Weak Labs Push Nigerians Abroad

Weak Labs Push Nigerians Abroad

Nigerians continue to flock abroad for simple diagnosis because confidence in the country’s laboratory system is weak, says the head of Nigerian pathologists.

Dr Kenneth Iregbu, national president of Association of Pathologists of Nigeria, said: “People can’t be going to India, America for simple diagnosis that we can do here but because there is no confidence in our laboratories, they fly out to go and do simple tests that can be done in our backyards.”

He spoke as the group ASSOPON convened a scientific conference in hopes of revitalising laboratory practice and make it crucial to health care in Nigeria.

The practice needs “strategic roadmap to move forward,” said Iregbu.

Health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said government was “making huge and frantic efforts” to ensure the labs are properly positioned.

Chukwu, represented by the ministry’s director for hospital services Dr Ahmadu Banye, said key efforts ranged from providing “fantastic world-class medical equipment to ensure [laboratories] cope with growing need and providing training to ensure what it provided is utilised.”

Sitting on challenges

Health authorities have insisted residency programme is one way to train needed manpower for healthcare through “injecting more funding” in the programme, according to the health minister.

But the practice of diagnosing conditions using laboratories continue to suffer in Nigeria and calls for a brainstorm because it “not been operating at a very good level,” said Iregbu.

“We know we have challenges but we cannot continue to sit on the challenges forever. We need to make progress,” he said.

ASSOPON’s scientific conference noted the practice was beset by poor coordination across the nation, lacked a strong network, and was torn up by conflicts within laboratory practice itself.

Mostly recently has been a tussle for paramountcy between pathologists and laboratory scientists.

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