The logo for the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN).

AMLSN Cautions FG Against Health Sector Privatisation

During the weekend, the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) cautioned the Federal Government against the privatisation of healthcare services in the country, stating that such a decision will cripple the system and prevent poor Nigerians from accessing quality medicare.

Also calling for increased budgetary allocation to strengthen the sector, AMLSN accused the government of allegedly defaulting on the 15 percent yearly financial proposal to fund healthcare services.

The medical laboratory scientists made the appeals in a communiqué issued at the end of their 58th yearly conference and workshop in Ekiti State, signed by the National President, Secretary and Publicity Secretary, Prof. James Garba Damen, Prof. Musa Abidemi Muhibi and Olusoji Billyrose.

The resolutions read: “Conference calls on the Federal Government to jettison its idea of outright privatisation of healthcare services, as this would mean commercialisation of social services, which citizens have rights.”

The association expressed concern over alleged “gross abuse of public funds and brazen disregard for the rule of law by some Chief Medical Directors (CMDs) of public teaching hospitals, thus creating frictions that are affecting the system adversely.”

The document continued: “Some of them (CMDs) are using government’s treasury to prosecute legal suits in favour of their professional groups up to appellate level while dishonouring court judgments that granted medical laboratory scientists autonomy of practice and headship of Medical Laboratory Service Department.”

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On poor health sector funding, the communiqué said: “Conference calls on the Federal Government to increase budgetary allocations to the health sector with special emphasis on laboratory infrastructure at the tertiary, secondary and primary levels of healthcare practice.

“We note with concern that Nigeria has never met the 15 percent total budget benchmark for budgetary allocation to the health sector intended for the system’s strengthening in line with the Abuja Declaration.”

As part of their resolutions, the medical laboratory scientists appealed to the Federal Ministry of Health to support the Medical Laboratory Science Council’s accreditation drive for both private and public laboratories to uphold professionalism nationwide.

The professionals also called on Nigerians to key into the health insurance scheme for reduced out-of-pocket expenditure.

Damen lamented the brain drain in the health sector owing to poor remuneration and working conditions, stating that the trend must be checked to save the industry from imminent collapse.

He urged the National Assembly to speed up the passage of the Teaching Hospitals Reconstitution Bill for a fortified system through well-streamlined operational policies to engender professionalism and efficiency.

Damen clarified, saying, “The bill, among other things, seeks to reduce inter-professional rivalry among various players in the healthcare team at the nation’s teaching hospitals by ensuring that all critical stakeholders are involved in the constitution of boards.”

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