Nigeria’s poor healthcare system has been described as alarming, and calls for urgent attention from government at all levels and medical practitioners. National President of Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria, MLSCN, Dr Godswill Okara, who raised the alarm on Tuesday in Benin at the opening ceremony of the 48th Annual Scientific Conference/AGM of the council, said the nation has continued to search for solution to the declining status of the healthcare system and the ever worsening health indices of poor maternal and infant mortality rate.
This, he said, has resulted in increasing lack of confidence in the healthcare system as reflected in the growing number of patients seeking medical attention abroad. Quoting from the 2011 Mo Ibrahim African Governance Index, he said Nigeria’s healthcare system now ranks 51 out of 53 countries in Africa, as against the case in the 60s and 70s, when Nigeria was ranked 4th in the Commonwealth. Okara disclosed that “a recent study revealed that over 20 percent of foreign patients seeking medical attention in India were from Nigeria.” He said the conference will provide the platform to proffer solution to the problems of the healthcare system, adding that “the Medical Laboratory remains the key to the cure .”
Earlier, the Registrar/ Chief Executive Officer of MLSCN, Professor Anthony Eberibe, said the council has vowed to declare an indefinite war to rid the profession of quacks. Eberibe said council is determined to rid the profession and the country of these few elements who have given the profession a bad name. “It is regrettable that a few nefarious elements continue to ignore the provisions of the law and in total disregard for the sanctity of the lives of our citizens, continue to operate unregistered, poorly equipped and poorly staffed facilities which the erroneously call medical laboratory.
“Our goal is to continue to sensitise and mobilise all stakeholders to join hands with the council to institutionalise a medical laboratory service sector that upholds the standards of the highest quality. This should be exemplified in our laboratories being equipped and mentored towards certification and eventual accreditation,” he said, adding that accredited laboratories will inspire confidence in patients.