Dealing with “Quacks” posing as Medical Lab. Scientists, Technicians or Assistants

By David Edet-Eddie Moma

The arrest and conviction of a fake medical laboratory scientist has raised concerns over the seeming invasion of the medical profession by quacks. Thank God the prosecution of that impostor was seen to its logical conclusion.
In the same vein there is hardly any profession in Nigeria that does not have its fair share of impostors. They can be found in law,engineering and journalism amongst others.
Pragmatic strategies need to be adopted by relevant authorities to flush dubious people out of the system. The crave for paper qualification and white collar jobs in the country seems to be the driving force for this type of criminality. The general high level of graduates unemployment might also be a factor.
I therefore call on the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), the statutory body in charge of registration and discipline of qualified medical laboratory scientists, medical laboratory technicians & assistants to commence the verification of all medical laboratory scientists, technicians/assistants employed by the federal and state governments. The MLSCN should go beyond this because if the problem is not properly tackled, it could erode the confidence of the public in the nation’s healthcare system. Already, quacks (microbiology,biochemists, science lab tech etc) are giving the profession a bad image that would take time to erase.
Beyond the verification of qualified medical lab. scientist ,technicians/assistants, I recommend routine checks on all health institutions in the country, whether public or private. Let the Council beam its searchlights on all states and local governments in the country to fish out these quacks. It should speedily conduct the audit and release a register of qualified medical laboratory scientists, technicians and assistants in Nigeria. If this is done, it would be easier to detect quacks in the system. The Council should also partner with AMLSN in its efforts to track down quacks. This should go beyond operation “show your certificates or licenses.”

I am saying this because medical laboratory practice, which deals with human life, is too important to trifle with. The invasion of the hallowed medical laboratory profession by quacks portends great dangers for healthcare in Nigeria. Everything must be done to save Nigerians from persons who disguise as medical laboratory scientists and other health professionals.
David Edet-Eddie Moma works at Family Health International (FHI360) as a Volunteer Community Laboratory Personnel.
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