Ghana Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists (GAMLS), is the sole professional body for all Medical Laboratory Scientists in Ghana, with over four thousand (4000) membership across the country working in various public, quasi-government, security agencies and private hospital's laboratories, medical research institutions (such as Noguchi & KCCR), as well as in academia performing key roles that are geared towards promoting optimal health for the people of Ghana.
The President (Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo), of Ghana stated in his 8th address to the country on COVID-19, "Just as the virus has disrupted our daily lives, it has also exposed the deficiencies of our healthcare system, because of years of under-investment and neglect."
One of such NEGLECT is the lack of policies regarding medical laboratory practice in Ghana. The documents (Health Laboratory Policy, Medical Laboratory Accreditation Policy and Strategic Planning) developed by the Ministry of Health with support from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA (CDC) have been ready since 2013 and left on the SHELF.
The Government of Ghana has long recognized that the nation’s most valuable resource is its human capital. Ensuring that Ghanaians live productive lives has, therefore, remained central to government policies and programmes in all sectors.
This commitment is expressed in the health policy of the nation, which prioritises access to quality health services to all people living in Ghana. Access to quality health care includes access to improved medical care, which in turn relies on effective diagnostic services.
The provision of satisfactory analytical results from the laboratory for the purposes of diagnosis, treatment, prevention of disease and for greater understanding of disease processes forms an essential component of the efforts to improve quality in health care delivery.
A sound and efficient network of laboratories as an integral part of the health care system is thus seen as critical in the provision of an effective and efficient national health care delivery system.
The demand for optimum laboratory services will remain ever increasing from both clinical and public health perspectives. With the reorganization of the health sector, the need for a national policy for health laboratory services with the aim of raising the standard of laboratory practice in support of health care delivery has become urgent.
This document outlines the policy and management guidelines in the establishment, operation and management of health laboratory services in Ghana.
If not the neglect, about 20 Medical Laboratories in Ghana would have been upgraded to test for COVID-19 by now. Who is responsible and allowed this to happen to Ghana?
The Rationale For a Health Laboratory Policy
The health laboratories in Ghana have experienced tremendous growth in the demand for service which has not been entirely satisfied either qualitatively or
Developments in the health sector has led to a shift of emphasis from
basic activities to more complex services, which require data provided by the laboratories for more effective program design, implementation and monitoring.
The need to strengthen and expand health laboratory and blood transfusion services to provide the required support is seen as critical.
"Without the NHLP, we cannot achieve the desired goals in our health system", the PMRO, MLS Dr Dennis Adu-Gyasi, opined.
By: Kelly West
Medical Laboratory SCIENTISTS