The protesters

Laboratory services was today paralysed at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital ( UCTH) as a result of a protest embarked upon by medical laboratory scientists of the hospital and students over the invasion of the laboratory by armed policemen allegedly brought by  the chief security officer of the hospital to prevent staff, students and patients from accessing the lab and other sundry issues.

When our correspondent visited, the policemen were seen barricading the lab and conducting a search on the scientists. Speaking to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, one of  the medical laboratory scientists accused doctors of attempting to take over the laboratory. She said “for sometime now, the medical laboratory scientists in UCTH have been under attack by doctors. Medical laboratory scientists are licensed to analyze patents’ samples and send the result to doctors. But now, doctors now want to be the ones to carry out laboratory testing and we said no to it. Now they have brought armed policemen to stop us from entering the lab and intimidate us in order for them to have their way.

Some of the armed policemen

Addressing the protesters, the Deputy Vice Chancellor ( Academic ) of University of Calabar, Prof. Amalu promised to addressed the challenges of the students while the Chairman, Medical Advisory Council (CMAC), who represented the Chief Medical Director declined comment on the protest.

 Speaking to newsmen shortly after the protest, the Chairman, Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), Agbor Owuna said ” I came to work this morning only to find armed policemen barricading the laboratory, preventing scientists from going inside the lab whereas doctors were allowed in”.

Some of the scientists prevented from entering the lab

“We  have been in a long battle for who is in charge of the lab because the resident doctors who are doctors on training by way of training come for posting in the lab, of recent are claiming to own the lab. They’re asking us out of the lab. So we came out and said no. We have communicated to management on this when we saw a circular sent to us that from 1st-5th September, no laboratory scientist should be found in the lab, that it’s the turn of residents to work and we begin to ask, who authorizes the resident doctors who are on training to be analysing patients’ samples and sending out results? Whereas we are the ones to do that and send the result to doctors to manage patients but the reverse is the case. They are coming with an ulterior motive. Why are you on training and the person who is suppose to train you primarily, should not be found there? We have written to management on this. We are putting it back to the world, is it now the duties of the doctors to be analysing patients samples?”
He called on government and relevant authorities to intervene in the matter.

Student allegedly stabbed by a resident doctor

Meanwhile, shortly after the protest, some students and staff of the laboratory department scampered for safety following the stabbing of a 400 level student of the Department of Medical Laboratory Science, University of Calabar, Miss Esther Umoh by a yet to be identified resident doctor. Narrating her ordeal, Miss Umoh, who was seen limping, said she was beaten and hit with a stool by a resident doctor from Chemical Pathology Department of the hospital. She said ” After the protest, we were  told to go back to our different units. As we were passing through the corridor, I saw resident doctors destroying equipments inside the lab and making a video of it. When one of them saw me, he broke a bottle inside the lab and stabbed me in the hand, and then used stool to hit me on my legs. Now I can’t walk. Others that were inside came out and started throwing bottles and other dangerous weapons at us. We had to run for cover”.

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