Adesina, others rue poor medical diagnosis, canvass PPP
EXPERTS have berated the poor state of medical diagnosis across the federation, even as they have canvassed for the deployment of public-private partnership (PPP) initiative to curb the trend.
In the face of dilapidating health systems, majority of health laboratories in Nigeria have continued to deliver suboptimal. Many of them perform poorly as a result of dilapidated infrastructure, quackery, and poor development and implementation of quality management systems (QMS).
These challenges have continued in spite of the Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation (SLMTA) programme developed some years ago to foster laboratory quality improvement and accelerated the World Health Organisation, Africa Regional Office (WHO AFRO) accreditation process in Nigeria and other African countries.
But the experts, who spoke recently during a Diagnostic Awareness Forum organised by Initiative for Medical Diagnostic Awareness (IMDA) in Lagos, said a PPP model might make the needed difference in the field of medical diagnosis in Nigeria. The theme of the event was Diagnostic Business Forum.
Lagos State Special Adviser on Public Health, Dr Yewande Adeshina, stated that the need to find urgent solution to the challenge of medical misdiagnosis could not be overemphasised, as when mishandled, “medical diagnosis, which is the identification of the nature and cause an illness, may jeopardise effective healthcare management and delivery.”
Adeshina, who praised the forum for creating enabling environment for stakeholders to discuss challenges confronting medical diagnosis, regretted that “precise and apposite diagnostic is at low ebb in clinical management and practice in Nigeria”, adding that “empirical treatment seems to be more embraced than evidence-based medicine.”
She blamed the phenomenon on lack of public and private sector coordination, commercial pressures in the private sector, ill-motivating work environment and lack of concerted planning.
Adeshina, who said that “the healthcare sector in Nigeria is currently on life support,” said it is time “ we considered the private-public partnership (PPP) in health sector” to revive the sector, and provide quality healthcare Nigerians deserved.
IMDA Executive Director, Abimbola Adekoya, explained that the forum was planned to assess the major barriers to the development of healthcare delivery service in country.
Adekoya listed some of the barriers to include poor funding, inadequate infrastructure, limited access to new technology and poor link with development partners, adding, “no wonder foreigners have taken over the diagnostic sector in the name of partnership.”
Managing Director of Union Diagnostic, Dr Olusola Akinniyi, said although medical diagnosis has the capacity to save lives, “healthcare providers in developing countries, like ours, lack basic diagnostic tools that would have been taken for granted in developed countries.”
Akinniyi hinged the solution to the challenges bedeviling the sector on collaboration between donors, industries and the public sector.
Akinniyi said: “ In order to achieve the best possible medical outcome, advanced diagnostic examinations need to be applied to diagnose the patients’ underlying health problems precisely.
“According to the Registrar of the Medical Laboratory Science Council (MLSC), Prof. Anthony Emeribe, there are over 10,000 medical laboratories in the country. Unfortunately, most of them operate below global standards. Even worse, only a meagre 3,000 medical laboratory are said to be in the council’s national database.”