Lab scientists urged to adhere to standards

Eme Offiong, Calabar

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The management of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, and the Nigerian Medical Association have urged the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, AMSLN, to adhere to established standards in the health sector.

UCTH further urged laboratory scientists in its employ to abide by the ethics of their profession and avoid instigating violence in the institution, which was negatively impacting quality healthcare delivery.

Headship
In the past weeks, laboratory scientists had series of altercations with medical doctors over the headship of four departments in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Calabar, Cross River State.

The departments in contention included Hematology/Blood Transfusion; Chemical Pathology and Metabolic Medicine; Histopathology as well as Medical Microbiology.

Sequel to the agitations by the laboratory scientists, members of the College of Nigerian Pathologists, CNP, who are also members of NMA, insisted on the adherence to the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria Act on the matter.

Dr. David Ushie, the secretary of CNP in Cross River, during a chat with some journalists in Calabar, the State city, disclosed, “medical pathologists were attacked and some sustained injuries, torn clothes, lost or damaged accessories including wrist watches, identity cards, amongst others. Some laboratory equipment and furniture, used by pathologists at the time of the incident were damaged.”

According to Ushie, samples and reagents used in the labs were spilled. Before the attack of September 5, 2019, there had been pockets of similar incidents and cases of mischief orchestrated by the lab scientists, who also instigated students of the University of Calabar to mete violence on our members.

Services
Kenneth Inaku, a consultant chemical pathologist with UCTH and vice chairman of CNP, noted that the continued interruptions and destruction of hospital property was capable of “making these departments lose accreditation and affect service delivery”.

He argued that UCTH was bound by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria Act to maintain global standards, stating anything short of what the practice is globally will impact the credibility of the entire institution.

Dr. Godwin Ogban, a consultant medical microbiologist and Head of Microbiology and Parasitology in UCTH, explained that call duty was a major factor in crisis, describing the constant harassments of CNP members by the laboratory scientist as a violation of the Act.

He stated that pathologists were entitled to conduct researches and teach students in the laboratories, which in no way negates the functions of the laboratory scientist.

Dr. Ekpe Lawson, a consultant and Head of Chemical Pathology Department, who said that pathologists have different training from the lab scientists, urged the University of Calabar and the hospital management to conduct a job reorientation for all laboratory scientists irrespective of the grade of qualifications attained.

Panel
In a statement, Professor Ikpeme Asanye Ikpeme, the Chief Medical Director of UCTH, described as unfortunate the peddling falsehood in the media space by the association of medical laboratory scientist.

Ikpeme stated that, “the attention of the management of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital has been drawn to the various misinformation and lopsided stories extensively peddled by the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria and circulated by the electronic and social media”.

“It is unfortunate that such blatant fabrications could emanate from the association,” he said.

While appealing to the public to remain calm and disregard rumours about UCTH, the CMD disclosed that a panel has been set up by the management to critically look into the issue and tender its report for immediate action.

 

Sammie Idika