The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, Kaduna State Branch, on Tuesday asked the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to critically investigate all imported food items to reduce the risk of diseases getting into unsuspected Nigerian consumers.
A former president of the association, Dr Toyosi Y Raheem, made the call during an interview with newsmen at the sideline of a five-day 2nd annual scientific conference and workshop themed: “Critical Roles of Medical Laboratory Science Practice: Health Security Equals Wealth”, holding at National Ear Care Centre Auditorium.
Toyosi who served as the keynote speaker at the conference noted that the call became necessary because 99 per cent of deaths and disability rates are attributed to diseases, hence, the need for all hands to be on deck to reduce the trend.
“Some of the imported food items into the country are disease enablers and need proper investigation even before or as soon as they come into this country.
“Of course, there are agencies of government that regulate food safety whether they are genetically modified or in organic form as soon as they are brought into the country and if care is not taken, some of the imported food items could be sources of diseases.
“That was why the topic I treated addressed various ways thereby these diseases can be transferred or get to humanity and one of such areas is through imported food items. Those regulatory authorities especially NAFDAC have a very critical role in investigating all imported food items and ensuring they are safe for human consumption. But, there is nowhere they can investigate these foods except in the laboratory which is why we are very relevant”, he added.
Chairman of the conference and chairman, House Committee on Health, Plateau State House of Assembly, MLS Nambol Listick, said there is a need for improved health financing on the part of the government and improved skills and knowledge on the part of the laboratory scientists to build a healthy and wealthy population.
“What we are doing here in these few days is to meet so that we can meet up with improved quality services in the lab. Biosafety is the in thing now and that means there is a need for improved health financing.
“Participants are expected to go and improve on their data, lobby for health financing, build human resource, lobby for human recruitment and availability of laboratory equipment to do this work”, said.
Earlier, the chairman of the association in Kaduna, Lawal Taofeek Babsalam, said: “At the end of the conference, we do expect that MLSs who are participants would have added to their knowledge to improve on services renders to the clients and to report in the event of any new pathogen identified through the system that has been made available by the government so that we can join hands in managing such.”
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