Injustice and intimidation: Medical Laboratory Scientists to head Service Lab in hospitals. not Pathologists

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By: Joy Odor/Kaduna

The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Kaduna State Branch and the Nineteen Northern States has demanded that the Commissioner, Ministry of Health, Dr. Paul Dogo  should redeploy their twelve members deployed to the ministry of health back to Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital with immediate effect.

The Chairman of the Association, Mr. Hosea Thomas Zagi who made the demand during their protest at the Ministry of Health premises on Monday in Kaduna, North-West, Nigeria stated that the Ministry deployed the members because the Association refused the injustice and intimidation melted on them by the ministry due to issue between the Medical Laboratory Scientists (MLS) and the Pathologists at the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital.

The Public Relations Officer of the Association, Mr. Caleb Kantiyok who spoke on behalf of the Chairman, informed the media that all the members of the Association were at the protest to drive home their plight with encryption on some of placard which read “Behind Crises is injustice!, We are not recalcitrant!, we say No to professional blackmail!!, No to professional injustice!, we are law abiding professional!, we are not Anti-Govt!, injury to one is injury to all”.

According to him, the Association has been melt with injustice, harassment and intimidation in Barau Dikko teaching hospital and found it needful for their voice to be heard, saying there has been issues going on at the teaching hospital and they have tried their best through writing of several letters to the ministries and to Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Naris El-Rufai regarding the true structure of the laboratory.

“We realized that there are people that wanted to deprive Governor El-Rufai the real truth about the issue that is why we find it necessary to stage the protest for justice to be done.

“Committee was set up by the Governor to see that the issues was settled on Thursday but to their surprise, the association did not know that there are interior motive and counter directive of what Governor El-Rufia had directed to be done by the committee.

“On Thursday at about 5: Pm in the evening, some of our members were called with text messages that they should report to the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital (BDTH) in the morning of Friday and on reaching there, letters was served to them with the letterhead paper of BDTH with an attached letter as conveyed in the Kaduna State Ministry of Health and Human Services in a memo with number, Ref: MOH/ADM/56/6.”to be redeployed back to the ministry without any reason.

“Upon investigation, the letter was written with unacceptable bold heading saying “Need to Redeploy some recalcitrant ministry of health staff attached to BDTH  back to the ministry of health”. The association then call on the attention of the State Branch and the state call the attention of the National body and with further investigation, non-of the staff have any warning, query or found wanting in his files in discharging their duties.

“What belong to every professional should be given to them such as privileges, rights, professional autonomy and professional sanctity of medical laboratory Scientists of Nigeria as a profession should not be taken away.

“The said dispute is a subject of litigation at the National Industrial Court ( NIC). “We therefore, cannot comment on the merit or otherwise of the substantive matter pending in court. However, we condemn the appalling fabrication and the misrepresentation of the characters of our colleagues at BDTH to justify calculated actions to intimidate and harass them.”

The Association therefore expressed dismay over the action taken by the Ministry of Health and the improper use of language tagged to their members as recalcitrant staff without any obvious reasons which are image denting to the association and the profession at large.

According to them, the see the action as victimization, intimidation and above all professional harassment not only to the highly staff but to the medical laboratory profession in general and called for the immediate withdrawal of the work Recalcitrant as used on the members with apology to the affected staff.

They also called for the reversal of the ill-conceived redeployment exercise and demand justice and rule of law at the Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital as they will resist any attempt to victimize any of their members as a result of lawful struggles.

Responding, the Director of Medical Laboratory Services in the Ministry, Mrs. Felicia Anthony Kure appreciated the coming of the Association to air their grievance at the Ministry, saying the ministry is all aware of the dispute but that the Commissioner is not on sit to address their grievance, urging them to go back home.

According to her, the management of the ministry will met and deliberate on the matter which the Association’s officials will be informed on the outcome and the next line of action.

However, upon further investigation by Report Circle, it was discovered, that in the dispute, the Pathologists wanted to take over the Service Laboratory and head it but the MLS refused their interiors motive stated that it is contrary to Act 11 of 2003 of MLSCN which resulted to the redeployment of the key senior and most experience personnel members at the BDTH.

The action has led to inadequate functioning  and paralyzed laboratory services at the BDTH since last week

According to our investigation, Pathologists are not Medical Laboratory Scientists and as such cannot head the service laboratory and are not license to do so but by virtue of profession, the MLS are the rightful ones to head the service Laboratory as provided in the Act and scheme of service.

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