Don’t privatise healthcare services, laboratory scientists tell govt

The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria has advised the federal government to drop the idea of ​​privatizing health services and instead focus on improving delivery and enhancing the country’s health assessment.

The panel regretted that Nigeria had never reached the benchmark of 15 per cent of the total budget for budgetary allocations to the health sector to strengthen the health system, in line with the Abuja Declaration.

Consequently, AMLSN emphasized the need for the federal government to “increase budgetary allocations for the healthcare sector with a particular focus on laboratory infrastructure at the tertiary, secondary and primary levels of healthcare practice.”

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The panel spoke in a communiqué signed by its national president, Prof James Damen; National Secretary, Prof. Musa Muhibi; and National Publicity Secretary, Olusoji Billyrose, at the conclusion of his 58th Annual Scientific Conference/Workshop in Ado Ekiti on Sunday, entitled “Empowering the Health System: Sustaining Quality Medical Laboratory Practices Beyond the COVID-19 Era.”

While AMLSN blamed the worrying brain drain in the healthcare sector on a poor and toxic work environment and poor pay, it called on the Federal Department of Health to ensure adherence to professional lines and the implementation of a roster for each cadre by medical directors and chief physicians directors of universities.

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In the resolutions, read by their national president, Damen, the medical laboratory scientists also urged the federal health ministry to improve surveillance for Lassa, Marburg, monkeypox and COVID-19 “as these still pose significant health threats.”

As such, they called on state governments to “build public health laboratories with molecular testing capabilities that would aid in the diagnosis and genetic monitoring of emerging and re-emerging diseases.”

They also called for government support for the promotion and training of medical laboratory scientists at the postgraduate and fellowship levels, saying such support would sharpen their research skills and improve services.

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“The conference calls on the federal government to abandon its idea of ​​outright privatization of health services, as this would mean commercialization of social services to which citizens are entitled,” AMLSN said.

The panel called on the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the new version of the Teaching Hospital Reconstruction Act “to reduce, among other things, interprofessional rivalry between different actors in the health team in the tertiary hospitals for more vitality and efficiency.”

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