For medical expert and cross-disciplinary specialist, Dr. Ahmed Omilana, strengthening the medical diagnostics sub-sector with sophisticated laboratory will go a long way to save the Nigerian health industry.
According to the chairman, chief executive officer (CEO), Fitplus Healthcare Ltd., a Lagos-based topline pathology laboratory, a major hurdle stakeholders are struggling to cross in the country’s health sector is the issue of misdiagnosis on the path of medical lab-oratory personnel operating within the hospital environment.
He said: “Due to lack of equipment to carry out accurate laboratory diagnosis, many doctors have been misled into committing errors while administering treatment to some health complications. In the same vein, due to inadequate laboratory reagents to investigate specimens to find the exact cause of illness, inaccurate results have come out of laboratory investigations, and since doctors rely on the outcome of such investigations, a lot of havoc has been committed, some leading to the death of patients.”
Responding to the state of diagnostics laboratory investigations carried out in the country’s health sector as it grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, Omilana explained that people must first understand what laborato¬ry tests are before determining laboratory diagnosis. He noted that for a doctor to effectively treat a patient, the cause of the person’s illness needs to be understood.
“Medical history, physical examination, and where necessary, requesting for laboratory tests can help doctors deduce the cause of an illness. Laboratory tests are valuable tools in deducing definite diagnosis, or a screening tool for detecting hidden disease in asymptomatic patients. It is essential that laboratory tests done are accurate and reliable to ensure that correct diagnosis is made,” he posited.
Talking about the importance of diagnosis in healthcare delivery, the medical expert said laboratory tests serve to support or refute a doctor’s clinical sus-picion. “It helps to ascertain the clinical status of the patient, ensuring it justifies the clinician line of management. It can also assist in identifying individuals that are susceptible to diseases or infections and can help determine if their status warrants clinical intervention.
“If the tests done are inaccurate, the doctor may end up making the wrong diagnosis; mistreat the patient which can result in death. It is imperative that tests are done in a laboratory that guarantees accurate results to avoid this. In the past, people who could afford it would always travel abroad for test but now with Fitplus Healthcare firmly established with latest technology, we can provide the same international standard test, and people do not need to travel out for every single test or health check plan,” he stated.
On what Nigeria could do to improve the health sector, Omilana said he doesn’t believe in putting all blames in all spheres of the economy entirely on the government. “There is a lot that the private sector can achieve. All we require is an enabling environment with sound, stable, enforceable policies. Nigerians are extremely entrepreneurial, creative and capable of achieving a lot. But we need to have a more positive attitude and be prepared to work harder, focusing on long-term gains. Private investors are the engines for economic growth and development, and I believe that the development of the private healthcare sector is the future for healthcare in Nigeria.”
Noting some of the achievements recorded by Fitplus Healthcare since its inception last year, Omilana said the company has made an indelible impact on medical support services in Nigeria, adding that it has raised the standards and introduced the widest range of medical investigations in the country.
“Simply put, at Fitplus Healthcare, we have brought innovations into pathology testing in Nigeria. We also provide precision testing that doctors and patients can trust,” he said.