The Nigerian Medical Association has made it clear to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that it would not allow the directive it gave that clearance must be obtained from the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria for product certification before the importation of In-Vitro Diagnostics into the country.
“We will use every legitimate means to resist the implementation of this directive,” the association said, even as it advised the CBN to withdraw the circular in the interest of the country.
The new President of NMA, Dr. Kayode Obembe, in his maiden press briefing today in Abuja said that since there are already established regulatory agencies, including the National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON), establishing another agency would amount to duplication of efforts and looking for crisis where there was none.
Part of the CBN circular with ref No: TED/FEM/FPC/GEN/01/001, dated April 24 2014 and signed by its Acting Director (Trade and Exchange Department), Mr. J.O. Ajewole said, “Documentation in respect of imports of IVDs shall include Certificate of Registration of the importer and product certificate issued by the MLSCN. Bonafide importers who intend to import IVDs into Nigeria are therefore advised to apply to the MLSCN for registration.”
Dr. Obembe alleged that the MLSCN may have gone to the apex bank to lobby and make the demand, emphasising: “already, we have NAFDAC and SON which have been established to enforce standards. If you go on to proliferate other bodies, it will be like another import license scandal and it is not going to augur well for the healthcare delivery system in Nigeria.
“Let the organizations which have been charged with these responsibilities continue and we don’t need any more. That is why the CBN has to withdraw this circular with immediate effect. But if they insist, we will use every means to resist them because it is unnecessary. SO if I want to do ultra scan, I must first of all go to the MLSCN to get clearance. What we are trying to do is to remove all obstacles as we have in civilized countries.”
Speaking on the planned strike by other workers in the health sector under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions, Obeme directed that Doctors not to be part of it.
Other demands include the passage of the National Health Bill without further delay; overseas residency training programme for Doctors; placement of fresh medical graduates for Housemanship; security for Doctors and Medical Rescue Squad for members.
“All Doctors in Nigeria should be given cars and medical ambulances because wherever they are all Doctors would be able to tackle emergencies in line with global trends, especially in the United States of America. We are therefore ready to take our rightful positions in tackling emergencies. Even the kidnappers when they are sick, they go to hospitals.
“In order to guarantee peace, progress and harmony in the health sector, the government should tackle these naughty problems headlong without unnecessary procrastination or prevarication.”