As Nigeria struggles to diagnose more cases of COVID-19, a group of medical laboratory scientists has promised to help improve the nation’s testing capacity.
The group, Young Medical Laboratory Scientists Forum (YMLSF), on Wednesday said it was ready to deploy its 30, 000 members to diagnostic labs to ensure more patient samples are processed per day.
Last week, the Nigeria centre for Disease Control said it was hoping to increase its testing capacity to 1, 500 tests per day.
The country’s COVID-19 testing regime is limited to only those with travel history and people who have made contact with them.
As a result, testing has not been widespread. Only a total of over 5,000 people have been tested, a poor figure when compared to nearly 60, 000 total in South Africa.
Nigeria is currently processing 1, 500 COVID-19 tests per day, according to the minister of health, Osagie Ehanire.
In a statement jointly signed by the national president and national secretary of the group, Isomah Chiladi Jeff and Ediale Solomon respectively, It said there were reports credited to the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, saying the country has only two experts who can manage molecular testing for COVID-19 in the seven diagnostic labs across the country.
The group said the source of the statistics is not only wrong but “also adversely deleterious to the medical laboratory human resources management which is cardinal at precarious times like this.”
PREMIUM TIMES is yet to independently verify the reports as the spokesperson of the health ministry could not be reached.
According to the group, Nigeria has adequate trained medical laboratory scientists who are resource persons in molecular testing.
“With the plethora of challenges in containing COVID-19 in Nigeria, it should interest you to know that diagnostic man power is completely out of this bracket as there are more adequately trained medical laboratory scientists who are resource persons in molecular testing as evidenced in the compiled list of Nigerian experts sent to NCDC by Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN),” the group stated.
The group also said the federal lawmakers would have knowledge of the level of expertise of medical laboratory scientists in the country better if they could embark on a tour to assess the level of preparedness from the medical laboratory experts across facilities.
“But considering the pandemic and complete lockdown by the federal government, it will be our opinion that you kindly verify the facts from the appropriate authority/regulatory body (medical laboratory science council of Nigeria) established by the Act of the honourable chambers.
“Laboratory Management as enshrined in our curriculum entails setting up any sort of medical or molecular laboratory, managing the laboratory and production of reliable and quality results for patient management and this we shall uphold to the people of Nigeria.
“However, these laboratories though equipped with sophisticated and contemporary equipment needs upscaling and putting in use to keep tabs with the insidious nature of this pandemic. This is the norm as it is in sync with the tenets of Laboratory Quality Management System regarding equipment purchase and installation and manpower,” the group said.
It assured the federal government of its willingness to assist in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“YMLSF which is a body of young medical laboratory scientists in Nigeria with over 30,000 members scattered all over Nigeria wants to reassure the Federal Government and the good people of Nigeria that we are ever ready to make our human resource available for testing to fight this pandemic,” it said.
WATCH: Governor Yahaya Bello's Roadmap to Hope 2023