AMLSN Bemoans Health System over Obsolete Laboratories
Nigeria’s health indices ranking, adjudged to be among the worst in the world, is due largely to its dysfunctional medical laboratory infrastructure, coupled with its reprobate system and governance, says Dr. Casmir Ifeanyi.
Dr. Ifeanyi, added that presently, throughout the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, there are no medical laboratories with capacity for the detection and diagnosis of agents of the mentioned infectious diseases, except at the NCDC reference Laboratory in Gudu, Abuja.
He spoke in Abuja at the maiden press briefing by the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) on the International Conference on Global Health Security Agenda scheduled to hold between 2nd and 5th of September, 2019.
The AMLSN National Publicity Secretary, said Nowadays, it will require less than 36 hours for any infectious diseases to travel from one point of the globe to another, hence the constant resurgence of emerging and reemerging diseases in Nigeria.
He pointed out that Nigerians now live with the dilemma of incessant outbreaks of cholera, meningitis, yellow fever, Lassa fever, monkey pox and other hemorrhagic fevers including influenza viral diseases.
“In addition to these is the non-communicable diseases epidemics, including road traffic accidents (RTAs), resulting from the ravaging challenge of urbanization and its associated lifestyle and dietary challenges.
“It is regrettable that many states in Nigeria continue to experience recurrent infectious diseases outbreak. This is because these state governments generally are not committed to setting up state of the art medical laboratories manned by well-trained medical laboratory personnel,” he said.
Continuing, he added: “We urge governors of these states to invest in strengthening the capacity of medical laboratories in public health and clinical settings to aid in the rapid detection and transparent reporting of diseases outbreaks in their states. Such effort will help in the prevention and effective curtailing of these menace.
“At the moment, Nigeria is considered the leading country in open defecation; the problem of water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is reverberating. Now we are contending with insurgency and terrorism. The question deserving immediate actionable response is: How prepared are we if confronted with an accidental or intentional release of dangerous pathogens and weaponized biological agents?
“We have declared emergencies towards addressing some of these issues but that alone is not enough. We must as a people prepare and build capacity on how best to PREVENT, RESPOND, DETECT and manage any out breaks”.
The AMLSN spokesperson, recalled that the Global Health Security Agenda initiative was launched in February 2014 with a commitment to bring together all nations to make the goal to advance a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats become a national priority.
He disclosed that the overall goal of their next month’s conference is to promote GHSA as a veritable platform for laboratory systems strengthening and facilitate the development of actionable strategic approaches for a coordinated sector-wide medical laboratory systems strengthening efforts from a systems perspective that will support the development of a robust and interconnected network of laboratories that are adequately capacitated to rapidly detect, and transparently report disease outbreaks on the continent.