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Lab scientists decry rise in cost of medical diagnosis

By Ijeoma Nwanosike
07 July 2022   |   4:03 am
The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Oshodi/Isolo Chapter, has decried rise in the cost of medical diagnosis even as they urged the Federal Government to improve funding for laboratory scientists.

•AMLSN urges govt to improve funding for laboratory scientists, research
The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Oshodi/Isolo Chapter, has decried rise in the cost of medical diagnosis even as they urged the Federal Government to improve funding for laboratory scientists.
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The laboratory scientists made the call at a two-day scientific Continuing Professional Development (CPD)/workshop to educate, encourage and support its members to maintain quality medical lab practices regardless of the current state of the economy.

The theme of the workshop, which took place on June the 23 and 24, 2022 at Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos, was “Quality Medical Laboratory Practice in a Recessed Economy.”

A fertility laboratory scientist, Wojuade Kehinde, told The Guardian that he imports up to 90 per cent of the materials he uses for fertility diagnosis and that it would be difficult to change the price of his services overnight.

Wojuade said there are lots of intelligent medical laboratory scientists who would love to go into manufacturing but are yet to do so due to lack of funding. He, therefore, called on the government for support. “Government should empower Med Lab Scientists in Nigeria so that we can be able to produce/manufacture all these lab materials we import,” Kehinde said.

Chairman of Oshodi/Isolo Chapter, AMLSN, Mark Doris Chinelo Callistus, said that the impact of the economy is undoubtedly hitting everyone and for the laboratory scientists, it has been difficult from the hikes in prices of the reagents and disposables they use in the lab. “The essence of this programme today is to encourage every medical laboratory practitioner in Lagos state and the nation at large to maintain quality in what they are doing and also not to cut down in quality because it save lives,” she said.

Secretary General of the Guild of Medical Laboratory Directors in Lagos State, Dr. Leo Aniako who said that, “The average man can barely feed himself three times a day not to talk of paying for medical diagnosis when sick, stated that and he ends up going to herbal homes to drink concoctions that its quality and efficacy cannot be guaranteed adding that all these boils down to the state of the nation.”

Aniako said the association in partnership with different banks helps its members acquire loans from such banks to get equipment they need and gradually pay back with interests to the bank depending on the payment options provided for such member.

Zonal Head of Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), Ofutalu Paulinus Nnamdi, said, “As a regulatory body, our duty is to ensure that quality is maintained in the laboratory but the economy has affected us as well because while we are trying to implement the global quality standard requirement of medical laboratory practitioners, the global melt down have also affected our people and often times they complain of lack of funds to acquire the necessary quality control equipment needed to be imputed into the system.”

The Secretary of the chapter, Okamkpa Uchenna, said government interference and taxes are also huge challenges to their practice. He said, “Different government agencies like the local government, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA) and other agencies tax us the same way they tax people in other businesses, which government could intervene by giving certain tax cuts to help those in health care because most patients cannot afford health care.”

Uchenna said the country’s health funding is very poor. He said, “The budget that goes to healthcare in the country every year has been reducing since the year 2000. This means that we do not care about our health and if we have an unhealthy nation. We are in big trouble, therefore, we need government to do more by increasing funds to healthcare.”

At the event centre, there were medical exhibitions of materials like reagents and medical equipment of different sizes and functions used in the laboratory, which were presented by members who deal on such materials for sale at flexible payment plan.