The Professional

MLSCN: Communique of the 3rd Education Workshop

The Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria [MLSCN] is well appreciated for a well packaged programme with ten (10) Continuing Professional Development [CPD] units, in a seven (7)-day workshop for Lecturers in Medical Laboratory Science Departments of Universities and Colleges / Schools of Health Technology and Medical Laboratory Scientists involved in training in the Teaching Hospitals and Federal Medical Centres.
The workshop with a theme ‘‘Capacity Building for Effective Lecturing Skills for Quality Academic/Professional Training’’ is apt especially now when there is an urgent need to review the quality of Curriculum in Medical Laboratory Science so as to achieve good medical laboratory practice in this prevailing health challenges of our society.
The Workshop was declared open on the 7th November, 2016, by the Acting Registrar/ CEO of  MLSCN, Chief Tosan Erhabor who also delivered the keynote address entitled ‘‘Medical Laboratory Science Education: Philosophy, Curriculum and Challenges’’.
The Registrar did not mince words when he described the evolution of MLS in Nigeria through various training stages from Associate / Internee programme to the present BMLS with various categorized challenges and carefully unveiled the plans of the Council on the various Educational programmes of the Council with particular reference to the Doctor of Medical Laboratory Science (MLS. D), West African Fellowship in Medical Laboratory Science and other policy thrust of the Council with respect to the educational mandate of the Council.
The MLSCN Registrar added that the specialization experienced in the final year curriculum of BMLS has been described as inappropriate thereby creating pseudo – scarcity of MLS in some disciplines. He opined that the proposed MLS.D would allow production of competent Scientists with diversified skills in the labour market after six years of study. And for the purpose of specialization, the MLS.D graduates would need to undertake further training in MSc., PhD and professional Fellowship levels.
The CEO however appealed to all stakeholders of the profession to support and embrace MLS.D programme for MLS profession. He also informed the participants that the Medical Laboratory Technicians (MLT) curriculum and transcript have been reviewed to enable Medical Laboratory Technicians seek direct entry admission to 200 Level MLS.D programme.
The participants duly acknowledged the capacity of facilitators and resource persons used in the training as it portrays hope for the profession and professional development when the topics were rolled out in the past seven days.
Such topics are: Effective Lecturing Skills and Teaching Methodology; Developing Standard Lecture Notes, Marking Schemes, MCQ and other Questions; Giving Effective Scientific Presentations; Basic Counseling Skills and Consultancy; Improving the Standard of Learning for Quality and Self- reliant MLS Graduate and MLS Curriculum Development: Key to Quality Outcome.
The workshop also addressed issues bordering on Basic Administrative/Management Skills for Lecturers; Competency Assessment for Lecturers and Evaluation of Students / Academic Performance; Roles of Assessors, Facilitators, Coordinators and Examiners in MLSCN Professional Examinations, Basic Accounting/Budget Preparation, Ethics of MLS Profession, Overview of MLSCN Education Mandate  and Quality Assurance / Quality control in MLSCN Education. More interesting were the in-depth training on Data Analysis and practical use of SPSS, Excel, Epi-info, Freemind and some other statistical software in research and the art of research Methodology, Academic Publications, Grant Writing Skills and Identification of Donors to support research.
The participants unanimously agreed to make the following recommendations to MLSCN at the end of the training:
1. That the junior colleagues / lecturers should be mentored by the senior collegues with the standard of the institutions through:
a. Orientation of new entrants and junior colleagues by introducing them to the facility/institution, personnel and way of life in the system, and rules & regulations with respect to curriculum and ethics.
b. Regular meetings in the Departments / Faculties / Facilities
c. Supervision / correction of lecture notes and teaching styles with possible teaching modules and templates.
d. Encouraging regular participation and capacity building trainings.
e. Encouraging friendly relationship between senior and junior ones.
f. Assigning responsibilities to junior colleagues.
g. Teaching them research and publication / grant writing skills.
2. That the theoretical aspect of BMLS programme should be adequately married with the practical aspect of Associate programme in the proposed MLS.D curriculum through:
a. Inclusion of Medical Lab Scientists on the bench as part of the MLS training
b. Adequate monitoring and evaluation of both lectures and practicals.
c. Simultaneous lectures and laboratory postings.
d. Extension of final year Laboratory postings to call duty periods.
3. That the minimum qualification of Consultant Medical Laboratory Scientist in the Hospital Laboratory should be MSc with a Professional Fellowship in specialized areas.
4.  That Medical Laboratory Consultant should be appointed to Grade Level 16/4 or its equivalent as entry point.
5. That MLSCN / AMLSN should pursue the implementation of MLS Consultancy to the fullest for immediate employment in Universities, Teaching Hospitals and other institutions.
6. That the MLSCN/ AMLSN should achieve a generalized MLS.D curriculum and Faculty status in the University structure with direct entry criteria of 200 Level for MLTs and other relevant BSc. and HND holders.
7. That MLSCN should provide a documented quality management benchmark for all training institutions in Nigeria and copies provided to all involved in the training.
8. That MLSCN, AMLSN and all MLS training institutions should be vigorous in grant writing update and pursue various available grants to boost training and research in MLS.
9. That all MLS students should be exposed to data analysis using relevant statistical software.
10. That MLSCN and AMLSN should be vibrant in ensuring MLS inclusion in all health policies of the Federal Government within the developmental stages.
11. The MLSCN should re – visit the regulation on the award of Fellowship by Publication and accord appropriate recognition to PhD as the participants unanimously recommend three (3) years post PhD  with Twelve (12) Publications in reputable Journals.
12. That the participants in consultation with MLSCN should ensure a step down training of this workshop in various institutions with adequate CPD points to ensure transfer of knowledge.
13. That merit, quality and professional ethics be considered in all appointments in MLS starting from admission of students.
14. That   the recommendation of this workshop be considered by the MLSCN and AMLSN especially in the proposed Educational Summit of the MLSCN in December, 2016
Conclusion: The 3rd Capacity Building Workshop recorded a high turnout of participants with 81 participants representing 50 MLS Departments / Institutions. It is obvious that this workshop is an eye opener that cannot be neglected in MLS education. There is therefore an assurance of improved MLS profession starting from the tutorial stages of the profession to the practice of same.

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