-Asks NHIS to revise operational guidelines
– Wants end to multiple taxes
– Says members yet to access CBN Covid-19 intervention fund
By Sabinus Elemba, Owerri.
The national executive council of the Guild of Medical Laboratory Directors (GMLD) of the Medical Laboratory Private Sector in Nigeria says it is committed to the principle of universal health coverage.
As a result, the guild has called on the Nigerian Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to revise its operational guidelines to include the private sector laboratories in health insurance service provision to Nigerians.
GMLD said that the Nigerian private medical laboratories have installed capacity that is grossly under-utilized by the health care system including managed-care, National Health Insurance Scheme/States Health Insurance Schemes, and Public Health Disease Management Surveillance.
They said the federal ministry of health and the relevant ministers, departments and agencies (MDAs) should therefore leverage and optimize this available capacity.
This move to strengthen the health sector and include the private sector labs in the health insurance service to all Nigerians was one of the resolutions taken after their annual general conference/annual general meeting where a new executive council was elected.
The four-day retreat of the national executive council of the Guild of Medical Laboratory Directors was held at Falak Grand Hotel, Garki 2, Abuja.
The retreat was aimed at capacity building, strategic courtesy visits as well as harmonising work-plans to further the aims of the Guild.
In a communique issued after the conference, signed by Prince Elochukwu Adibo who is the national President of GMLD Nigeria, Dr. Aminu Suleiman, the national vice president (North West) for the communique team and Samuel Oludare Fele, the national Secretary -General which was made available to journalists, the NEC inter alia highlighted its resolutions and positions of the Abia 2020 ANC/AGM .
Saying that the healthcare provision is a humanitarian service to a large extent, and to this, the conference noted that the tax authorities at the local, state and national levels would have to streamline the tax system and remove multiple taxes in order to alleviate the huge burdens of small scale private medical laboratories practices in the country.
About sickle cell disease which formed a focal point the ABIA 2020 ANC/ AGM, the Guild said the disease had remained a public health menace that required strategic intervention for eradication. It said the Laboratory Private Sector group could bring this about by conducting pre-marital counseling, quantitative and qualitative hemoglobin Hb+ electrophoresis tests for neonatal and general diagnosis.
On COVID-19 pandemic, “GMLD commended frontline health workers who responded to the national call to support Nigeria and the world at large in the fight to stop the SARS-CoV-2-Virus . This pandemic exposed our inadequacies as a country, in terms of testing capacities but some GMLD members have joined the network to help ramp up testing”.
It also noted that the “Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Covid -19 intervention fund is still not accessible to health facilities especially medical laboratories, but called on members of the public, our members and all other frontline health workers to increase compliance and observe the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) protocols and guidelines for COVID-19”.