The Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS) has stated that 30 percent of practising Medical Laboratory Scientists in the country are unqualified and uncertified.
President of the Association, Dr Ignatius Awinibuno, has observed a decline in the number of unqualified professionals from 40 percent in the past two years to 30 percent.
“As an industry, we have many challenges is the issue of quackery; unqualified persons trying to ply our trade therefore exposing the citizenry to very serious danger. A lot of people are working without proper licenses in a lot of our labs putting the public into danger.”
Speaking to LUV BIZ at the opening of a new secretariat in the Ashanti Region, he revealed that “two years ago, 40 per cent were unqualified and uncertified, the practice is still happening and it is a bother to us. Even though the numbers have reduced, it is still prevalent and something has to be done. It reduced marginally and I can say it is now 30 per cent.”
According to GAMLS, this trend exposes the lives of healthcare recipients to danger.
He, however, says the situation impacts negatively on the profession and that swift action is needed to address the challenge.
“If you hear such a thing, report to the association, to regulatory body and we will stand with you on this matter. We are not here to protect any person that is quack,” he advises the public.
Call for a new Council
According to the President of the Association, the Allied Professions Council is unable to cater effectively to the needs of all the 18 professional bodies under its umbrella. This has inadvertently affected the monitoring of Medical Laboratory Scientists.
However, the leadership of the Association, upon observing the importance of medical laboratory care in modern-day health care delivery agree that the profession needs a lot more attention than is being given to it currently.
“In fact laboratory services have become central instead of peripheral, in public health interventions like what we saw in Covid-19”.
Dr Awinibuno emphasized that the role of medical laboratory scientists is essential to the clinical practice where lab results are needed to be able to provide evidence for the proper diagnosis of patients to help ascertain the severity of the disease and to know the chances of survival of the patients among others.
But unfortunately, the right regulatory policy framework required to guide these processes are ineffective.
The leadership of GAMLS is therefore asking government to establish a special council for medical scientists to help develop an efficient regulatory framework to sanitize the industry.
“So we have proposed to government to give the medical laboratory sector a medical laboratory science council that will regulate and centre essentially on laboratory care.
The job of the council would be to streamline the process of employment of Medical Laboratory Scientist. It will also regulate the manufacturing of reagents, and the importation of medical equipment into the country.
New Office in Kumasi
Dr Awinibuno noted that over the years, the “association’s business has been conducted in people’s homes and offices”, however he believes that the Association needs “a place where official activities and documents should be properly secured where we receive our visitors should be a reputable place”.
“So it was a decision of the National Executive Council to put an office here in the [Ashanti] region in shape to ensure the activities of the association are coordinated from this premises,” he stated.
For him, “this is a landmark program that seeks to further facilitate the operations of the association and to make it more accessible more to the citizens and clients that wants to meet us.”
The Ashanti Region is noted to be one of the premier regions when it comes to the profession.
This professional body has over the years provided a lot of leadership when it comes to the health care sector, seeing to the welfare of all medical laboratory scientists across the country and promoting the practice of the profession for quality health care delivery in its members across the country.