From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
The Chairman, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, Anambra State branch, Anahalu Ikenna, has attributed the escalation of quack practitioners to insecurity in the state.
Ikenna said quack laboratory scientists in Anambra had taken the advantage that it would be difficult for the association to use police to monitor their activities and had to continue their illegal operations.
He explained that on the assumption of office in 2021, one of the cardinal objectives of his administration was to fight quackery in the medical laboratory science profession in the state to a standstill.
“You know one of the particular elements of fighting quacks is security. We are having challenges mobilising policemen to go and deal with those quacks because of the security situation. You can’t just walk into somebody’s office without government security agents. This issue makes the quacks to escalate,” he noted.
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He gave a firm promise that his administration would not relent in its effort to sanitize the system, despite the odds.
He named the high cost of medical laboratory consumables as another challenge the association is grappling with.
Ikenna explained that those consumables were imported materials whose prices he said got skyrocketed because of a corresponding high foreign exchange rate. He noted that patients as a result of the high exchange rate had been bearing the brunt, a situation he said made the association uncomfortable.
Other challenges of his administration, according to him, are securing a permanent site for the association’s office in the state. He said the association had already approached the state government to make land available for its office accommodation in order to vacate a rented office the association is currently using.
On the issue of taxation, he said his association had resisted double taxation paid to the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Commerce and Industries. He declared that taxation by the members had to stop at the Ministry of Health where the members registered.
Ikenna further explained that what his members were rendering were social services rather than business ventures as such. He said they should, therefore, be excused of anything that would inhibit their smooth operations.
On the recent outbreak of monkeypox epidemics in Nigeria, Ikenna said since the virus was Indigenous to the animal kingdom, people should be cautious about contact with such animals as monkeys, rats, squirrels and the likes.
He advised that even if such animals could be used as meat, they had to be thoroughly cooked, avoiding fluids or blood contacts from them to be on the safe side.
He also mentioned education and sensitization as among the measures to combat the deadly disease.
He expressed the need to have vaccination as a preventative measure. He recommended that people should go for diagnosis, if there were signs of ill health to embark on early treatment of whatever it might be. He assured that there were drugs for the virus, adding that people should not panic.
He noted that those patients who tried to avoid medical laboratory tests when they were sick in order to cut costs ended up spending more money as their treatment would be based on guesswork until they had the needed diagnosis to specifically treat the disease.
“Without a diagnosis, there will be no health. If you don’t know what is wrong with someone, you can’t know what to treat. Any treatment given at that level will be based on guesswork.
“Someone may be having monkeypox, for example, and you may be treating syphilis because sometimes they mimic themselves, they have the same nature.
“So, there must be proper diagnosis to know the actual problem. Medical laboratory science test is very paramount in every healthcare delivery system,” he said.