Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Former Military Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, has identified quackery as major threat to stability and credibility of medical laboratory science practice in Nigeria.
He was saddened that activities of quacks and unregistered “medical laboratory scientists” have eroded the public trust and confidence on the profession, thus forcing them to adopt the option of self help.
Gowon who spoke in Abuja at an event to mark the 50th anniversary of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), congratulated the Council for its five decades accomplishments in the medical service in Nigeria.
He challenged the leadership of Council to strengthen its systems so it could easily identify and punish people who fall short of minimum standard set aside by the Council.
He said: “It’s disturbing that with degree programmes in laboratory science in 25 universities, over 30, 000 medical lab scientists, 23.000 lab technicians and over 15,000 assistants, there still growing incidences of quackery in the profession.
“Regrettably, it has been promoted by unqualified persons and a handful of qualified practitioners. Nigeria may not have met the ratio of medical laboratory scientists to the general population, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), but there is no argument that great progress has been made.
“However, it’s time to step up policing and regulation activities to stamp out the activities of unregistered and quacks to minimize compromise in the quality of healthcare delivery in Nigeria.”
The Acting Registrar of the Council, Tosan Erahbor, in his welcome remarks, recalled with nostalgia, the journey of medical laboratory science profession, which, he said, has succeeded in strengthening the medical services in Nigeria.
He was unhappy that many Nigerians are still unaware of the responsibilities of the medical laboratory scientists. “They believe that medical services start and end with medical doctors, consultants and nurses. That is misconception that need urgent correction.”
In his keynote address, Prof. Dennis Agbonlahor, stressed the need for synergy, and end to inter-professional bickering and other unethical practices that had weaken the quality of medical services in Nigeria.
He advised the management to control its approval rate of new training schools for medical laboratory technician and medical laboratory assistants and suggested that MLSCN and the National Universities Commission (NUC) re-examine the carrying capacities of various universities currently running its programme to ensure very strict adherence to approved quota.