Okey Sampson, Umuahia
The Guild of Medical Laboratory Directors of Nigeria (GMLD), a body of private laboratory proprietors, has elected Prince Elochukwu Adibo as its new president. This comes as the Guild has pleaded with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to review its operations and include her members in the system.
In an election the Guild conducted in Aba, Abia State, at the weekend, Adibo, from Enugu State, emerged president, while Samuel Oludare Fele and Ononuju Ikechukwu Godswill were elected secretary and publicity secretary, respectively, among other elected officials.
In her address during the opening of the 22nd Annual General Meeting of the body that preceded the election, the former president of the Guild, Mrs Chioma Austin-Onuorah, pleaded with the NHIS to review its operations and include her members in the system.
Austin-Onuorah said in tandem with the theme of the conference which was “Persistent sickle cell disease in Africa – role of the private medical laboratories in its mitigation and possible eradication”, the Guild remains committed in promoting accessible and timely laboratory services to maintain treatable data for necessary health interventions.
While regretting that the capacity under-utilization of private laboratories in Nigeria has discouraged investors and brought about underdevelopment of the sector, the former GMLD president commended the Federal Government for her efforts in strengthening the health sector after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chairman of GMLD National Conference 2020, Dr Protase Iwuaba, said the theme of this year’s conference was chosen because of the menace of the sickle cell disease and its complications on the affected patients.
Iwuaba mentioned that about 80-90 per cent of sickle cell disease in the world is in Africa and lamented that despite all public enlightenment to educate people on the dangers of sickle cell disease, it continued to threaten a lot of families on the continent.
‘It is also on record that over 300,000 to 400,000 babies born in the world every year loose their lives as a result of sickle cell disease,’ Dr Protase said.
He thanked the wife of Abia State Governor, Mrs Nkechi Ikpeazu, for her role in bringing relieve to so many sickle cell disease patients through her Vicar Hope Foundation and promised that GMLD will complement her efforts in creating more awareness on the need to conduct genotype screening on would be couples before marriage.
The Keynote Speaker, Prof Lawrence Chigbu, Rector, Abia State College of Health Science and Management Technology, described the theme of the conference as very apt for the moment.
He said only biologists and laboratory professionals had the capacity to curb the disease and urged them to be professional in their job to check its prevalence.
Abia State Chairman, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Dr Okezie Okamgba, said the choice of Abia for the event was no mistake, adding that Abia had a record of having the highest number of Science Laboratory practitioners in private practice in the country.
He said the conference came at the right time when the world was yearning for partnership between private and public sector operators to facilitate diagnosis for COVID-19.