FG inducts 396 foreign-trained Medical Laboratory Science graduates

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By Franca Ofili

The Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN) has inducted no fewer than 396 foreign trained Medical Laboratory Science graduates.

Dr Tunji Alausa, Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, who spoke during the 11th induction and oath-taking ceremony on Wednesday in Abuja, said the gesture would curb medical tourism and boost the health sector

Alausa, represented by Dr Obi Ugbo, Senior Technical Assistant to the Minister, said that the induction was a crucial step in the efforts of the government to ramp up the training and recruitment of competent, skilled, and versatile manpower for the health sector.

“Suffice it to say that the Federal Government is in a hurry to reposition the health sector to bring it at par with its peers in other countries, especially those we often seek to benchmark.

“The narrative that we spend over 2 billion dollars out of our meagre foreign reserves on health tourism is neither acceptable nor sustainable.

“Therefore, all hands must be on deck to ensure a better narrative and outcome for the health sector.’’

According to him, the process is in line with international best practices.

“It is more gratifying that you do not merely induct new entrants into your profession because they trained abroad, but rightly subject them to a re-training program and subsequent examinations in-country.

“Even other more advanced health systems subject those who trained abroad to new rigorous learning experiences and their being licensed to practice is subject to their passing the prescribed examinations.’’

According to him, the exodus of health professionals in search of so-called greener pastures has led to a significant shortage of personnel required for the growth of the health sector.

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Alausa said that based on recent data, the country had no fewer than 300,000 health professionals attending to the healthcare needs of more than 200 million people.

“This is grossly inadequate and puts enormous pressure on the available workforce.

“Thus, in conjunction with the relevant stakeholders, including MLSCN, the Federal Government is taking the necessary steps to improve and stabilise the health sector.’’

He said he been informed that virtually all council’s processes, including those for the registration of laboratories, as well as licensing had been digitilised.

“I commend and encourage you to keep up the good work,” he said.

Prof. Tosan Erhabor, Registrar, MLSCN, said that the ceremony underscored the desire to foster excellence and professionalism in the council.

Erhabor said that the Act 11 of 2003 mandated council to determine periodically the level of competence to be attained by persons seeking to become medical laboratory scientists.

He said that the council had to review the process of admitting into the profession those who trained outside the country’s shores.

Erhabor appealed to the government to open up the employment space to absorb the young health professionals.

“Doing so will create an incentive for them to stay back and help to reposition the health sector while slowing down the brain drain currently afflicting the sector.

“I wish to reiterate our previous plea to the ministry to establish a centralised pool for the internship posting of fresh medical laboratory scientists.

“That will undoubtedly reduce the current challenges faced by fresh graduates, who are forced to comb the streets in search of internship slots,” he said.

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The inductees promised to put their best and also improve themselves academically.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo

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