The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) held her 194th NEC meeting at the APIN Conference Hall of the Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi between 5th and 8th May, 2016
The meeting was preceded by courtesy calls on key stakeholders in the health sector. First, the Commissioner for Health and Human Resources was visited followed by the Chief Medical Directors of Benue State University Teaching Hospital and Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi. The delegation was led by the President of Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, Alh Toyosi Y Raheem. The team was well received and the president pointed out a number of issues where he harped on accreditation of laboratories and implementation of circulars on enhanced entry point
NEC commended the Federal Government for steps taken so far to reposition the health sector in Nigeria for greater efficiency in line with the change agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari. Notable amongst them is the just concluded Health Summit in Minna, Niger State, hoping that all resolutions will be implemented accordingly.
NEC commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the 2016 budget into law after months of rigorous scrutiny. It is the expectation of NEC that the budget will receive 100% implementation in all sectors including the Health industry. This will be a positive departure from the past where less than 50% of our budget gets implemented within the fiscal year.
NEC called on the legislative arm of government to redouble their oversight functions especially on budget implementation to avoid undue bureaucratic bottlenecks that could slow down the process of budge implementation or create a window for diversion of public funds into personal coffers thereby sabotaging government effort in delivering on her campaign promises.
NEC commended the senate president for calling for public hearing on some health related bills on the floor of the senate. It is the believe of NEC that the position of associations and recognised bodies on the bills will receive more consideration against the parochial and selfish positions of individuals.
NEC commended the Benue State Government for prioritizing the health sector in her delivery of democracy dividends as seen in the establishment of Primary Health Care Development Board, graduation of MBBS students initially stagnated for 12years and the regaining of accreditation for School of Nursing and Colleges of health Technology in the State.
NEC commended her members for being true professionals in fighting the recent emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases such as Ebola and Lassa fever respectively in spite of gross lack of essential diagnostic equipment and conducive working environment in most laboratories. NEC therefore called on all stakeholders not to let down the gauntlet in that regard and press further on detecting early warning signs of diseases towards combating them.
NEC noted with concern the protracted strike action by members of JOHESU of Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos over the aberrant refusal of the chief executive and management to implement extant circulars and court judgements. NEC is worried that health care services in the facility have been grounded negating the provision of the National Health Act which emphasizes on accessibility to health services. It is on record that a few days ago JOHESU members led massive protest to the Plateau State government house, Plateau State House of Assembly and the Gbong Gwom Jos palace with a clear statement of vote of no confidence on the CMD of the hospital for lacking administrative capacity to lead.
NEC called on governments at all levels to key into the program of accreditation of all medical laboratories in the country in line with global best practices to raise the standard of laboratory processes and procedures for more effective and efficient health services in the country. It is the call of NEC on government and all stakeholders to have all medical laboratories on at least 3 star rating, a minimum benchmark for now, giving our peculiar challenges.
NEC noted with dismay the inability of some government parastatals in using the right nomenclature and qualifications for Medical Laboratory Professionals when they are advertising for laboratory-based vacancies. This has created confusion to the general public on the person and duty of the Medical Laboratory Profession. It has also created an avenue for the recruitment of quacks to man medical laboratories. NEC is strongly against this aberration and advised that such vacancy advertisements be perused by a Director of Medical Laboratory Services in the State for guidance.
NEC noted with dissatisfaction the inability of some states in the federation to have the Directorate of Medical Laboratory Services. NEC affirmed that establishing a Directorate for Medical Laboratory Services is beyond having a director portfolio for the most senior Medical Lab Scientist in service but instituting a system to have him function effectively in co-ordination of Medical Laboratory Services in the state.
NEC noted with dismay the inability of some health establishments to implement the circular released last year on entry point for Medical Laboratory Scientists in Nigeria and called on them to retrace their recalcitrant stance on the matter to avoid impending court action.
NEC made it abundantly clear that the issue of headship of medical laboratories has been dispensed with in favour of the medical laboratory profession in the industrial courts as seen in the cases of AMLSN/NUAHP (formerly NUPMTPAM) vs Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital management and others, AMLSN vs Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) Management and others, and AMLSN vs FMC Asaba Management and others. NEC further warned all chief executives of health facilities that she would not take anything less than the full implementation of these judgements.
In conclusion, NEC appreciates the government and people of Benue state for hosting us to a peaceful meeting. We enjoyed your weather, food and friendship.
Alh. Toyosi Y. Raheem Surajudeen Junaid (Ph.D) Adeyeye Adetunji Tam
National President National Secretary National PRO