The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) has raised an alarm over what it called an “organised quackery in public health institutions,” particularly at the nation’s teaching hospitals and Federal Medical Centres, saying the practice is putting the health of Nigerians at grave danger through wrong “diagnoses.”
The association accused pathologists who it claimed, have abandoned their primary duties of attending to patients as physicians and now jostle as merchants of reagents, chemicals, diagnostics as well as performing medical laboratory testing which are outside their “integral training, licensure and scheme of service.”
Addressing reporters at the AMLSN 199th National Executive meeting in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, on Saturday, the National Publicity Secretary of the body, Dr. Casmir Ifeanyi, cited Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital(OOUTH), Sagamu and Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, Kaduna, as two examples of public health institutions where the “organised quackery” is rife.
Ifeanyi also specifically cited the University of Calabar (UCTH) where between July 5 and July 9, this year, the association observed a “despicable incidence of doctors taking the laws into their hands, hijacked patients’ specimen and stopped medical laboratory scientists from performing their duties, took over the laboratory and were churning out fake and wrong results from unprocessed samples.”
He called for an end to the menace, saying it is “doing damage to patient care, patient safety and quality service,” stressing further that the practice, amounts to “guided quackery” in public institutions.
The National Publicity Secretary of AMLSN also disclosed that the body had secured 16 court judgments – all executory and declaratory, to the effects that it is “illegal, criminals and quackery” for the erring health institutions to use hands other than medical laboratory scientists to perform laboratory testing and diagnostics in hospitals.
He accused the Chief Medical Directors (CMDs), Medical Directors(MDs) and the authorities of the Federal Ministry of health of turning blind eye to the menace, alleging that “they seemed to be in tacit complicity with the ploy to destroy the medical laboratory service.”
Ifeanyi warned that the practice would deliver profound destruction to the nation’s health system, saying it is an “aberration.”
According to him, “the lives of patients and Nigerians are now in jeopardy.”
Ifeanyi also said the association observed with dismay the clamour by the Science Laboratory Technologists(SLT) to work in medical laboratories, warning that SLT are not part of the human resources for healthcare as they lack medical education, training and not licensed to provide medical laboratory services.
He said the association is aware that doctors are conniving with SLT to use them as alternative for the practice of medical laboratory science in the country, adding that trend remains another classic case of “quackery.”
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