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Young lab scientists charged on future of Nigerian medical diagnosis

  • FG not serious with Lassa Fever epidemic,  Prof. Dennis Agbonlahor, ex-AMLSN President says

ABUJA – The future of medical diagnosis in Nigeria lies in the hands of upcoming medical laboratory scientists in the country, experts in the field said in Abuja, Friday.

Speakers took turns to advise the young professionals at the 1st National Summit of Young Medical Laboratory Scientists Forum, an umbrella body for young graduates in Medical Laboratory Science in the country.

The body was formed recently to further strengthen medical laboratory practice in the country with the aim of ensuring fresh graduates in the field match skills acquired in schools with on-the-job demands.

Speaking at the event, Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Dennis Agbonlahor, commended the efforts of the Forum and said every attempt to make the profession very relevant had been laced with struggles.

Agbonlahor, a former National President of Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, AMLSN, and former Vice Chancellor, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, said: “We are happy that more bodies are springing up. We hope that these bodies should work with Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria and Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria to take the profession to greater height,” he said.

He urged the youths to continue to aspire to excel more than past and contemporary medical laboratory scientists in the country as they continue to grow.

Agbonlahor however revealed that the Federal Government was not serious with the control of Lassa Fever in the country. He said since the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, constituted a Research Committee to help in controlling the disease last year, the committee had only met once, adding that the government had since made no effort to bring the committee together.

In his remark, Senator Joshua Lidani, (Gombe South) said not much was known about medical diagnostics in the past, and that medical laboratory scientists were scarce.

“The doctors would just look at you and say that this is what you need to take. But, things have changed. Today, no doctor can just look at you and prescribe drugs without diagnosis. And, who does that? It is the medical laboratory scientists.”

He urged them to take pride in the profession and continue to abide its ethics. He said the National Assembly had reduced the number of years for seekers of elective offices to accommodate more youths.

As youths, you have a big role to play. You have to make a decision between the past and the present by being hardworking and encouraging integrity. Once you have integrity, definitely, the sky is your limit,” the legislator said.

He challenged the young professionals and all trained and practicing medical laboratory scientists in the country to always avoid making wrong diagnosis.

He also appealed to scientists to fight quackery in the profession, as according to him, he had once fallen victim to wrong diagnosis in the country, which he said took much money from him and caused him great pain. He pledged the National Assembly’s support for any legislation that would help end quackery in medical diagnosis in the country.

Keynote speaker at the event and Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Prof. Teddy Adias, said with contribution of the youths, the world would be better by 2030.

Adias, who spoke on the theme of the summit: “Role of Young Professionals in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs,” said “If you look at all the goals, we must all be involved. According to him, half of Nigeria’s population are youths aged between 15 and 34.

He identified the omission of youth participation in the failure of the world to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs.

National Coordinator of the group, Osamudiamen Odia, said the group aimed at building on structures already set by prominent citizens who have proven records of successes in medical diagnosis and had contributed immensely to the growth of medical laboratory services and general health care delivery in the country.

He said the summit was a result of various continuous professional development programmes carried out by the association in different regions of the country, adding that young professionals in the field would make the nation’s health sector better through their contributions.

Immediate past president of AMLSN and Director, Laboratory Services, Dr. Hassan’s Hospital and Diagnostics Centre, Abuja, Dr. Godswill Okara, said despite huge yearly investments on primary health care in the country by government, there hadn’t been much to show as dividends.

He explained that most of the primary healthcare centres, PHCs, being built by government lack skilled health personnel and do not have medical laboratory equipment. He said for the above-mentioned reasons, the PHCs are being neglected by health-seeking Nigerians.

He faulted government’s continuous building of PHCs across the country, which he said are left for rodents and reptiles, and without adequate infrastructures and skilled manpower to justify funds invested in them.

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