Despite the widely circulated circular by the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) with ref No: MLSCN/DERR/2/2014 and dated 25th August, 2014 to all stakeholders on the need to promote professionalism and eliminate quackery in the health Sector, it is amazing to note that more efforts are still needed to sensitize the public and employers of labour on the danger of allowing industrial attachments for students of Science Laboratory Technology and other Biological Sciences in Medical Diagnostic Laboratories for the purpose of generating results from patients’ clinical samples and using such results for the treatment and or management of patients. It is even of serious danger and unprofessional act to train students of Science Laboratory Technology/Biological Science in Medical Diagnostic Laboratories for the purpose of SIWESS/Industrial Attachment.
The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) wishes to reiterate the position of the MLSCN that training of students of Science Laboratory Technology/Biological Science in Medical Diagnostic Laboratories for the purpose of SIWESS/Industrial Attachment is an aberration and will create a false sense of relevance in Medical Diagnostic Laboratories by the students of these programs and will encourage the thriving of quackery.
MLSCN as the regulatory body for Medical Laboratory Science practice and services in Nigeria in the said circular reminded the management of Medical Diagnostic Laboratories that Science Laboratory Technology as set up by Act 12 of 2003. The training and practice of SLT is regulated by the Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technology (NISLT) which is an agency under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology and not under Federal Ministry of Health due to its distinct mandates as contained in its enabling Act. NISLT was designed to develop a crop of professionals who will fill the need for technologists in Science Laboratories in Schools, Industries and Research Institutes. This is quite distinct from Medical Laboratory Science which is regulated by Act Cap M25 LFN 2004 (Act 11 of 2003) and is under the control of MLSCN -an agency under the Federal Ministry of Health like other health professions such as Nursing, Pharmacy, Medicine, Physiotherapy etc .
Hence, in line with these enabling Acts and autonomy of professionals, students of such programs regulated by NISLT should undertake SIWESS/Industrial attachments in Science Laboratories of Schools, Industries and Research Institutes for optimal exposure and NOT in Medical diagnostic Laboratories. The illegality and unprofessional practice of sending Students or graduates of Science Laboratory Technology and other Biological Sciences to Medical Diagnostic Laboratories for the purposes of work experiences can be likened to sending students of anatomy, physiology, SLT and other Biological Sciences to wards, clinics and theaters for industrial work experiences.
AMLSN in the interest of the health and the well-being of clients of Medical diagnostic Laboratories, hereby urges managements of various health institutions, parents/guidance, and students seeking for SIWESS/Industrial Attachments to desist from coercing Medical Laboratory Scientists, Medical Laboratory Technicians and Medical Laboratory Assistants to post and or train students of SLT( including Biomedical Technology) and Basic Science/Engineering for their mandatory SIWESS/Industrial Attachment in the Medical Laboratory in Nigeria especially in view of their limited knowledge of biosafety, bioethics and confidentiality of patient’s results besides encouraging quackery. Such students can conveniently find themselves useful in Research Institutes, Research Laboratories of Universities, Polytechnics, Science Laboratories of post-secondary institutions etc.
The public and employers of labour are to please be properly guided.
Adeyeye Adetunji Tam,