As ISN holds 6th quality assurance summit
By Chioma Obinna
The Chairman, ISN Group, Mr Ben Ofungwu has urged Nigerian Laboratory Scientists to strive to ensure highest standards of quality assurance in medical laboratories across the country, lamenting that, it is embarrassing when laboratory results from Nigerian laboratories are viewed with scepticism outside the country.
Ofungwu who was addressing laboratory scientists lamented the challenges of quality control in Nigeria labs, where results from different outlets on the same specimen would show divergent results.
Ofongwu regretted that while those who can afford to submit specimens to two or more laboratories to be sure of the diagnostic results that they can work with do so not all Nigerians can afford it.
Speaking at the 6th edition of the ISN Quality Assurance Summit with the theme: “Demystifying ISO 15189”, Ofungwu in some cases, the scepticism is justified, hence, the need for continuous awareness in quality control to address the challenge. I am pleased with the level of interest shown by all on this.”
He said ISN was aiming at Nigerian Laboratories joining the recognised status of all reputable laboratories all over the world, adding that, the summit was organised to bring the Director General of Nigeria National Accreditation System (NINAS) to help demystify ISO 15189 which is the gold standard that all diagnostic laboratories should aim at.
“What we are doing appears small step in our overall objective, but we must continue with these small steps until victory is achieved and Nigerian Medical Diagnostic Laboratories will be accepted in the comity of nations as reliable, impeccable and of utmost significance in the diagnosis of diseases. I am glad to note that ISN Products Nigeria Ltd has continued to spearhead this.”
In his presentation, the Director General, Nigerian National Accreditation System (NiNAS), Mr. Celestine Okanya who stressed the need for facilities to aim for accreditation to improve the quality of their results regretted that achieving a 99 per cent level of quality means accepting a 1 per cent error rate.
According to him, in medical laboratory practice, there is no room for error as patients may lose their lives in such situations.
Okanya explained that laboratory quality assurance was all-encompassing as it involves a range of activities that enable laboratories to achieve and maintain high levels of accuracy and proficiency pin providing the bests services to the patient and physicians.
He further warned Nigerians to be wary of some laboratories in the country as not all that are open have the competency to carry out tests and produce accurate results.
“Nigerians should ask if these labs are accredited to do these tests before accepting their services. When we begin to demand accreditation and turn back when they could not answer, many of these facilities will begin to go for accreditation to improve their services. It costs about 2 million to do accreditation but at the course of doing accreditation it will help them to improve the outcome of their results because it monitors their systems and the way they behave.”
Also in his presentation, Director & Deputy Registrar, Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria, MLSCN, Mr. Donald Ofili insisted that every laboratory in Nigeria must be registered in their database for easy monitoring.
Ofili who lamented what he described as unacceptable infractions committed by many laboratory facilities in Nigeria said with over 4,000 labs in the MLSCN database they have not relented in shutting down defaulting laboratories. “As we speak, we have about five teams in Oyo State cinspectingOyo state. Very soon we will be in Lagos.”
He disclosed that though accreditation in Nigeria remains voluntary, there were plans by the Nigerian government to make it mandatory with a new policy that all labs must be accredited by 2025. “Registration of laboratory is compulsory. Nigerians should also demand a registration certificate where they will find the unique PML number before they do tests. Laboratories are not allowed to be cited in residential homes due to the kind of samples they handle but in Nigeria, they cite some in filling stations.”
Speaking, the Managing Director, Mr. Felix Ofungwu who was represented by the Financial Officer, Mrs Chinyere Nwokolo said quality is an intrinsic proof of who ISN is, hence, the life of a patient is at the receiving end of their value chain and they are doing their possible best to make sure that the patient receives the best quality care in many ways.
He said it was on that basis the ISN Quality Assurance Summit was instituted, to promote quality laboratory practice by creating a forum for national discourse about quality in the medical laboratory.
He said this year’s programme, being the 6th edition of the ISN Quality Assurance Summit, was themed “Demystifying ISO 15189.”