Medical laboratory professionals under their umbrella body, the medical laboratory society of Uganda have given the Uganda Health Service commission a two week ultimatum to rescind a job advert for the position of the assistant commissioner for laboratory services.
Laboratory technicians say that the advert published in one of the local dailies on the 15th March 2021 seeking to recruit the assistant commissioner of laboratory services is disenfranchising the medical laboratories professionals .
The founding president of the medical laboratory society, Eric Okek says that according to the advert the qualifications for the position of the assistant commissioner for laboratory services were disregarded.
In the external advert by the Health service commission, the qualification for the assistant Commissioner for laboratory services was put as MBChB (Bachelor’s Degree of Medicine and Bachelor’s Degree of surgery) which is for a medical doctor instead of a qualification for a medical laboratory professional.
Okek says that the Scheme of Services that was designed and approved by the ministry of Health clearly stipulates the qualifications for the position.
He says as medical laboratory technicians they expect the Uganda health Service Commission to give an appropriate response.
He explains that the society’s prayer is that the commission does the editing, because it was not a mistake, adding that it was intentional.
“But we think maybe the health service commission was ill advised by certain individuals that we don’t know, so it was not an error, it was intentional. There is a common saying that a hen cannot cry for the young one of a duck even if they all belong to the bird family. So there problems that are very peculiar problems to the medical laboratory professionals that even a medical doctor may not understand”-Okek stresses.
In case the Health Services Commission fails to retract the advert, the society plans to drag the Uganda Health service commission to court for what they have termed as disenfranchisement of the professionals.
According to the scheme of service for a person to qualify for the job of an assistant commissioner for medical laboratory services must have: -A bachelor’s Degree in medical laboratory science/technology or its equivalent from a recognized university /institution.
– A master’s degree in medical laboratory science /technology from a recognized university/institution.
-Must possess a post graduate qualification (diploma /masters in either management, administration health services management) or an equivalent from a recognized university.
– And must be registered with the Allied Health professions Council and also a valid practicing license.
Castigating the Uganda Health service commission for running a job advert that disregarded the regulations of the fraternity, Richard Sserunjoji Nkusa a member of the Medical Laboratories Society, says within 14 days the commission must retract the advert and place a new one with the right qualifications.
Currently the country has over 30,000 medical laboratory experts among these, 100 are PHD, 1000 Masters and 3000 bachelor’s degree holders.
The job description as per the scheme of service which is the legal document from the ministry of Health stipulates the duties of an assistant commissioner for the Medical Laboratory Services as supervision of medical laboratory services, initiating, reviewing and interpreting policies for medical laboratory services. Planning g and budgeting for medical laboratory services, establishing and coordinating laboratory quality assurance systems among others.
Nkuusa explains that if this illegal recruitment process continues, this will be sidelining medical laboratory professionals with the relevant qualifications because as a country we have some PHD holders in this field that have been previously hired by laboratories abroad.
Regarding what happens if a medical doctor takes up the position, Nkuusa says that a leader that is not from this particular field may not be able to make the right and appropriate discussions.
It is against this background that Okek spells out the society’s demands for the commission to remove all other qualifications apart from the medical lab qualifications as prescribed in the ministry of health scheme of service.
“If they do not heed to our demands, we shall be compelled to put a court injunction on the advert”-Okek stresses.