COMMUNIQUE ISSUED DURING THE 51st ANNUAL SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE OF THE ASSOCIATION OF MEDICAL LABORATORY SCIENTISTS OF NIGERIA (AMLSN) LAGOS STATE BRANCH HELD AT THE PAVILION, NATIONAL ORTHOPAEDIC HOSPITAL IGBOBI, LAGOS BETWEEN 10TH AND 15TH JULY , 2016.
The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) LAGOS STATE BRANCH held her 51stAnnual Conference at the Pavilion, National Orthopaedic Hospital between 10th and 15th July, 2016.
The Conference started with thanksgiving service at the headquarters of Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministry (MFM), Onike, Yaba, Lagos.
The Conference theme was “Spread of Infectious Diseases in an Increasing Population; Effects and the Way Forward”. The conference was chaired by Mr Manason Rubainu (Former National President of the Association). The Conference keynote address was delivered by the world renowned Professor of Virology, Professor Sunday Aremu Omilabu. The Conference noted with concern the re-emergence of infectious diseases occasioned by crises in some parts of Nigeria, especially, the North East, and the effects on the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and the populace.
The Conference commended the Federal Government of Nigeria for the steps taken so far to reposition the health sector in Nigeria for greater efficiency in line with the change agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR).
The Conference highlighted the factors responsible for RE-EMERGING COMMUNICABLE DISEASES IN AN EMERGING POPULATION which includes; Poor hygiene and Sanitation, overcrowding, Sharing Personal items such as equipment used for tattooing, piercing, needles for injection drug use, exercise equipment, sewage disposal materials, poverty, ignorance and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as potential source of re-emergence /epidemic of communicable diseases in the country.
The conference recommends Adequate Surveillance and Response, provision of Drug and Vaccines at affordable costs, Infrastructure, Prevention and Control Measures, Improved socio-economic conditions that support provision of required amenities will go a long way in preventing infectious diseases and their re-emergence.
The conference call on Federal Government to equip Central Public Health Laboratory in Yaba, Lagos with the state of the art diagnostic equipment to serve as referral Centre for diagnosis of infectious diseases while zonal centers should be opened at the six geopolitical zones.
The Conference call on Government at all levels to improve Public Health Laboratories with equipment that rapidly detect, diagnose and simplify the identification of putative reservoir hosts. We call on Government at all levels to improve the capacity of Public Health Laboratories for diagnosis and epidemiological surveillance of infectious diseases. We also call on Federal Government to perform comprehensive screening programs for (IDPs) in the camp because they could serve as a source of re-emergence of communicable diseases in the country. Creation of health awareness campaigns, free distribution of condoms and provision of adequate sanitary facilities to the IDPs by the Government.
The arms against emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases indeed call for all hands to be on deck, with a multi-disciplinary approach.
The conference commended the Lagos State Government for prioritizing the health sector in her delivery of dividends of democracy.
STATE OF LABORATORIES IN HEALTH INSTITUTIONS IN LAGOS
The Conference commended the managements of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital (NPH), Federal Medical Centre (FMC) and National Orthopaedic Hospital (NOH) for implementation of the approved Enhanced Entry Point for Medical Laboratory Scientists working in their institutions.
The Conference commended the managements of LUTH, NOH, NPH and Lagos State Government for their continual efforts to improve medical laboratory services. We hereby call on the Managements to key into the program of accreditation of all medical laboratories in the country in line with global best practices to raise the standard of medical laboratory processes and procedures for more effective and efficient health services delivery in the country. The Conference urged all stakeholders to have all the medical laboratories attain at least 3 star rating, a minimum benchmark for now, giving our peculiar challenges.
The conference also calls on the concerned Medical Directors on the issue of WRONG DESIGNATIONS OF MEDICAL LABORATORY SCIENTISTS AS TECHNOLOGISTS. Conference in session noted with dismay the wrong designation of some qualified Medical Laboratory Scientists as Technologists in Lagos State Civil Service, a designation that had been outlawed by the Act of Parliament of Federal Republic of Nigeria (MLSCN ACT 11, 2003). This had created confusion to the patients, establishment and general public on the person and duty of the Medical Laboratory Science Professionals. The Conference is strongly against this aberration and as well displeased with stepping down some of our colleagues through a process termed conversion before promotion to the Directorate Cadre; this policy is strange to any civil service policy and rules. We hereby appeal to the seasoned civil servant Governor of Lagos State, Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode to direct the stoppage of the so called conversion policy.
ESTABLISHMENT OF DEPARTMENT OF MEDICAL LABORATORY SERVICES: Conference noted with dissatisfaction the inability of some notable hospitals in the State; LUTH, Health Service Commission (HSC) as well as Lagos State Ministry of Health (MOH) not having the Department of Medical Laboratory Services. This denial is also applicable in the Primary Health Care Board (PHCB). The Conference affirmed that establishing a Department of Medical Laboratory Services is beyond having a director portfolio for the most senior Medical Laboratory Scientist in service but instituting a system to have him function effectively in co-ordination of Medical Laboratory Services. We hereby call on the managements of LUTH, HSC and MOH Lagos State to establish a Department of Medical Laboratory Service, like in Pharmacy and Nursing. We also want to appeal for inclusion of Medical Laboratory Scientists on the board of HSC, LUTH, LASUTH, NPH, NOH and FMC. We want to affirmed that the professional relationships between Medical Laboratory Scientists and Pathologists are complimentary and not supervisory. The two professions are distinct and separate.
PLIGHT OF PRIVATE MEDICAL LABORATORY PRACTITIONERS: The Conference noted with dismay the multiple taxation of our members who operate private medical laboratories are being subjected to in their Practise. The services they rendered are humanitarian and should enjoy some level of tax rebate. The multiple tax regime is already sniffling operation of many Medical Laboratories making the service more expensive and some laying off their staff thereby increasing the burden of unemployment in the Country.
The Conference appealed to Lagos State Government to consider downward review of tax, fee for registration of premises, renewal of registration, fee for provision of neon sign boards and waste disposal materials at minimal cost.
We also appeal to Lagos State Government to include private practitioners in their monitoring activities. We call on Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA) to be more professional in their monitoring activities. Monitoring and inspection of facilities should be corrective and not always punitive. Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) has the legal responsibilities of accreditation of medical laboratories and we implore the agency to take a template from the Council. HEFAMAA should limit their role to monitoring and ensuring strict adherence to standards.
We are aware of the passage of Lagos State Health Insurance bill to act. It is important that AMLSN is represented on the board. We also advise that accredited laboratories should be made primary providers.
EMPLOYMENT OF MORE MEDICAL LABORATORY SCIENTISTS: The Conference after critical appraisal of submission from various chapters of the Association in Lagos State branch, discovered gross inadequacy of Medical Laboratory Scientists in Government facilities resulting in work overload of few available personnel. We hereby call for employment of more Medical Laboratory Scientists in Lagos state Health Service Commission, Primary Health Care Centres and Federal Health Institutions in the State.
EMPLOYMENT OF INTERNS: The Conference after listening to the presentation of Young Medical Laboratory Scientists discovered an urgent need for the Federal and State Governments Health Institutions in the Lagos State to employ more Interns.
The current numbers of interns employed in government facilities is grossly inadequate for the training of Interns more so that University of Lagos also graduates Medical Laboratory Scientists. We appeal to all accredited Health Institutions in the State to employ more Intern Medical Laboratory Scientists.
FUNDING OF MEDICAL LABORATORY SERVICES: The Conference in plenary took a holistic look into alternate funding of Medical Laboratory Services with a view of making the Service more qualitative, available and accessible to common man in line with Universal Health Coverage. The Conference advises all Health Institutions to embrace Laboratory Revolving Fund (LRF). The Conference condemned in strong terms inappropriate implementation of PPP policy of Government in some health institutions in Lagos State with its attendant high prices of running tests in such PPP laboratories thus denying the poor masses access to laboratory services.
GRUESOME KILLING OF MRS OLUFUNKE OMOTUYI: The conference commended the Nigerian Police for the effort made so far in unveiling the killers of Mrs Olufunke Folashade Omotuyi (former Acting Registrar, MLSCN) who was gruesomely killed in her APO residence in Abuja on Wednesday June 8, 2016. The Conference called on the new Ag. Inspector General of Police to deploy all efforts that will unravel her killer(s) and bring culprit(s) to book.
IMPLEMENTATION OF COURT JUDGEMENTS: The Conference in session made it abundantly clear that the issue of headship of medical laboratories has been dispensed with in favour of the medical laboratory science profession in National Industrial Courts of Nigeria (NICN) eg in the cases of AMLSN/NUAHP (formerly NUPMTPAM) vs Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital management and others, AMLSN vs Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) Management and others, and AMLSN vs FMC Asaba Management and others. The Conference further warned all Chief Executives Officers of health facilities that Medical Laboratory Scientists would not take anything less than the full implementation of the various NICN judgements which are all in favour of our members.
NEED TO CALL MINISTER OF HEALTH TO ORDER: From various utterances of the Hon. Minister of Health, it is obvious that Minister is not performing as Minister of Health but as ‘Minister of Physicians’. The obviously biased recent assertion by the Minister of the Minister that Pathologists must head Medical Laboratory as against many court judgements is a recipe for unrest in the Medical Laboratory Services and it is also at variance with the stance of President Muhammadu Buhari principle of abiding by the rule of law. For the avoidance of doubt, Medical Laboratories in Teaching Hospitals are Service Laboratories, like Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Records, etc and not side departmental Laboratories as being erroneously implied by the Honourable Minister.
CONSTITUTION OF MLSCN BOARD: The Conference calls on Federal Government to urgently constitute the board of MLSCN to enable the agency perform her statutory roles. The Conference affirmed that board of professional regulatory agencies are not supposed to be dissolved like boards of other agencies.
INSPECTION OF MEDICAL LABORATORIES: The conference reviewed the directive from Minster of Health- Prof Isaac Adewole stopping the laboratory inspection activities of MLSCN, and view that directive as being callous and inhumane. Laboratory inspection are meant to stop quackery In the practise and the conference wondered why the statutory activities of a government agency should be halted through such directive by the Hon Minister of Health. Conference appealed to the Minister of Health-Prof Isaac Adewole, to lift his embargo placed on the inspection activities of MLSCN in the interest of Quality Laboratory Services to the Citizens of Nigeria.
The Association appreciates the Medical Director of National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Dr. O. O. Odunubi for his support which ultimately led to the success of the Conference. We also appreciate all our resource persons, advertisers and sponsors.
We are indeed grateful to our Patron Dr. Daniel. K Olukoya for his continuous supports and fervent prayers for our profession and the Association.
To God be the Glory!
Abiodun A. Hamzat Seyi Odeyemi Olumide Oluyinka Fadipe
Branch chairman Branch Secretary Branch PRO