Communique issued by the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria at the end of her 58th Annual Scientific Conference / Workshop and Annual General Meeting held between 14th and 18th September 2022 at Great Eagle Hall, Ikere Road, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
The 58th Annual Scientific Conference and Workshop of The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) tagged, “Land of Honour 2022”, held at Great Eagle Hall, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
The Conference & Workshop was chaired by Hon. Yemi Adaramodu, member Representing Ekiti South-West/Ikere/Orun/Ise in the Federal House of Representatives, who formally declared the conference open.
The Special Guest of Honour was the Hon Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire who was represented by the Chief Medical Director, Federal Teaching Hospital Ido-Ekiti, Professor Adekunle Ebenezer Ajayi. The father of the day was Ooni of Ife, Arole Oduduwa, Olofin Adimula whose representative was Sooko (Dr) Kemade Elugbaju, the Sooko Omoniyi of Ife. Communique
Professor Oluyemi Akinloye, a Professor of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnosis, and Dean Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences at University of Lagos, delivered the Keynote address on the conference theme: Health System Strengthening: Sustaining Quality Medical Laboratory Practice Beyond the Covid-19 Era.
The Sub-themes covered by the conference included:
i. The Crucial Role Medical Laboratory Services in Attaining Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria
ii. Leveraging on Quality Laboratory Services to Upgrade Primary Healthcare Centres in Nigeria.
iii. Automation and Point of Care Devices: Friends or Foes in Medical Laboratory Practice.
iv. Towards Unity for Health: Managing Inter-Professional Rivalry in Nigeria’s Healthcare
v. Combating Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases in Nigeria: What is the Way Forward?
vi. Convalescence Plasma and Immunoglobulins Preparations Protocols for Standardisation.
vii. Bioinformatics and Medical Laboratory Science: Past, Present and Future.
OBSERVATIONS AND RESOLUTIONS
At the end of the conference, the following observations and resolutions were made:
1. Conference calls on the Federal Government to increase the budgetary allocations to the health sector with special emphasis on laboratory infrastructure at the tertiary, secondary and primary levels of health care practice. The conference noted with concern that Nigeria has never met the 15% total budget bench mark for budgetary allocation to the health sector intended for health systems strengthening in line with Abuja Declaration.
2. Conference made a special call on the Federal Ministry of Health to support the Medical Laboratory Science Council’s accreditation drive for both private and public Laboratories. Communique
3. Conference calls on Nigerians to key into the Health Insurance Scheme in order to reduce out-of-pocket expenditure, which results into financial catastrophe, and increase National coverage. Similarly, conference called on the Actuary Department of the Federal Ministry of Finance to adjust the Fee-for-Service payment mechanism for secondary healthcare services in order to reflect current market realities. Communique
4. Conference calls on the Federal Ministry of Health to increase awareness on non-communicable diseases and improve surveillance on Lassa, Marburg, Monkey and COVID-19, as these still portend significant health threats. The conference therefore called on State Governments to build public health laboratories with capacities for molecular testing that would help in the diagnosis and genetic surveillance of emerging and re-emerging diseases.
5. Conference calls on the Government to support the sponsorship and training of Medical Laboratory Scientists at postgraduate and fellowship levels, as this will sharpen their skills for research and improved services.
6. Conference calls on the National Assembly to speed up passage of the re- enactment of the Teaching Hospitals Reconstitution Bill. The Bill, among other things, seeks to reduce interprofessional rivalry among various players in the healthcare team in the nation’s Teaching Hospital by ensuring that all critical stakeholders are involved in the composition of the boards of Teaching Hospitals, with a view to making them more vibrant and efficient. Opponents of the Bill are perpetrating that Nigerians should watch in silence and helpless docility as the country’s health rating remains the lowest on the global scale, brazenly overlooking its potential in diversity of health professionals to change the narratives.
7. Conference calls on the Federal Government to jettison its idea of outright privatization of healthcare services, as this would mean commercialization of social services which citizens have rights to.
8. Conference is worried about the spate of brain drain in the health sector. Amongst other factors, poor working environment, remuneration and toxic working environment are determinants of attrition. Conference therefore calls on the Federal Ministry of Health to as a matter of urgency and necessity call the excesses of the MD/CMD of tertiary health institutions to order by respecting professional lines and implementing the scheme of service of every cadre.
9. Conference again reiterates its stance to support political candidates who have clear healthcare agenda and are willing to implement the 15% budgetary allocation recommended by the Abuja declaration.
10. Conference noted the pivotal role of Medical Laboratory Scientists in the Nigerian Health System, stating emphatically that medical diagnoses and prescriptions most often, are dependent and contingent on the standard of medical laboratories and diagnostic competences of the Medical Laboratory Scientists.
11. Conference commended Ekiti State Government for providing the enabling environment for hosting this year’s conference. Conference calls on the state government to employ more Medical Laboratory Scientists into the state health service as well as upgrade medical laboratories in the state.
12. Conference expressed deep concern on the deplorable state of roads in Nigeria and called on the Federal and State Governments to give priority attention to the rehabilitation of roads in to reduce avoidable deaths during emergency medical referrals. Communique
13. Conference stoutly resists the attempt by a certain professional group in the health sector that are daily encroaching on the professional duties and responsibilities prescribed for Medical Laboratory Scientists as contained in the Scheme of Service, Medical Laboratory Science Council Act 11 of 6, 2003 and other statutes while appealing to the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Labour & Employment, Ministry of Justice and the Presidency to ensure equity, justice and fairness by not hesitating to call any erring health professional group to order in the interest of peace and harmony in the health sector.
14. Conference expresses concern over the abuse of Public funds and disregard for rule of law being exhibited by some Chief Medical Directors of public Teaching Hospitals who are using government treasury to prosecute legal suits in favour of their professional group, up to appellate level; while dishonoring court judgements that granted medical laboratory scientists autonomy of practice and headship of Medical Laboratory Service Department. Communique
AMLSN appreciates His Excellency the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr John Kayode Fayemi, Honourable Speaker Ekiti State House of Assembly, the Royal fathers of Ekiti State, Government and the people of Ekiti State for their hospitality and excellent support through-out the Conference/Workshop. We also commend the Ekiti State branch of our Association and all the participants at the Conference/Workshop who contributed to the huge success recorded at the end of the Conference/Workshop.
Prof James Garba Damen (National President)
Prof Musa Abidemi Muhibi (National Secretary)
Olusoji Billyrose (National Publicity Secretary)
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