The Vice President, Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, has called for a strong leadership to drive laboratory science practice as a central component of the national health systems strategy.

Effective leadership and guidance, he said, were also needed to identify and correct gaps in the quality of service to ensure reliability and reproducibility of laboratory results.

He noted that the creation of a high-level, decentralized and coordinated structure would ensure that health laboratory played a significant role in disease management, control and prevention.

The Vice President made the call in an address read for him at the opening of the annual national delegates? congress of the Ghana Association of Biomedical Laboratory Scientists (GABMLS) at Akyawkrom, near Ejisu, on Thursday.

The three day meeting is on the theme, ?Strengthening medical laboratory services and systems in Ghana: key in promoting quality healthcare delivery?.

Mr Amissah-Arthur said regular supervision of peripheral laboratories was one strategy for maintaining standard laboratory practice, continuing education and mentoring of laboratory staff.

Weak coordination, resulting from lack of formal national networking mechanisms, had resulted in unsupervised district and sub-district level laboratories.

The Vice President said laboratory services could contribute to health care delivery, if the weak laboratory infrastructure was improved, the old equipment replaced, essential reagents and consumables supplied and adequate training given to the staff.

The government had over the last three years paid attention to enhancing the capacity of the public sector to provide quality laboratory services and that was why it had made diagnostic services a critical component of health sector infrastructure development.

Presently, all new projects have an expanded laboratory component while undertaking extensive replacement of old equipment with support from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries? (OPEC).

Reagents and supplies situation are also being improved.

According to Mr Amissah-Arthur, the establishment of the University of Allied Health Sciences would further boost the process by focusing on the holistic development of the medical laboratory sub sector.

He acknowledged that the challenges of health laboratory services in Ghana called for major investments in policy, capacity building and infrastructure development.

This would allow for better patient management, disease surveillance, control and prevention.

Mr Rojo Mettle-Nunoo, Deputy Minister of Health, stressed the need for health professionals to change their attitude and work hand-in-hand towards the promotion of good health of the people.

Dr Frank Nyonator, acting Director-General of the Ghana Health Services (GHS), said the Service would continue to strengthen the laboratory systems by providing infrastructure, modern equipment, logistics and funds to operate efficiently at all levels.

Mr Prince Sodoke Amuzu, President of GABMLS, said successful implementation of national health plans and disease control programmes would depend on an efficient medical laboratory system.

There was therefore the need for greater investment of resources to equip practitioners to improve the quality service while maintaining standards and regulations to ensure that medical services did not turn out to be solely presumptuous and unscientific.

Source: GNA

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