The Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS) has asked the government to constitute and inaugurate the Allied Health Professionals Council (AHPC) board, to ensure that qualified Laboratory Scientists are recruited into public health institutions.
According to Dr Ignatius Awinibuno, President of the association, the absence of the board, among other things, had led to the recruitment of unqualified Medical Laboratory Scientists into public health institutions.
Apart from the emergence of sub-standard training institutions, he said the AHPC had also been exposed to “corporate governance violations and external interference by many interest groups”, due to lack of effective oversight by the board in the last two years.
Dr Awinibuno, in an address to commemorate International Biomedical Laboratory Science (IBLS) Day, in Accra, suggested that about 30 per cent of persons posted by the Health Ministry as Medical Laboratory Scientists had no licence to practice the profession.
“These persons had studied programmes that were not approved by the Allied Health Professionals Council but were being employed to handle and test human samples. This is an offence and must not be allowed to persist,” he noted.
Dr Awinibuno, therefore, called on the AHPC and the Health Facilities Regulatory Agency (HEFRA) to help curb “the criminal act and save the public from further harm”.
He insisted that the existence of unlicensed persons in the sector was a threat to public health, hence the association would consider legal action against institutions and unlicensed practitioners in the sector.
The celebration on the theme: ‘Non-Communicable Diseases: The Role of Biomedical Laboratory Scientists in Detection, Screening and Treatment,’ was to help increase awareness on the role of Medical Laboratory Scientists in health care.
Professor Nafiu Amidu, Dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences at the University for Development Studies, in his address, encouraged the government to sponsor research into non-communicable diseases, and also employ adequate personnel to augment the existing Laboratory Health Scientists in the country.
He also called for increased education to help reduce the incidence of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, among others, adding that public laboratories should be allowed to retain part of their internally generated funds.
Dr Samuel Kaba Koyirea, Director, Institutional Care Division, Ghana Health Service, said it was time to halt the alarming trend of non-communicable diseases among the general public.
While urging the association to sustain the fight against unlicensed persons, he noted that the ministry would ensure improvement in the service conditions of Medical Laboratory Scientists, as they continued to play critical roles in the sector.
By Ernest Nutsugah