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45,000 medical laboratory scientists in Nig.

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By Mercy Kelani

MLCN would be welcoming 317 laboratory scientists trained abroad.

In Nigeria’s healthcare industry, there are over 45,000 highly skilled medical laboratory scientists contributing to the sector. Dr. Tosan Erhabor, the Registrar of the Medical Laboratory Council of Nigeria (MLCN), recently shared the statistic during a meeting with the leadership of the Association of Nigerian Health Journalists in Abuja. The council also announced that they would be welcoming 317 laboratory scientists trained abroad, all of whom successfully passed a validation exam that was recently administered.

Erhabor announced that there is a large pool of over 45,000 skilled medical laboratory scientists currently available in the country, providing valuable insight into personnel and skill availability in the science laboratory sector. On the other hand, he mentioned that a number of medical laboratory professionals are choosing to work overseas because they are unable to find employment opportunities locally, in the country. Erhabor made an allegation against hospital administrators, particularly in state-owned facilities in the nation.

Majority of them are not actively practicing their profession in Nigeria.

The Registrar stated that they have been uncooperative in hiring competent laboratory scientists and instead opt for lower-quality staff. His claim is that there are over 45,000 competent medical laboratory scientists at the moment, but the majority of them are not actively practicing their profession within the country. With the Japa syndrome in place, where else can these individuals find employment if administrators continue to hire workers who are not up to standard for running their establishments?

Each day, emphasis is led on the risks of quackery through statements that go disregarded. There is an ample number of staff available to oversee these facilities and achieve the desired outcomes, but only if they are utilized effectively. Mentioning the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, he stated that MLCN is in the process of carrying out a quality assurance certification for all laboratory test facilities nationwide in order to guarantee compliance with necessary standards.

Concern about the rise of quackery in Nigeria.

He also mentioned that various agencies are collaborating with the council to ensure the successful implementation of this initiative. The council will be requesting approval from the Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare to begin re-accreditation of the National External Quality Assurance in Zaria and the Invitro-diagnostic Laboratory in Lagos starting on April 21, 2024, as stated by the registrar. He expressed concern about the rise of quackery in Nigeria and announced the formation of a seven-person committee by MLCN to address the issue.

More so, the committee will consist of representatives from all sectors involved and will work on recommendations to combat the problem of quackery. Even individuals with proper training and qualifications can be considered quacks if they conduct tests in a manner that deviates from established guidelines, not just those who lack training as Laboratory Scientists. The registrar explained that the measures were put in place to guarantee that the test results produced by the hospital facilities meet certain quality standards.

Related Article: 10K Med Lab Scientists Left Nigeria so far

Additionally, in order to combat fraudulent practices in the profession, he emphasized the need for collaboration between MLCN, state Health Coordinators, and the Dean of Medical Laboratory Sciences. This partnership will work towards implementing stricter regulations and conducting regular facility inspections to eradicate quackery from the field. The registrar highlighted the efforts of the council, emphasizing that MLCN played a crucial role in protecting Nigeria from being overrun by low-quality testing equipment amidst the COVID-19 crisis in 2020. During the previous COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, he described how the initial batch of test kits imported into Nigeria fell short of the required 95 percent sensitivity standard.

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