Monkey pox: AMLSN mocks FG for sending blood samples to Senegal

…Opposes FEC’s adoption of Yayale-Ahmed committee’s report

Abuja – The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), has said it was a failure of Nigerian health system that compelled Nigerian government to take blood samples of persons with Monkey pox to Dakar, Senegal, for testing.

AMLSN said if government had invested in the nation’s laboratories and made it comparable with the World Health Organization’s laboratory in Senegal where the blood samples were tested, getting results would have been faster, and national response against the virus would have been made much easier.

In a statement made available to Nigeria Health Online on Tuesday, the associa6tion through its President, Toyosi Raheem, said it “breaks the heart to see how Nigeria has become a fertile ground for emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in the face of dwindling budgetary allocation to the health sector by government and rabid inter-professional rivalry by key players in the health team.”AMLSN said unresolved discords among the nation’s health team are the reason the country had been faced with diverse health challenges.

“Monkey pox, a viral disease first discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970, has its first reported case in Nigeria over a week ago with reported cases in as many as seven states of the federation.

This development reverberates the sordid disgust on the lack of concrete action by government in curtailing the resurgence of haemorrhagic fevers, meningitis and other infectious diseases in the country in spite of several appeals by AMLSN and other stakeholders on the need to establish and equip public health laboratories, human vaccines laboratories as well as viable and integrated surveillance system,” the association said.

The association demanded from the government reasons “the health services of other countries have been more responsive, effective and reliable than that of Nigeria?

Why is it that most of our public health laboratories are no longer in existence and where they exist, little or no attention is given to them for proper management and support with the needed resources (human and materials)?“Why is it that despite abundant resources in Nigeria (human and materials), the managers of our health sectors are not ashamed of sending blood and other samples collected from those suspected or infected victims of infectious diseases such as Monkey pox for testing to Senegal or less endowed countries and institutions to the consternation of our health system?”

Meanwhile, the group has frowned at adoption by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) of a proposal to set up a committee to produce a white paper on the Yayale Ahmed Committee.

The association said the committee’s report favours the pathologists “who have become the favoured children of the two Ministers in FMOH and their ally in the Ministry of Labour & Employment because they are medical doctors.  Funny enough, the Ministers never saw the need to convince government to create enabling environments and opportunities for Medical Laboratory Scientists, Pharmacists and others in the health sector to strengthen the health system in Nigeria to a level that our country will face her health challenges head on and avoid the incessant embarrassments from infectious diseases.

“Are some countries and or foreign institutions producing and exporting laboratory reagents, equipment, chemicals, drugs and related items not taking advantage of the disharmony in our health sector, absence of strong regulation due to prolonged absence of Governing Boards of regulatory bodies like the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria(MLSCN), Pharmacists Council of Nigeria PCN), Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria ( MDCN) etc in the health sector and other relevant health institutions to consolidate on their grip on keeping the Nigerian health sector down in promotion of their merchandise and milking us dry of foreign exchange?

“Why can’t government listen to our continuous calls for establishments of state, regional and national public health laboratories for routine medical surveillance  of infectious diseases before their embarrassing outbreaks? Government must be careful not to turn the health professionals in Nigeria to unarmed soldiers in a war zone.

“Why can’t the Nigerian Government invite Medical Laboratory Scientists, and other health professionals to brainstorm on how to seriously address the ugly health situations in the country instead of this mono-professional preference for doctors in a multi-professional health sector?

“Any white paper on the controversial and rejected Yayale Ahmed Committee report skewed in favour of medical doctors at the expense of Medical Laboratory Science profession and others similarly and negatively  affected in the report, would rather than solve the cancerous problem in the health sector only worsen it.”

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