As Nigeria battle with COVID-19 testing across the country, Medical Laboratory scientists have blamed the increasing misdiagnosis in laboratory practice on wrong reagents, equipment, and lack of enabling environment. To this end, the ISN Products Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s leading supplier of Medical Diagnostic Products and Services, has flagged off the inaugural edition of the ISN Medical Laboratory Scientist of the Year Award; aimed at recognising and rewarding the unsung heroes (Medical Laboratory Scientists) of medical practice in Nigeria. Speaking at the flag-off in Lagos, the Executive Director, ISN Products Nigeria Limited, Mr. Felix Ofungwu, also explained that the award was to promote quality laboratory practice, encourage professionalism among practitioners and reduce rising cases of misdiagnosis.
He regretted that misdiagnosis occurs when the scientists used wrong reagents and equipment or the absence of testing before treatment. Describing Medical Laboratory Scientists as the Unsung Heroes of the Medical practice, he said the award was instituted as part of the company’s contribution towards encouraging and promoting excellence amongst Medical Laboratory Scientists. “Medical Laboratory Scientists are the bedrock of the medical practice as all others including the Doctors, Nurses and Pharmacists rely on their diagnosis to provide quality healthcare and treatment,” he said. Stating that the entry for the award opened Wednesday, June 24, 2020, and would close on August 22, 2020, he said: “Interested medical laboratory scientists are to download the form from ISN’s website; www.isnmedical.com for free. He enjoined applicants to complete the form and submit it for verification and evaluation by the jury. On eligibility, he stated that an applicant must have the requisite academic qualification, must be registered with the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), and must be working in a registered Laboratory or Hospital. Ofungwu disclosed that the Winner of the Award would receive a cash prize of N1 Million, Capacity Development Training, and a donation of Medical Lab Equipment/Reagents worth N1 Million to the Laboratory or Hospital where he or she works. “The first runner-up will receive a cash prize of Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N750, 000.00) and a Capacity Development Training, the second runner-up will receive a cash prize of Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500, 000.00) and a Capacity Development Training while 7 other finalists will receive consolatory prizes of Two Hundred Thousand Naira (N200,000.00) each,” he added. Speaking, the Immediate Past President, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, AMLSN, Dr. Toyosi Raheem, who expressed gratitude on behalf of the association, disclosed that most of 201 diagnostic reagents which found their way into the country in the last four months of the pandemic are performing below standard. According to him, causes of misdiagnosis stem from wrong reagents, equipment, poor environment, unqualified professionals among others. Raheem stated that the award is not only a competition amongst medical laboratory scientists but also an inter-institutional competition because the prizes and rewards will be extended to the institutions wherein the winners work and will also bring recognition to medical laboratories and institutions. In his remarks, the Project Consultant for the Initiative, Mr. Daniel Adewuni noted that entries would be screened and marked by an esteemed panel of judges drawn from both the medical laboratory science profession as well as the media who will select the top 10 finalists and the eventual winners. Adewuni commended the Federal Ministry of Health, the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), and the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) for endorsing the initiative.