The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Gombe State chapter, says it will engage necessary authorities to prosecute some health workers exposed in WikkiTimes’ recent Investigation.
The investigation exposed how health workers in some facilities continue to subvert the system by issuing fake genotype certificates in exchange for financial gratification.
The story exposed how hospital laboratories in Gombe issue fake genotype certificates for a token, sometimes even free.
In an extensive undercover, the medium discovered how laboratory workers in Gombe with a little persuasion and financial gratification concede to issuing fake genotype certificates.
The report which documented how a married couple gave birth to a sickle cell child with different kinds of falsified genotype certificates also revealed how health workers accepted birds’ blood for genotype tests.
The medium-exposed hospitals, including, Pantami Primary Health Care, FOMWAN Clinic Tabra, Nasawaro Primary Health Care and BCGA Primary Health Care, Gombe.
WikkiTimes’ findings also revealed that the ill practices have, among other things, contributed to the birth of sickle cell patients in the state, while violating the ethics of the medical profession.
The medium accused the hospital authorities as well as regulatory bodies of lack of proper management and vigilance as well as indifference.
The malpractice uncovered by the medium is an unfortunate example of raging corruption in the health sector.
However, in a statement dated October 10, 2022 and signed by the league’s chairman, Lynn Maori, the association acknowledged the report, pledging to take necessary actions against the perpetrators.
“The attention of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Gombe State Hospitals Chapter, has been drawn to a publication in WikkiTimes, of September 25, 2022, authored by Hafsah Ibrahim Muhammad, captioned: ‘INVESTIGATION: Genotype Scam: How Health Workers in Gombe Issue Fake Genotype Certificates for a Token.’
“While we sympathize with the victims of this nefarious act by quacks, we would like to assure the general public that we will work closely with the relevant authorities to prosecute these crimes to a logical conclusion.”
Furthermore, the statement applauded the author for “lending a voice” to a pressing issue that has plagued the state’s hospital for years.
“We equally want to commend the author of this investigation journalism for baring the activities of these quacks, and lending a voice to our cries for years, on the need to amend the Gombe State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (GSPHCDA) Act, to make provisions for the establishment of a functional Department of Medical Laboratory Services. Indeed, the importance of investigative journalism in uncovering the truth cannot be overstated.
“However, to put the record straight, and to educate the general public, AMLSN wishes to make the following clarifications:
“Medical Laboratory Scientist and Medical Laboratory Technicians are the only healthcare professionals licensed by Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria to independently carry out medical laboratory investigations for the purposes of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, monitoring of patients, and research. Medical laboratory technicians and assistants who are also registered by the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (National Medical Laboratory Accreditation Agency) are permitted to carry out certain activities in the medical laboratories under the supervision of qualified medical laboratory scientists. Thus, any other personnel carrying out medical laboratory tests is deemed a quack!
“Further, the Rules of Professional Conduct, along with the Minimum Practice Standards and Regulations, defines professionalism in the practice of medical laboratory science. Hence, medical laboratory scientists demonstrate an application of their ethical obligations through their professional and personal conduct.
“The primary healthcare centres (PHC) in the state are under the purview of the Gombe State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (GSPHCDA).
“There is no Department of Medical Laboratory Services to effectively and efficiently coordinate the activities of medical laboratory professionals at that level. Thus, most of the workers are not even qualified medical laboratory professionals.”
Also, the body condemned the Gombe State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (GSPHCDA) for its reluctance to address the issue which had been clamoured upon by the association in the past.
“AMLSN has on several occasions called the attention of GSPHCDA to facilitate the creation of the Department of Medical Laboratory Services to ensure the provision of quality medical laboratory services for the citizens of the state at the level of PHC, being that PHC is the “front door” of the health system and provides the foundation for the strengthening of the essential public health services. However, till date, this issue has not been addressed, unfortunately.
“It is evident from the report that all the quackery was perpetrated at the primary healthcare centres and some private health establishments where our medical laboratories are often manned by unqualified professionals.
“Furthermore, it is important to note that the aims of primary health care overlap with those of universal health coverage, which aims to ensure access to essential health services and safe, effective and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all people. All these would not be achievable in the absence of quality medical laboratory services, since the practice of modern medicine is evidence-based, and research has put it that up to 70% of clinical decisions are informed by data from medical laboratories,” it added.
Calling on the state government to bring the culprit to justice, the body also urged the public to be wary of such illegal endeavours.
“Accordingly, AMLSN wishes to call on the general public to be wary of quacks parading as medical laboratory professionals. Also, they should boldly request or look out for the MLSCN logo when accessing the services of a medical laboratory whether located in a clinic/hospital or a private facility.
“Secondly, for the umpteenth time, we call on the attention of the Gombe State Government to amend the GSPHCDA Act and other relevant healthcare Acts to make for the inclusion of medical laboratory services for the benefit of the citizenry.
“Finally, we wish to draw the attention of the proprietors of private healthcare facilities to eschew the culture of cutting corners by employing only qualified medical laboratory professionals to man their medical laboratories. Otherwise, the long arm of the law is bound to catch them,” the statement added.