AMLSN rejects Medical and Dental Practitioners re-enactment Bill

Calls for withdrawal of bill before NASS

THE Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) has rejected the Medical and Dental Practitioners Re-enactment Bill before the National Assembly and called on the legislatures to, in line with the National Industrial Court (NIC) and other stakeholders, reject the bill.

While calling on the National Assembly to withdraw the bill, the association said part of the provisions of the bill are in conflict with the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) Act.

National President of AMLSN Prof. James Damen, spoke on the controversial bill after the emergency meeting called to brainstorm on pressing issues that have direct bearing on the practice of Medical Laboratory Science in the country.

Prof. Damen said: “NEC expresses deep concern over the Medical and Dental Practitioners (MDP) Re-enactment Bill currently undergoing review at the National Assembly because parts of it are in conflict with the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) Act. What the MDP re-enactment bill is asking the National Assembly to do is what the National Industrial Court (NIC) in Nigeria has rejected from the eyes of the law on many occasions.

“NEC, to this end, calls upon the National Assembly to follow suit and reject the bill in line with the submissions of National Universities Commission (NUC), Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU), Assembly of Healthcare Professional Association (AHPA) and the generality of Nigerians.”

Besides, the association called on the Senate President, Ahmed Lawal to immediately replace the current Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Dr. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, “who doubles as the sponsor of the proposed amendment of the Medical and Dental Practitioners (MDP) Re-enactment Bill 2020, in view of his clear lack of objectivity, clear bias and preferred interest on the bill.”

Prof. Damen explained further that Dr. Oloriegbe is a medical doctor and a sponsor of the bill, hence, “for morality, he can’t chair and lead the public hearing. He is an interested party.

“We were at the National Assembly during the hearing and we see how biased he was. He did not allow our members and affiliates to make contributions, he is serving Nigerians there and not the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).”

The AMLSN national president said: “NEC regrets that the Nigerian health space has been turned into an acrimonious war zone by medical doctors whose insistence on leadership of the system from the hospitals to the ministries and to every health-related committee has created more harm and calls unbundling of the system to have other health professionals man these leadership position as history has shown that the system functioned better in this respect.

“Synergy among health professionals would help create a better working environment, which is important to patient-centered healthcare delivery and safety. The leadership of World Health Organisations, as we speak, is under a laboratory specialist, with bias in public health, not a physician.”

On the issue of COVID-19 and vaccines production, he assured Nigerians that as medical laboratory scientists who are skilled in knowledge and techniques of vaccine production, “we are ready to start the development and production of indigenous vaccines against SARS-Cov-2 in collaboration with other stakeholders and indeed all other infectious diseases.”

Prof. Damen, however, demanded for more funding, saying that “all we need is adequate funding and necessary laboratory infrastructure.”

He commended the Federal Government for the passion demonstrated so far in up-scaling laboratory infrastructure during this COVID-19 era as seen with the establishment of over 70 molecular biology laboratories in the country.

Pro. Damen advised that the Federal Government can take it a step further by reactivating human vaccine production laboratories in Nigeria as the world is constantly being challenged by emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.

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