The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Oshodi/Isolo Chapter, has decried the rise in the cost of medical diagnosis within the country. The laboratory scientists also appealed to the federal government for support against Nigeria’s harsh economic climes.
The lab scientists made the call during its two-day scientific Continuing Professional Development (CPD)/workshop to encourage members.
The workshop theme, which took place on June 23 and 24, 2022, at Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos, was “Quality Medical Laboratory Practice in a Recessed Economy.”
While speaking to The Guardian reporters, a fertility lab scientist Wojuade Kehinde said he imports 90 percent of his equipment, and while the import cost has increased, he cannot raise his rates overnight.
He also said several other medical laboratory scientists have aspirations to venture into developing this equipment themselves but have received no support from the government.
“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 Nigeria’s dwindling economy is affecting the industry. However, they have been unable to charge higher even though the prices of some of the reagents and disposables they use in the lab have since gone up.
“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 said, “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.”
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 that numerous government taxes is further frustrating members of the association.
“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 also added that the country’s health budget is too low, a sign that the government does not prioritise healthcare, “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.”
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