By MLS Taofik Adetoro
No policy is value neutral. Some will pay more for a policy than others. Democracy is meant to maximise number of those who enjoy a policy and minimise the numbers that will pay for it.
Reduction of the conference fee may not yield increment in numbers of conference attendees.
Possible attendance of conference is usually hinged on two factors–cost and time.
Cost includes transportation, accommodation cost and conference fee. For instance, if a conference is to hold at Port Harcourt at a fee of N15,000,med lab scientists in Owerri or Aba may easily attend while conference at same venue for a fee of 5,000 may have low attendees from Bauchi or Lagos.
Why? Total cost for the latter (transport & accommodation included) is higher than the former despite lower fees. If increased attendance was why the AMLSN NEO took the recent conference fee decision, only few people will really benefit. It doesn’t holistically solve the low conference attendance.
If reduction in total annual payment by a med lab scientist is the reason for the recent conference fee decision, I suggest the NEO look at it this way; the last conference had the highest conference attendance record averaging 10% of the nation’s MLS populace.
They attended because they could afford it. About 90% didn’t attend for reasons best known to them but which finance is one. These 90% will bear the brunt of paying for a conference they naturally might not attend while the 10% will enjoy a fee reduction for a conference they might naturally attend without the fee reduction.
Again, no policy is value neutral. Some will pay more for it than others. But maximising number of those who enjoy a policy and minimise the numbers that will pay for it is the hallmark of any policy in democracy. That is why democracy is a government for the majority.
I opine that those who may naturally afford standard conference fee pay & attend the conference, either at the standard fee or not. Let there be no compulsory conference fee for all.
While I have stated my reasons against the compulsory conference fee, I know most of my colleagues and I who oppose this compulsory fee may have not been at this side of discourse if the field was favourable to the young MLS out here. My little suggestions are as follows;
1. Lots of progress are being made in making MLS work experience better in the public sector but AMLSN & MLSCN must take private sector workers (where most young MLS fall) into cognizance. Policies specifically directed to spur job growth in this sector should be made. I suggest our licences should be per full-time job and laboratory registration should be licensed per site.
This means someone working in National Hospital should not be able to use same licence to register a private lab elsewhere, and MLS licence used to open ‘Aso Labs’ at 12, Ikwerre Street, Kano shouldn’t have the power to be used to open ‘Aso Labs’ at 12, Mbaise Street, Kano even though both labs are one organization. (I’ve suggested this before).
2. Graded fees should be introduced at a percentage of salary range. Someone working in US Mission, who is being paid in dollars shouldn’t be paying same amount with someone who survives on irregular 7-10 days locum per month in the city of Lagos. That one sef is courtesy of MLS Isaac.
3. The content of our conference should, first of all, be improved upon and standardized. Then parties involved in medical laboratory business in Nigeria, especially international biomedical companies should be lobbied to support the conference sponsorship and attendee sponsorship. Companies like Roche, Abbott, BD, Tosoh etc can significantly support the conference.
Even national dealers like Layojat, ISN, DCL, Finlab etc can sponsor attendees from centers that patronise their products. Big labs like ClinaLancet, AfriGlobal, BodyAffairs, Pathcare, MeCure, Clinix, etc can sponsor attendees from centers that outsource to them too. Lobby these people to sponsor the conference and/or attendees annually and we might see a good rise in conference sponsorship and attendance.
3. MLSCN should key into centralized intern placement, and should handout accredited centers for internship, both public and private, and their required numbers of intake annually for easy local monitoring by the MLS in those centers. This can reduce internship placement wahala.
4. Lastly, MLSCN and AMLSN can also provide allocations for conference attendee sponsorship based on different reasons such as young researchers, young community influencers, best abstract, etc to encourage young MLS participation in our conferences.
Disclaimer: Opinion expressed are those of the writer and not the blog
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