By Chioma Obinna & Olaide Jejelola
President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to urgently intervene in the battle for supremacy that is currently tearing apart the Medical Laboratory Scientists and the management of the University Teaching Hospital, Calabar.
Making the call in a chat with Vanguard, the National Publicity Secretary of Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, AMLSN, Dr Casmir Ifeanyichukwu urged the president to also use his good office to permanently end what it described as ‘malevolency’ meted on Laboratory Scientists, MLS, in all the health institutions, particularly, at the UCTH.
Ifeanyichukwu also appealed to the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire to call to order the Chief Medical Director, UCTH Calabar and to evolve processes that will end the continuous victimisation of their members serving in all federal and state tertiary hospitals in Nigeria.
“We are concerned about the grave consequences of this untoward situation in our health sector because at the receiving end are the patients who come to receive care.”
He alleged that in a bid to frustrate the medical laboratory science profession, the management of UCTH has entrenched chaos, quackery, disruptions of quality medical laboratory services in the teaching hospital, hence putting the lives of healthcare-seeking members of the public in jeopardy.
Ifeanyichukwu alleged that medical laboratory students are persecuted, while their members are being terrorised, molested and detained at the UCTH.
He said the management of the UCTH is not only victimising Medical Laboratory Scientists in the UCTH but has now resorted to molesting them as well.
“From 1st of September 2019 to date, Medical laboratory Scientists (staff and interns) working in the UCTH as well as medical laboratory science students of the University of Calabar (UniCal) who are on medical laboratory training in the UCTH have not had peace or respite from the reign of terror that is being unleashed on them by the Management of the UCTH, Calabar.
He accused the Chief Medical Director of deploying armed men to the hospital who terrorize medical laboratory scientists, interns and students undertaking their lawful routines of work and training at UCTH, Calabar.
“Cases of victimisation of MLS at the UCTH and other malevolent conduct against them by the management are copiously documented. MLS is being decimated but we cannot be cowed by any individual or group whatsoever.
We, MLS, derive our authority to deliver services to the health care seeking members of the public from the Second schedule, Paragraph 49, and Sections 169-170 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“Since 1972, the Federal Government gave the administrative role of Medical (clinical) laboratories to Medical Laboratory Scientists (MLS). Several circulars of government up to 2003 also gave that responsibility to medical laboratory scientists (MLS).
“We have over 16 court judgments across teaching hospitals and federal medical centres in Nigeria in our favour. The situation whereby Nigerian physicians who by sheer advantage of their appointment as CMDs, MDs or CMACs, blatantly refuse to respect the status quo and, or, the rule of law is anarchical and unacceptable,” he noted.
We reiterate that Pathologists are consulting physicians. World over, pathologists directly see patients and render clinical consultation. The medical doctor’s (pathologist) role within a pathology department, of any discipline, is to liaise with medical and other colleagues, ensure that patients are treated and managed appropriately in a clinical situation.
Pathologists are not trained to perform medical laboratory testing. The performance of Medical laboratory tests, the administration and the operation of a medical laboratory including the supervision of medical laboratory personnel and reporting of test results are not activities that constitute the practice of medicine,” he stated.