Liberian Scientist Underscores Importance of Laboratories in Medical Field

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Mrs. Subah with cross section of the lab technicians at the occasion.

A medical affairs scientist at PREVAIL-Liberia has underscored the importance of laboratory examinations in the medical field before doctors can diagnose patients in any given time.

Dr. Khalipha Bility’s comment was contained in a speech he delivered at a program marking the 42nd anniversary of Liberia Association of Medical Laboratory Technologists (LAMLT), held in Monrovia under the theme, “Diagnosis in the 21st Century: The Role of the Medical Laboratory.”

According to Dr. Bility, there are only 367 registered professionals across the various cadres that are licensed by the Nursing and Midwifery Board.

“It is through lab reports that doctors are better prepared to make advanced and informed diagnosis that will be based on the history of patients’ ailments,” Bility observed.

Lab examination, he said, is the cornerstone of the medical field through specimens, “because when the country suffered the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, specimens from suspected victims were sent out of the country for confirmation.”

The LAMLT, according to one of its founders, Arthur Brown, started in the 1970s, but was not organized until 1976 when it was passed into law by the legislature. The exercise broke down during the war, but was reorganized in 1997 and, since that time, it has remained “fully functional.”

Emmanuel T. Cooper, in a special statement, called on LAMLT’s members to professionally work to restore the lost dignity of the organization, if there were any, and to also strive for professionalism as well as maintaining accountability and transparency whether at work or in leadership.

Cooper then expressed gratitude to authorities of the Ministry of Health (MoH) and to members of all professional bodies for their constant backing of LAMLT through good and challenging times during the past 41 years the organization has existed, with a challenging voyage of transformation.

“Special thanks to our remarkable, consistent and persistent supporters, particularly Jhpiego, whose program is implemented by the Maternal Child Survival Program Human Resource Health (MCSP/HRH) project funded by USAID, without whom pursuit of our mission would not have been possible,” he said.

Human Resource

Mr. Cooper said with the current SOS call for more laboratory professionals, the current estimated statistic for laboratory personnel is about 1,000 trained laboratory professionals, which include national and international professionals.

“We taught to flag this because we lack the logistical capacity to validate the numbers through inspection by site visit. Of the 1,000 personnel, there are only 367 registered professionals across all the various cadres that are licensed by the Board. Documents in our possession show that the Ministry of Health has 467 laboratory persons employed,” Cooper said.

He added, “were we to arrive at a conclusion, it can be clearly stated that there are about a 100 persons, who are in the ministry, employed and practicing without license.”

Mr. Cooper called on recruiting agencies, who are hiring laboratory personnel in their facilities, to request current license from the professionals before hiring them.

This, he said, will help to support the quality system that we all seek to uphold, “because we want to call on the Ministry of Health that is the biggest employer of professionals to do the Liberian people justice by hiring the right professionals with the right credentials.”

Other speakers, including Mrs. Marion Subah, who represented Jhpiego, and Nimba County District #3 lawmaker Joseph Nyan S. Sonwabi, a member of the House Committee on Health, also spoke of the importance of lab examinations to the doctors to avoid treating by speculation.

The program was climaxed with honoring and certification of some of the lab technicians.

4 COMMENTS

  1. OK, Dr. Khalipha Bility, your request is on point. Liberia, like most Third World Countries, lacks the proper training and equipment to actually diagnose certain disease and to pin point illnesses in our populations. The medical field and branch of sciences that are related in curriculum, are a necessity to diagnosing, and treating of diseases. It is based upon that knowledge and data that practitioners and doctors can treat a particular illness with the exact medications and treatment. Treating an illness with the wrong medications has a dial consequence which may lead to fatality, or life long injury to a patient. Training only Labs. technician is 1/4 of the deficiency in our health care program. We need a well advanced science program with related mathematics from middle school, to high school and college program.

    Beginning with middle school, a student should be taught, at least the fundamentals of Micro Biology, A and P (Anatomy a Philology ), if that student is planning to pursue interest in health or medicine. By the beginning of high school, Micro Biology 101, A and P 101 and at least Chem. 101. All these courses should be followed with labs. hrs. Upon completion of high school, the student has already done 2/3 of science courses needed to have an AA ( Associate of Art degree) in any health care field. A satisfactory grade of at least “B” or above should be minimum requirement. Labs. technician field is called “Nuclear Medicine.” Here in Australia, It also falls under HEALTH PROGRAM. Heavy concentration in Chemistry and Physics are required. All health and Pre -Medical programs aspirants should apply with a GPA of not less than 3.00 cumulative in the sciences and Math. A nurse should adequately be in position to read and understand a lab value of “Chem 7”, ( basic Kidney imbalance, kito acidosis) etc..with out the presence of a doctor or advance nurse practitioner (NP). If there is an imbalance of CMP (Comprehensive metabolic panel), that is a deficiency of Blood Glucose level. just to name a few. So….an individual found in the street, or suffering from any form of trauma, taken to a clinic of ER (emergency room) , blood glucose test be drawn follow with a quick labs. test run. The data can be fast printed and various electrolytes shown. These are the basics fundamentals or the ‘ABC’, of health care that leads to advance medicine.

    CATCH 22
    Is our government ready to establish such a program? I say, “YES”.
    In the Science and Medical Fields, we need a robust program to revamp, or over haul our entire system. If we nationalized parts of our private sectors and invest heavily in the fields of Science and Mathematics. It wouldn’t take us too long to get there. The government have to serve as the back bone for subsidizing advance education to it citizens. Most Asian Countries are on that path. China, India,Malaysia, Korea just to name a few.
    I started at the University of Sydney, with secondary course study before applying at the main Campus in 2015. Our standards are far below.
    If our policy makers are up to the task, we can follow the Cuban Model. Prioritize education for all. Let not make education a commodity, that only the wealthy can afford.
    Cuba has less natural resources as compare to us in Liberia/ sub-Saharan Africa. Cuban has more educated people, more doctors per patient ratio, long life expectancy, advance military and security for her citizen. I m only giving Cuba as an example, because of its size.
    Let’s think in the right direction, people. No one can build Liberia for us, but ourselves. We have had a stagnation for a long, long time.

  2. Correction: Nuclear medicine : X-Rays, ultrasound, and other radiographic imaging of the body. Laboratory technician deals with body specimens: blood, mucus and other fluids. To separate the amount of electrolytes. The focus of the topic in the Daily Observer is laboratory technicians.

  3. Thanks to the Daily Observer for the excellent coverage of the program. We are grateful that you came and that you are also letting the world know what we said. One point I like correct is the issue that says we are license by the Nursing and Midwifery Board. We are license by the Liberia Board of Accreditation and Licensure of Medical Laboratory Technology. All others information as provided in the news was exact. Thanks to the team from the Daily Observer.

  4. it was an error on my part to intertwine Nuclear Medicine with Laboratory tech. in my comment. Not the Observer. I hope it is glaringly clear.

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