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.
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.