By Chioma Obinna

To check the quality of results from laboratory facilities nationwide, medical experts have called for standardisation of laboratories in Nigeria even as they said there was a need for government to commence accreditation of private facilities.

The experts who decried the polarisation of laboratories explained that standardisation will not only check quackery, and ensure reliable results but leads to improved treatment outcomes.

Declaring the 2022 Annual Scientific Symposium of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, AMLSN, NIMR, Chapter with the theme: “Preparedness for Combating Pandemic: The Role of Medical Laboratory Scientists; COVID-19 Experience”, the Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR, Prof. Babatunde Salako said what comes out of laboratory determines what the medical officer will do in terms of treatment.

According to him, there was a need to have laboratories that churnout reliable results to improve treatment outcomes and the health indices as most Nigeria’s indices are among the worst in the world.

Salako said: “Things like this add up to better healthcare system. Experience with COVID shows the need to improve our labs.  If we can’t detect diseases early, they will continue to spread and all these affect the economy.  If we can diagnose reliably we can prevent outbreaks and have better treatment outcomes. Laboratory is needed in the health system to function effectively.

“Laboratories and medical lab scientists are very important in the health care system of any nation. This is because they carry out medical tests, especially when you look at a pandemic or epidemic where you need to curtail the spread of diseases, the laboratory becomes very important in such situation and whatever result that will come out of the laboratory must be trusted and authentic.

In his keynote address, the National President of AMLSN, Prof. James Damen, noted that medical laboratory scientists were key players in combating and curbing outbreaks of diseases and emphasised the need for quality management system in laboratory facilities.

Encouraging Nigerian Medical laboratory scientists to stick the ethics of their profession, Damen said: “We need to know our role during epidemic and pandemic by giving accurate and quality results needed for case detection to help combat diseases.”

Throwing light on the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, he called for more molecular laboratories across the country.

He said that COVID exposed gaps and the need for the improvement of health facilities, implementation of quality management systems, improved surveillance system and accreditation of medical laboratories.

Speaking, the Chairman, AMLSN, NIMR Chapter, Mr. Samuel Akindele said the theme of the event was chosen based on the current outbreaks of diseases and the need to sensitise their members on their roles as medical laboratory scientists.

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