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Adesina, others rue poor medical diagnosis, canvass PPP


EXPERTS have berated the poor state of medical diagnosis across the federation, even as they have canvassed   for the deployment of public-private partnership (PPP) initiative to curb the trend.  

 In the face of dilapidating health systems, majority of health laboratories in Nigeria have continued to deliver suboptimal. Many of them perform poorly as a result of dilapidated infrastructure, quackery, and poor development and implementation of quality management systems (QMS). 

 These challenges have continued in spite of   the Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation (SLMTA) programme developed some years ago to foster laboratory quality improvement and accelerated the World Health Organisation, Africa Regional Office (WHO AFRO) accreditation process in Nigeria and other African countries.  

  But the experts, who spoke   recently during a Diagnostic Awareness Forum organised   by Initiative for Medical Diagnostic Awareness (IMDA) in Lagos, said a PPP model might make the needed difference in the field of medical diagnosis in Nigeria.  The theme of   the event was Diagnostic Business Forum. 

  Lagos State Special Adviser on Public Health, Dr Yewande Adeshina, stated that the need to find urgent   solution to the challenge   of medical misdiagnosis could not be overemphasised, as when mishandled, “medical diagnosis, which is the identification of the nature and cause an illness, may jeopardise effective healthcare management and delivery.”

 Adeshina, who praised the forum for creating enabling environment   for stakeholders   to discuss challenges confronting medical diagnosis, regretted that  “precise and apposite diagnostic is at low ebb in clinical management and practice   in Nigeria”, adding that  “empirical treatment   seems to    be more embraced than evidence-based medicine.”

 She blamed the phenomenon on lack of public and private sector   coordination, commercial pressures   in the private sector, ill-motivating   work environment and lack of concerted planning.

 Adeshina, who said    that  “the   healthcare sector in Nigeria   is currently on life support,” said    it is time  “ we considered   the private-public partnership (PPP) in health sector” to revive   the sector, and provide quality healthcare Nigerians   deserved.     

 IMDA Executive Director, Abimbola Adekoya, explained that the forum was planned to   assess the major barriers   to the development   of healthcare   delivery   service   in   country. 

 Adekoya listed some of the barriers to include poor funding, inadequate infrastructure, limited access to new technology and poor link   with development   partners, adding,  “no wonder   foreigners have taken over the diagnostic sector   in the name   of    partnership.”

  Managing Director of Union Diagnostic, Dr Olusola Akinniyi, said although medical diagnosis has the capacity to save lives, “healthcare providers in developing countries, like ours, lack basic diagnostic tools    that would have been taken   for granted   in developed   countries.”

 Akinniyi hinged the solution   to the challenges   bedeviling the sector   on collaboration   between donors, industries and the public sector. 

 Akinniyi said: “ In order to   achieve   the best    possible   medical   outcome, advanced diagnostic examinations need   to be applied   to diagnose   the patients’ underlying health problems precisely.   

 “According   to the Registrar of the Medical Laboratory Science Council (MLSC), Prof. Anthony Emeribe, there are over 10,000 medical laboratories in   the country. Unfortunately, most of them operate below global standards. Even worse, only a meagre 3,000 medical laboratory   are said to be in the    council’s national database.”

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