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MLSCN boss urges medical lab practitioners to embrace quality assurance


Prof Anthony O. Emeribe

Prof Anthony O. Emeribe

Medical laboratory practitioners in the country have been urged to as a matter of urgency to embrace the concept of External Quality Assurance (EQA) in order to improve the quality of service they render to the patients.

Speaking at a Stakeholders Forum involving members of the Guild of Medical Laboratory Directors in Abuja earlier in the week, the Registrar/Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), Prof Anthony O. Emeribe noted that it is only when a laboratory facility can subject its test results to external review that it can be taken seriously.

According to him, adopting the mechanism of EQA, which is at the heart of Quality Management System (QMS) had become imperative in order to upscale the quality of laboratory testing and to help safeguard the lives of patients, whose confidence in the health laboratory system he described as indispensable.

Emeribe expressed regret that some medical laboratories are still not focusing on generating accurate, reliable and reproducible test results, adding that henceforth any facility that relegates best practices to the back burner would incur the wrath of the Council.
“We shouldn’t forget the deadline issued by the Federal Ministry of Health on June 9, for all medical laboratories in both private and public health institutions to begin the process of accreditation within 24 months. The directive is a step in the right direction if we are going to improve the quality of medical diagnosis in the country and stem the rate of medical tourism to other climes. But we cannot rely on facilities that have no confidence in their performances and are unable to subject their test results to unbiased scrutiny outside of its control,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Director of EQA, MLSCN, Mr Tosan Erhabor has also made a case for the participation of all medical laboratory facilities in the country in EQA, noting that it was one of the easiest ways to sanitize the sector, apart from retaining the confidence of service users and getting the facility accredited. Erhabor, while noting that the MLSCN EQA programme had been operational since 2005, also said that it was in 2007 that panel distribution was added to it.

MLSCN has been involved in the local production of some proficiency panels, and the number of participating medical laboratories has increased from 322 in 2007 to 1430 in 2015. Such a record should inspire others to join, as the benefits to both the facility and the patients, who are at the centre of the offering, are enormous,” he said.

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