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Nigeria has currently close to 50,000 qualified medical laboratory scientists.

MLCN: Nigeria Has Over 45,000 Medical Laboratory Scientists

According to Dr. Tosan Erhabor, the Registrar of the Medical Laboratory Council of Nigeria (MLCN), Nigeria currently boasts of more than 45,000 qualified medical laboratory scientists in the health sector.

The figure was given during an interactive session with the leadership of the Association of Nigerian Health Journalists in Abuja at the weekend.

He said the council would be inducting 317 foreign-trained laboratory scientists, who has passed validation examination conducted recently.

While providing update on personnel and skill availability in the science laboratory sector, Erhabor said there are presently more than 45,000 qualified medical laboratory scientists in the country.

He, however, said that some of the medical laboratory scientists have opted to seek jobs abroad due to their inability to secure a place locally.

Erhabor accused hospital administrators, especially in state-owned hospitals in the country, of refusing to engage qualified laboratory scientists, preferring rather to employ substandard personnel.

According to him, “There are presently more than 45,000 qualified medical laboratory scientists, most of whom are not sufficiently engaged to carry out their profession in the country. Besides the Japa syndrome, where else will these people work when administrators keep employing substandard workers to operate their facilities?

“Every day, we put up statements highlighting the dangers of quackery but they are not heeded. We have more than enough personnel to man these facilities and produce required results if properly utilized.”

He said MLCN is currently implementing a quality assurance certification for all laboratory test facilities in the country to ensure that they meet required standards, adding that the council, with the support of the parent ministry -Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare-and other agencies, is working to see that this effort comes to reality.

The registrar said as of April 21, the council will be seeking approval from the Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare to embark on the re-accreditation of National External Quality Assurance in Zaria and the Invitro-diagnostic Laboratory in Lagos.

In efforts to tackle quackery in the sector, he said: “The issue of quackery in Nigeria is becoming alarming, so MLCN is going to inaugurate a seven-man committee made up of all stakeholders to recommend how we are going to tackle the menace of quackery. It is not only those who were not trained as Laboratory Scientists that are quacks even a qualified person can also act as a quack if he runs tests outside stipulated guidelines.”

The registrar said the reason for taking these measures was to ensure that the test results being dished out from the hospital facilities were of standard.

Moving forward, he said that MLCN, the state Health Coordinators and the Dean of Medical Laboratory Sciences, would have to form a synergy to implement more stringent regulation and ensure that inspection of facilities is carried out more regularly in order to drive quackery away from the profession.

Speaking on the exploits of the council, the registrar stated that the MLCN prevented Nigeria from being made a dumping ground for substandard test kits during the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 and explained that the first set of test kits that had been brought into Nigeria during the last COVID-19 in 2020 did not meet up to 95 per cent sensitivity standard.