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Lab Scientists Decry Working Conditions, Pay 

By Chris Mbunwe — Members of Cameroon Association of Medical Laboratory Science, CAMELS, have decried poor working conditions and remunerations. They also complained of the absence of professional code of ethics, recruitment of unqualified personnel to work in medical diagnostic laboratories by government and other malpractices.

These issues were raised at CAMELS’ 11th Scientific and 13th General Assembly in Bamenda recently. Addressing the Representative of the Minister of Public Health at the 2 day conference, the National President of CAMELS, Patrick Joseph Chattad, enumerated several problems that impede effective healthcare delivery in Cameroon.

He listed poor training conditions for Medical Laboratory professionals, ill adapted curricular to the current evolution of Biomedical Laboratory Science, unauthorised training institutions, poor laboratory facilities and safety environment, importation and marketing of expired and substandard kits, reagents chemicals and equipment. According to Chattad, the non- inexistence of an appropriate legal framework, which empowers medical laboratory professionals to check the practice in Cameroon is the reason for the several problems militating against good medical laboratory practice.

He regretted that CAMELS has communicated all these problems to government since 2006, but till date no favourable response has been received. “We humbly appeal to the Minister of Public Health to ensure that a commission examines the texts for a bill organising the Medical Laboratory Science profession in Cameroon, including a national Council for its professionals.

He said such a Council will; serve as a link between the Ministry of Health and the professionals, design training for medical professionals, establish certification guidelines and provide annual practicing licenses to members. Drawing inspiration from this  year’s theme; “the Medical Laboratory Science Profession in an emerging Cameroon- the way forward”, Chattad said it was timely because, he believes the powers that be will find solutions to the several problems militating against the provision of high quality medical diagnostic service in Cameroon.

On behalf of the Minister of Public Health, the Deputy Director in charge of Laboratories in the Ministry, Francois Xavier Mbopi Reou, said he was aware of the problems Medical Laboratory Science face, and promised to follow-up the creation of a National Council for Medical Laboratory Science. He equally promised to support CAMELS projects, especially with the proposed CAMELS- ICPD and trainings.

He said he was impressed with the massive turnout and membership of CAMELS, and told them not to lose hope. Earlier, the Northwest Regional President of CAMELS, Emmanuel Abang, said the level of any development in a country is measured by the standard of her healthcare delivery

First published in The Post print edition no 01480

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