health seeking members of the public,” AMLSN stressed.

It equally complained that in over 20, 000 primary health care centres in Nigeria, medical laboratory service components hardly exist in the centres across the 36 states, barring the Abuja Municipal Council Area of the FCT, where only few exist.

According to the group, “Why healthcare seeking members of the public are denied access to medical laboratory testing which is not unconnected to the deliberate efforts to deemphasize evidence-based-care.

“We therefore call on the Executive Secretary National Primary Health Care Development Agency and the committee reviewing the minimum  health package to rethink and incorporate medical laboratory services in all the PHCs and the minimum health package.”

The body lauded the National Assembly for passing the National Postgraduate College of Medical laboratory Science bill, and expressed the hope that President Buhari will give assent to the bill as part of his commitment to meeting up with the need for the development of advanced skillsets and capacity building in the medical laboratory service delivery across the country.

The association further called on the president to eliminate the bias in the appointment of health ministers by at least giving consideration to appointing other members of the healthcare profession in his second term.