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Don’t privatise healthcare services, laboratory scientists tell govt

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The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria has advised the Federal Government to drop the idea of privatising healthcare services and instead concentrate efforts on improving delivery and improving the country’s health rating.

The body regretted that Nigeria had never met the 15 per cent total budget benchmark for budgetary allocation to the health sector for health system strengthening in line with the Abuja Declaration.

Consequently, AMLSN harped on the need for the Federal Government “to increase the budgetary allocations to the health sector with special emphasis on laboratory infrastructure at the tertiary, secondary, and primary levels of healthcare practice.”

The body spoke in a communiqué signed by its National President, Prof. James Damen; National Secretary, Prof. Musa Muhibi; and National Publicity Secretary, Olusoji Billyrose, on Sunday at the end of its 58th Annual Scientific Conference/Workshop held in Ado Ekiti with the theme, “Health System Strengthening: Sustaining Quality Medical Laboratory Practice Beyond the COVID-19 Era.”

AMLSN, while blaming the worrisome brain drain in the health sector on poor and toxic working environments and remuneration, called on the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure respect for professional lines and implementation of a scheme of service for every cadre by the medical directors and chief medical directors of tertiary institutions.

In the resolutions read by their National President, Damen, the medical laboratory scientists also called on the Federal Ministry of Health to improve surveillance on Lassa, Marburg, monkeypox and COVID-19 “as these still portend significant health threats.”

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

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

“The 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 to,” AMLSN said.

The body called on the National Assembly to speed up the passage of the re-enactment of the Teaching Hospitals Reconstruction Bill “to, among others, reduce inter-professional rivalry among various players in the healthcare team in the tertiary hospitals for more vibrancy and efficiency.”


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