The Honourable Minister of State for Health Hon. Joseph Ekumankama has charge the Management and Staff of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) not to relent or rest on their oars in the discharge of their statutory duties. Ekumankana gave this charge when members of the Council led by the Registrar, Dr. Tosan Erhabor paid him a courtesy visit at the Ministry of Health Headquarters in Abuja.
The Minister who was appreciative of the visit, assured the team of the support and backing of the Ministry in accomplishing the mandate and responsibilities of the Council. He said if need be, policies would be formulated to help carry out their functions smoothly geared towards achieving the mandate of Mr. President in the health sector. “Do not relent on your good work, push more, do more, do not relax, spend more time working, in order to give your best. Be rest assured that where you need us to come in to support you, we will.”
In response to issues and request raised by the Council, the Minister said that he believes that imbibed in the “Act”, that governs the Council are powers enabling them to regulate laboratories in hospitals across the country, hence nothing should restrain or constrain them from doing that. “Moving forward all hospitals under the Federal Ministry of Health will be the first set of hospitals to implement the full provisions of the law. Which will be followed by laboratories in State hospitals. With this, the Minister said, Medical Laboratories not registered with the MLSCN will be shut down.”
On validation of In Vitro Diagnostics (IVDs) before use in Nigeria, the Minister informed that since there is a mandate backed by law, MLSCN has the support of the Ministry of Health to fully monitor, implement and enforce everything that has to do with the regulation of laboratory products. In regards to non-registration by government agencies, that will be resolved by the Ministry. On the issue of External Quality Assurances (EQA), henceforth all laboratories must follow due process and ensure that they are registered with the MLSCN or risk being shut down as well. Ekumankama went further to admonish them to apply caution in the course of carrying out their mandate ensuring that they work under the purview of the law.
Earlier, the Registrar MLSCN Dr. Tosan Erhabor while congratulating the Minister on his appointment, informed him that the MLSCN which is a Federal State Agency of the Federal Ministry of Health, is mandated to regulate Medical Laboratory Science profession in Nigeria. He went further to highlight some of its functions which include: Regulation of Medical Laboratory Science Practice through setting of standards; Regulation of training of would be Medical Laboratory Science practitioners through accreditation of training institution; Accreditation of Medical laboratory facilities to International Standard – ISO 15189 to guarantee international best practice; Validation of Laboratory Reagents Equipment and Consumables- this include production, stocking and sales of all forms of IVDs; Production and distribution of proficiency panels for quality assurance of Medical Laboratory test results; Retraining and licensing of foreign graduates of Medical Laboratory Science who trained outside of the country to enable them practice locally; Inspection of Medical Laboratory facilities to ensure regulatory compliance.
Speaking further, Erhabor revealed some challenges faced by the Council to include: Lack of logistics, Utility vehicles, Manpower, Office space; Political will from the Federal Government, to make policy statement on: External Quality Assurances (EQA), Accreditation of Government Medical Laboratories, Validation of IVDs before use in Nigeria and Funding of Regulation activities. He seized the opportunity to solicit for support in their efforts to actualize its mandate of guaranteeing quality Laboratory Health Care delivery to Nigerians.
By: Blessing Efem
Signed: A.A.A Chindaya (Deputy Director Media & Public Relations)