The Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) has been described as a driving force in quality management in the health sector. The Hon. Minister of State for Health, Dr. Adeleke Mamora, made this assertion while receiving the Certificate of Accreditation (ISO IEC 17043:2010) presented to MLSCN National External Quality Assessment Laboratory (NEQAL) Saye, Zaria Kaduna State by the South African National Accreditation Service (SANAS). The ceremony which also witnessed the commissioning of the National Laboratory Equipment Calibration Center (NaLECC) owned by MLSCN and funded by the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) with technical support from IHVN.
Mamora extolled MLSCN virtues for laying bare its processes and procedures to a third- party – the South African National Accreditation Service during the rigorous, formidable and laudable road to accreditation. “You are leading by example and showing that you understand what the process requires,” he said, adding that the “accreditation of NEQAL will go a long way to inspire confidence in MLSCN External Quality Assessment program and also strengthen the Council towards actualizing its mandate”.
While also commissioning NaLECC which was done simultaneously, the Minister emphasized the importance of Laboratory Equipment Calibration which he said is the bane of accurate diagnosis. “Despite the level of competency and experience, without the right working equipment there won’t be an optimal result,” he said, even as he called on stakeholders and laboratory users to patronize NEQAL and NaLECC with a view to achieving accurate diagnosis.
Meanwhile, the minister also expressed appreciation to the implementing partners for their support and prayed for a sustained relationship between them and MLSCN, assuring that the Federal government was fully committed to improving the quality of health care available to the citizenry.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman, MLSCN Governing Board, Prof Muhammad Yelwa Gwarzo said he was gratified that the milestone was achieved by MLSCN during his tenure as the Chairman. He hailed the tenacity, hard work and professionalism of the staff of NEQAL and the implementing partners, whom, he said, were “dogged and committed” in their quest to achieve accreditation. “Your commitment to standard and quality has paved the way to success,” he said, urging the citizenry to look into the future with confidence as they are now sure of quality medical laboratory diagnosis with the accreditation of NEQAL and the commissioning of NaLECC.
In his welcome address, the Registrar/CEO, Dr. Tosan Erhabor recalled, that “it seemed easier for the proverbial camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for medical laboratory facilities to willingly key into any external quality assessment program some years ago.” This narrative, he said, had now changed as the National External Quality Assessment Laboratory had begun to revolutionize the external quality process in the health laboratory system in Nigeria. According to him, several facilities across Nigeria had already enrolled and many are still enrolling in the MLSCN EQA program.
Erhabor, who decried the failure of most of the public health facilities to participate in the EQA/PT scheme with few exceptions being those supported by PEPFAR, appealed to the Federal Ministry of Health to assist MLSCN in advocacy drive to CEOs of various government-owned hospitals on the essence of enrolling their laboratories in the MLSCN Proficiency Testing (PT) scheme for quality assurance of their laboratory results.
On the National Laboratory Equipment Calibration Center, the Registrar noted that the center was founded to ensure the calibration of medical instruments and ancillaries, which he said could help maintain the integrity of equipment or instruments involved in the process of diagnosis. He, therefore, called on all stakeholders to support MLSCN to overcome the issue of uncalibrated equipment/instrument in the health sector by supporting the center so as to restore confidence in the results emanating from our laboratories.