Why misdiagnoses are rampant in Nigeria By Dr. Raheem

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Immediate past President of Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) and Deputy-Director, Laboratory Services at Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR),Yaba, Lagos has added his voice to “Why misdiagnoses are rampant in Nigeria”

 Dr Toyosi Y. Raheem, said medical misdiagnosis occurs when a medical doctor or any other health care professional fails to diagnose or wrongly diagnoses an illness, disease or health challenge of a patient seeking health care services.

To Dr Raheem, medical misdiagnosis is a serious challenge because it may lead to inappropriate, incorrect or delayed treatment.

“It may also cause further damage, prolonged hospital stay, unnecessary financial burden and may cause death. This will also lead to relative poor rating of Nigerian healthcare services when compared to other countries of the world,” he said.

Possible causes of misdiagnoses, according to Dr Raheem, include excessive workload for healthcare provider (increased workload) as it could put pressure on healthcare provider and consequently lead to misdiagnosis.

Poor or inadequate diagnostic equipment in clinics, medical laboratories, radiology and other departments in hospitals are others identified causes by Dr Raheem. He added: “There are instances where diagnostic equipment such as blood pressure checking device in the clinics, microscopes in the laboratories, X-ray machine in radiology departments etc, are so bad, yet the equipment are being managed due to lack of quality ones. Certainly, such substandard equipment will give misleading results.”

In the same vein, poor budgetary allocation to health services, especially to diagnostic services, also affects outcome of diagnosis. To Dr Raheem, this has reduced most or all health care institutions at primary, secondary and tertiary levels to mere consulting clinics with poor or no diagnostic equipment and accessories.

“An inadequately trained man-power is not a factor that can be swept under the carpet. The quality of training giving to healthcare professionals at the various training institutions is regrettably decreasing, leading to production of inadequately trained physicians, nurses, medical laboratory scientists and other health professionals involved in medical diagnoses.

“Non-conducive work environment is also responsible for misdiagnosis. Erratic power supply, use of wrong healthcare providers to perform specialised diagnostic services, inter-professional hatred or disharmony etc are drivers of misdiagnoses,” he added.

The use of sub-standard or fake diagnostic reagent and equipment by various health care professionals can promote misdiagnoses, according to Dr Raheem.

“Fake or substandard medical diagnostic devices/equipment and their accessories find their ways into Nigerian market through the porous Nigerian borders. Inadequate regulatory activities of health regulatory bodies e.g. Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria etc.

“These health regulatory bodies statutorily regulate the activities, equipment and work environments of the respective health professionals. When the regulatory activities of the health regulatory bodies are absent, inadequate or frustrated, medical misdiagnoses will increase and sanctions on offenders will be slowed down or impossible,” Dr Raheem revealed.

Culled from thenationonlineng.net

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