Midlu Speaks On Clash Between Association Medical Lab Scientists And The Management Of FMC Yola
There has been an alleged clash of identity and significance, the consequences of which the Association of Medical Laboratory scientists challenged, as aimed at demeaning their venerated and revered profession.
Though the case is currently before the competent court of law, the Association felt it worthwhile, to take it out of its ring to public glare through the spectacle of the press as the fourth arbiter.
IBRAHIM UMARU MIDLU is the National Chairman National Presidential Committee of the Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria, he shared the issue on Monday October 29, 2018 with the “SAFIYA” a popular live discussion programme on TV Gotel, where Chris and Yetunde anchored the programme.
The media on facts finding tried to reach out to the management of the Federal Medical Centre, Yola for their side of the story but couldn’t up till this moment. However, on condition of anonymity, a top management staff said, the matter was already before the court of law and that it would amount to contempt of court going public through the press on the issue.
Meanwhile, the Newshawk Investigate, for a preamble, found it worthy to share the issues and allegations raised by the representative of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists, Adamawa state.
The Periscope global investigate, has taken reference from the unedited transcribed excerpt as compiled by the Newshawk of the Safiya a TV Gotel discussion programme. Midlu has equally clarified some rather unclear areas on Tuesday November 20, 2018 to the Periscope Investigate:
NEWMEN: Away from the education matters to health issues, there is a pending labour issue between Laboratory Scientists at the Federal Medical Centre, Yola and the management: To throw light on the crisis, we have in the studio the Chairman National Presidential Committee, Association of the Medical Scientists of Nigeria Mr. Ibrahim Umaru Midlu.
Good morning. Can you let us through what is currently going on between the management and laboratory scientists of Federal Medical Centre Yola?
MIDLU: Am… actually, the Medical Laboratory Scientists and the management of Federal Medical Centre, Yola in Adamawa state have been on a serious crisis since 17th August, 2018, when the management released a memo in respect of establishing a Department of Laboratory Medicine; suggestive of a point that Department of Medical Laboratory Services rather than operate as an entity, will now be subservient to the former, which could simply be subscribed as a corrosive erosion reared to dampen the morale of a workforce in a work place by suppression.
Our attention was drawn to the development at a state level,which we equally forwarded to the National Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria.
To be able to address the issue technically at an in-house level, the national president set up a committee and appointed me as the chairman of that particular committee towards ensuring that the association has a solidified relationship with the management of FMC Yola, which we have been enjoying since the last administration of Dr. Danburam Ali as the medical director of the hospital, where rivalry in a workplace wasn’t much pronounced, every professional was respected and the spirit of teamwork was enshrined typical of a one big family.
You know how demoralising it is when somebody tells you that you are insignificant, dispensable, immaterial and that your profession should no longer exist.
Our argument is that medical laboratory services department, is backed by law. It has a working document approved by the federal government of Nigeria, which passed through the national assembly; both the lower and upper chambers have jointly signed it into law far back during the former president Olusegun Obasanjo regime, making as a working document.
We argued that establishing a laboratory medicine isn’t a problem. subordinating medical laboratory scientists who have a well established and recognised by law line of profession and/or abrogating by regarding it as one without functionability, an individual with his team is trying to nurture, is the issue.
To direct that the director of medical laboratory services should handover the department and be subordinated to a pathologist, is rather unacceptable.
You see, these are anomalies in this country that we are trying to call the attention of people to know that it is not like before. We are not in a lawless society; law should be respected.
If a management wants to establish department of laboratory medicine in FMC, there are procedures, there are guiding laws on how to get to actualise the mission without abrogating a previous law that established a medical laboratory science.
The two professions can operate as it should be, as independent entity as much as they can coexist while rendering healthcare delivery service in a kind of symbiotic relationship. The point lies in the patient satisfaction rather than master- servant or relationship of professionals in mutual antagonism.
So, as the chairman of the committee, I invited other members, we had a meeting. You know, in everything, they say, document speaks.
We sat with our lawyer and wrote series of memos to the management of FMC Yola. However, the management fantastically snubbed the correspondences, arguing that the state branch does not have right to write them.
We said that this is the matter that affects a profession and not just the professionals. We have union with chain of command: we have the local chapter, we have the state branch and then the national. The latter for which we are answerable to, has given us a responsibility.
We are not however, in any friction with the management. We simply are advocating for due process, to rectify the anomaly.
The statement credited to the management to derogate the department of Medical Laboratory Services and to establish Laboratory Medicine sounds conflicting without responsibilities and chain of command being clearly spelt out based on established laws.
NEWSMEN: Laboratory Medicine can be on its own…
MIDLU: Yes! Laboratory Medicine can be on its own and be headed by whosoever the management would want to appoint. But not to come and abrogate an existing law that established the Medical Laboratory Services Unit or department insisting that it should be headed by a pathologist; That is where the pains of a professional lies.
We wrote about seven different memos to the management as I said earlier, we copied to the board. We even wrote to the law enforcement agency and copied the ministry of health.
We explored all other means to see that this issue is resolved. However, it appeared that the management of FMC Yola has given a deft ear to it. This issue of I too know. I want to have a name. You see, it does not call for.
NEWSMEN: What seems to be the difference between Medical Laboratory Services right, and Laboratory Medicine?
MIDLU: You see, Laboratory Medicine, is a diagnostic specialty in medicine that is headed by a pathologist. It deals with the interpretation of laboratory diagnosis for the usage of the patients. It is independent of Medical Laboratory Science.
NEWSMEN: And the Medical Laboratory Scientist?
MIDLU: The Medical Laboratory Scientist has a core responsibility by law. Not on the wayside, by law establishing it. like I earlier said.
If you are trying to bring teaching hospital, there’s a law, not to abrogate an existing structure of an established organisation, a professional who is, who have by law, been established as a Medical Laboratory Scientist.
Like I said earlier, we are trying to mitigate the issue. The management seemed to take diverse measures to the extent of trying to victimise even our colleagues.
In fact, as I’m talking to you now, the director of the medical laboratory services of FMC Yola is under a three months suspension consequent upon this issue.
He was directed by the management of FMC Yola to handover the leadership of the department and be answerable to a pathologist?
We asked why and in response, the director was served with multiple rather unnecessary queries…
NEWSMEN: In the course of all these, have you been able to call the national body?
MIDLU: Yes, we did. To that effect, the national body sent a team member to meet the MD with the management of FMC Yola.
The team member was comprehensively, without being apprehensive, extensively, elaborate in explaining how it ought to be, how the issue is to be handled without shortchanging any party.
NEWSMEN: Has it made any impact?
MIDLU: It was dumped at the dialogue table I think. You know you cannot be interested in the revenue generated from the services rendered by medical laboratory scientists and still superimposed someone to thwart the effort by twisting the nomenclature it would dampen the morale of the service providers.
The board members, met two weeks ago in Yola with our colleagues. I wasn’t in the country by then. So, they did extensively tell the members of the board, how medical laboratory scientists were about being suppressed.
Medical Doctors would come to the lab and say yes, if you don’t know, we are going to take your department, it no longer exist. If you don’t know we have already, Ghana must go have already been shared to the board members, so they are under the authority of the…
NEWSMEN: Is this a statement of fact?
MIDLU: That is the statement medics are saying, trying to see how they mock the lab scientists. That the department of medical laboratory services would not be existing anymore and that lab scientists would be technically reduced to mere technicians. Despite the intimidation, we still maintain the tempo and respecting the existing law, follow the principle of how to solve the issue diplomatically rather than being arrogantly confrontational.
On that note, the board members were even surprised that the issue would be dragged up to this point at all being that the management lacked superior submission on the matter because, we, our lawyers, at the national level, went to court of law following which injunction was served restraining the management of hospitals from abrogating what was established by law.
We have seven documents, which we have gotten court judgements in favour of Medical Laboratory Scientists on the same matter that the management of FMC Yola is raising.
We presented to the board members, the seven viable documents. Seven court judgements in favour, yet the management of FMC Yola couldn’t honour it.
So, when the board members went through the documents, they told the management of the FMC that, having won seven cases, status co should be maintained and that the issue be resolve amicably.
However, after, the board members left on a Friday, the next thing we could see on Monday, was a suspension letter released to the director of laboratory services on alleged issue relating the validity of age. This is somebody who has been working for the past twelve years and nothing was found against him, but since he couldn’t handover his position to a pathologist, uncalled for allegations were raised against him.
You see, like I told you earlier, that we have written to the national, to the federal government, to the minister of health, so what we are trying to do now, as the chairman of the committee, I’ve sought, I’ve even called the management, the MD himself, and I’ve spoken with the, I think one of the doctors too, I’ve spoken with couple of them.
But with that memo the management of FMC has released on Monday, suspending the director of the laboratory services, I think it means, they don’t want to resolve the issue. I think they thought that action, would demoralise us.
The national body is on it already. No any scientist in Adamawa state is going to pay penny for this case. The case is already in court of law.
I however want to assure our colleagues that they should be calm and law abiding. Gradually and gradually, this case will be resolved.
As the chairman of the committee, I have resolved to see that we write the national assembly; the speaker and the senate president inviting them to come and investigate not only this issue, there are many. When you do a nocturnal employment in a place of work against due process, when procurement act is not adhered to…
When you say you want to dig on an individual, be careful to know that, some people also know about you and your constraints
NESMEN: Weaknesses (Interrupted)
MIDLU: ,Yes! When you want to create a teaching hospital, there is a law but alleging that it is the indigene of Adamawa state you call Ibrahim Umaru that is against the establishment of teaching hospital. I think you are insulting my personality and that of the entire medical laboratory scientists in Adamawa.
We are not against upgrading of FMC Yola to teaching hospital. We want Adamawa state to begin medicine.
Few days ago, we heard a new DG Nigerian Law School an indigene of Adamawa state during a reception that was organised in his honour, requesting that a MAUTECH should be made a conventional university, to be able to open up for other courses so that a befitting faculty of law and medical college could be established.
We are advocating for that. People must be told the truth; we are not against a teaching hospital. In fact, how can medical laboratory scientists frustrate the establishment of teaching hospital?
The point is that the medics want to reduce the leadership in hospitals in Nigeria to medical doctor centred. They want to head every unit and department in the hospitals. That’s the issue.
NEWMEN: This is just getting one side of the discussion. We definitely will approach the management of the hospital to also get their own side.
MIDLU: Thank you, I will continue to feed you with necessary information as time unfolds and if the management decided to call us for dialogue, we’ll definitely give you the update. However, as I’m talking to you, up till today, the management has not called us to say let’s discus this.