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62-year-old laboratory school still on temporary site

Dr Sunday Etukudoh, Provost, Federal School of Medical Laboratory Technology, Jos, says the inability of the 62-year-old school to move to its permanent site is affecting its activities.

“The school was established in 1954 but it is still stuck at a temporary site which has affected its desire to expand and get the best for its students,” Etukudoh told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos on Monday.

He said that the school’s situation was peculiar because no institution in the country had been left at a temporary site that long.

The provost said that the permanent site at Lamingo was still being constructed, noting that the Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Enahire, inaugurated some structures at the site recently.

He, however, said some of the completed structures had not been paid for, adding: “Currently, we need two billion naira to pay for work already done there.

‘’We want to appeal to the Federal Government to help us.”

He said that the permanent site had no hostels, staff quarters or auditorium.

Etukudoh called for special intervention from the federal and Plateau governments to facilitate gradual movement to the site from the second week of November.

“We need to move as quickly as possible because the Plateau Government, our landlord at the temporary site, gave us a quit notice in 2013,” he said.

The provost also called for quick passage of the bill for a law to formally establish the school to enable it to access fund from Tertiary Education Trust Fund for infrastructure development.

“That status will also help the school to enjoy exchange programmes and open more avenues for scholarships and advanced courses for the scientists,” he said.

He said that the school had trained 3,000 scientists in the last seven years, adding that more than 50 per cent of the scientists in hospitals in Northern Nigeria were its products.

Etukudoh said products of the institution were usually in high demand because quality had always been its premium.

“We place so much premium on quality because of the crucial role results from laboratory checks play in the healthcare delivery chain.

“We do not cut corners here. It is either you know it or you don’t and you are shown the way out,” he said.

The provost also spoke on the rivalry among professionals in the health sector and traced it to the post-Udoji period in the 1970s.

“The question we must ask is `why was there no such rivalry in the early 1970s?

“The rivalry started only after the post-Udoji period when government introduced call duty allowances.

“It (rivalry), revolves around promoting self; creating self.

“Doctors, pharmacists, nurses, medical laboratory scientists and other workers in the health sector should be treated equally and should be on one ladder.

“Doctors spend seven years to qualify; scientists spend six years. So, the difference should be the entry level, but the allowances should be the same because they do the same work and take the same risks.

“As health professionals, they all do `call duty’; so we must strive to minimise any discrimination so as to curtail tension and mutual suspicion among the workers,” he said.

Etukudoh urged government to consistently remind health workers that going into the health sector was a matter of choice, hence the need to be subjected to the needs and peculiarities of their job and calling.

“They (health workers) should be tuned to render service to mankind; the extant rules should be enforced because we are not supposed to go on strike.

“Going on strike means abandoning the patients, after swearing to serve them and save lives.

“Our petty and selfish demands should not tamper with that vow,” he said.