Communique issued at the end of AMLSN 18th APHL & 208th NEC Meeting

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Communique Released At The End Of 18th Public Health Lecture/208th National Executive Council Meeting of The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists Of Nigeria On 24th And 25th May, 2024 At Re Maritona Hotels And Suites, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.

 

PREAMBLE:

The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) held its 18th Annual Public Health Lecture and 208th National Executive Council Meeting.

The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) successfully convened its 18th Public Health Lecture and 208th National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting at Re Maritone Hotels and Suites, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State between 24th and 25th May, 2024. The theme of the Public Health Lecture was Mitigating Intractable Diseases Outbreak Through Strengthened Medical Laboratory Services, which underscored the critical role of medical laboratories in public health and disease control.

The event commenced with a keynote address by the Keynote Speaker, Rt Hon. Francis Nwifuru, the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, who emphasized the urgent need for enhanced medical laboratory services to combat the frequent outbreaks of intractable diseases in Nigeria. The address set the stage for in-depth discussions on the pivotal role of laboratory services in disease prevention and control

Three subthemes were thoroughly explored in the plenary sessions:

i. Fortifying Disease Surveillance for Timely Interventions. Presented by Dr Chukwu O. Chukwu. He highlighted the necessity of robust disease surveillance systems.

ii. Advanced Laboratory Infrastructure for Accurate Laboratory Diagnosis. Presented by Prof Teddy Adias. The presentation focused on the critical need for advanced laboratory infrastructure to enhance diagnostic accuracy.

iii. Strengthening Laboratory Personnel for Effective Disease Management. Presented by Prof Obong Sunday Etukudo. The session addressed the need for a highly skilled workforce to manage disease outbreaks effectively.

OBSERVATIONS/DELIBERATIVE

The meeting concluded with the adoption of several resolutions aimed at bolstering the role of medical laboratory services in disease outbreak management:

1. Nations cannot effectively fight off intractable diseases if they relegate in-country research and development efforts and depend on the importation of all diagnostic inputs. To this end, the meeting resolved that medical and research laboratories must be rightly positioned to begin in-country production of diagnostics test kits, vaccines and therapeutics if we are to make progress in combating diseases, instead of relying on importation which is usually challenged by global demand, travel restrictions and antigenic mismatches.

2. Infectious diseases will continue to emerge and re-emerge at national and subnational levels as such, medical laboratories must continue to reinvent their policies and practices to effectively investigate outbreaks with the view to containing them early enough before they progress into pandemics and international calamities.

3. The medical laboratory component in any outbreak investigation is crucial, as such strategic investment must be made to ensure that medical laboratories can effectively respond to disease outbreaks by clearly identifying sources of disease outbreaks and risk mitigation processes in rolling them back to infancy.

4. In preparing the medical laboratories to respond adequately to intractable diseases, medical laboratories must be standardized in line with ISO 15189:2012 guidelines to give credibility to laboratory processes and outcomes which are critical in mapping out outbreak control strategies

5. Enhanced advocacy is needed to agitate for increased government funding and support for medical laboratories, and the Integration of modern surveillance technologies to detect and monitor disease outbreaks in real time.

6. Establishment of a national task force to oversee the implementation of advanced surveillance and diagnostic technologies.

7. Development of a National Strategic Plan for Medical Laboratory Scientists’ continuous education and professional growth. This is crucial for several reasons, some of which are: Ensuring high standards of care, promoting innovation and research, enhancing professional competency, and career development and job satisfaction.

8. Incessant attempts by some non-medical laboratory science professionals and policymakers to make the medical laboratory profession an all-comers affair thereby giving oxygen to unwholesome medical laboratory practices regardless of clear provisions of the MLSCN Act 2003, adding that with infiltration of quacks into the practice comes weakened health system and underwhelming response to disease outbreaks and pandemics

9. Medical laboratory strengthening strategies must be robust enough to make medical laboratories effective in response and resilient under pressure as the world is already experiencing syndemics.

10. Training of Medical Laboratory Scientists in epidemiology and data analysis to improve outbreak prediction and management. Doing that is vital for enhancing public health surveillance, improving diagnostic accuracy, supporting research, and optimizing laboratory operations. These skills also facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration, strengthen public health preparedness, and expand professional development opportunities, ultimately contributing to better health outcomes on both national and global scales.

11. Collaboration with academic institutions to ensure curriculum relevance and alignment with current public health challenges. Doing this will bridge theory and practice, adapt to emerging trends, enhance research and innovation and promote community engagement.

12. As stakeholders in the Nigerian healthcare sector, we must take bold and decisive steps to enhance the quality of our healthcare services. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through adopting and implementing Quality Management Systems (QMS). implementation of Quality Management in a medical laboratory is crucial for several reasons. These reasons include Accuracy and reliability of results, patient safety, regulatory compliance, documentation, and accountability. These will ultimately lead to better healthcare outcomes.

13. All states in the country should establish and fully equip public health laboratories for disease surveillance and monitoring. This will lead to improved health outcomes and will go a long way in strengthening medical laboratories to help the country mitigate disease outbreaks.

14. Commendations to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his renewed hope agenda, part of which copiously articulated his plans to reposition the health sector. The president has done remarkably well in putting the country in good stead for the attainment of Universal Health Coverage.

15. Delighted that the President is mindful of the fact that to revive the negative health system and global ranking of the Nigeria health system, there has to be investment in medical laboratory diagnosis. The President is therefore urged to appropriately direct the Minister of Health to integrate medical laboratory infrastructure, equipment and human resource in the proposed upgrade of clinical pathology laboratories in tertiary health institutions across the country.

16. The President should without further delay direct the inauguration of the governing councils of the regulatory agencies in the health sector. The Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria has been without a governing board for over two years.

 

APPRECIATION

The meeting appreciates the warm reception and support by the Governor of Ebonyi State State, His Excellency, Rt Hon. Francis Nwifuru. His acceptance to be the keynote address speaker during the Public Health Lecture was unprecedented and an honour to the entire body of Medical Laboratory Science in Nigeria. His Excellency is also appreciated for graciously approving the creation of Directorates of Medical Laboratory Science in both the State Ministry of Health and Hospitals Services Management Board. He did not stop there; he promptly approved an offer of a brand-new bus to Ebonyi State branch of the association. We are indeed eternally grateful.

The meeting also appreciate Dr Dakuku Peterside for his steering role during occasion role as chairman of the Public Health lecture. Dr Dakuku’s support to his own profession has always been a propellant.

The association extends its gratitude to all participants, speakers, and sponsors who contributed to the success of this event. Together, we are poised to make significant strides in the fight against intractable diseases through strengthened medical laboratory services.

 

CONCLUSION

The 18th Public Health Lecture and 203rd NEC Meeting of the AMLSN reaffirmed the association’s commitment to enhancing medical laboratory services in Nigeria. By fortifying disease surveillance, advancing laboratory infrastructure, and strengthening laboratory personnel, AMLSN aims to play a pivotal role in mitigating the impact of intractable disease outbreaks and safeguarding public health.

 

Signed:

Dr Ifeanyi Casmir

National President

 

Comrade Abdulsalam Yakubu

National Secretary

 

Prince Adeyinka Adedire

National Publicity Secretary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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