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A simple guide on how to start medical laboratory in Nigeria



On this article we are going to discuss in details how to start a medical laboratory in Nigeria. The question now is what is medical laboratory? Without been told medical laboratory is not a common medical room or an annexe of a clinic but it is better regarded as a situation room because of the important roles that it plays in saving a countless number of lives. The medical laboratory is not actually inferior to the doctor’s office or the theatre, nor is it inferior to the pharmacy but it serves parallel purpose and order in medical attention. Research has actually shown that the medical laboratory is the very soul of diagnosing and ‘better diagnosing’, they say ‘mean better patient care’.
Furthermore, in Nigeria today owning a laboratory undoubtedly means owning a real big investment. Under normal condition it is usually required that a medical laboratory is coordinated by Medical Laboratory Technologist/Scientist, the Medical Laboratory Technologist/Scientist must have obtained a certificate in either of MLT, MLS, BMLS, DMLS, etc and also must have indexing of the profession’s council. In Nigeria and anywhere in the world this qualification is actually a required working criterion for any laboratory to be considered medical.

The following are the conditions and requirements to start a medical laboratory in Nigeria;


     1. Secure a good laboratory building: Actually the laboratory building need to spacious, ventilated, and lightning and with workbenches. You can actually use a rented building or a residential apartment. Also is very important that there is a less disturbance in such environment and the laboratory should not be related on a frequent basis and the non-expert should not be around the laboratory and working benches at all times.

    2. Purchase the necessary equipments: One of the most important components of any laboratory is the microscope. This is just not a tool of Nigeria laboratory but a symbol of medical Laboratory Science which is seen all and everywhere. Most of the laboratories in Nigeria have a microscope in the least. This microscope is of two major types, anyone you purchase is okay for an average Nigeria laboratory. After the microscope another important and unavoidable are the glassware, this transparent glasses are the most common identity of a laboratory. Thank God for advancement, a lot of items are now made of plastics. The following are examples of glassware; Conical & Erlenmeyer flasks, Bottles, Tubes, Funnels, Cylinders, beakers, Pipettes, etc. All these materials listed are really relevant to any laboratory no matter how lowly, degraded or under-privileged the laboratory is. If there are no glass wares, there is no laboratory not to talk of medical tests.
Furthermore, no laboratory should be found in Nigeria except it has them. Some of these materials could either be graduated or non-graduated, but preferably the graduated ones are more okay as they shall be further used to measure quantities. Also a laboratory is equipped with bottles, which are from Specimen bottles through reagent bottles to drop bottles. Although more numbers of specimen then reagent bottles can be provided compared to drop bottles. This actually worth to explain that pipettes differ; volumetric, graduated, blood and Pasteur pipette. They should be gotten in appropriate proportion. After securing the above accordingly, another device that is really needed in the medical laboratory is the Centrifuge, this is a machine that works on the principle of spinning to sediment rapid particles such as cell. This machine is used in the determination of PCV (packed cell volume) which is a prominent laboratory test, and also other regularly occurring laboratory tests. This machine is very important in your laboratory. There is the hand centrifuge which is more antique and it also gives slower speed, and also the motor driven one which is recommended. There is also the micro-hematocrit centrifuge which is also motor-driven and it serves a special duty of auto-estimating the PCV of the red blood cell column, usually in percentage as desired. Purchasing a centrifuge is one of the good steps to take in setting up a medical laboratory. Another important equipment in any laboratory is weighing scale and analytical balance. Both of them seem the same, but they differ in their functions as one measures large quantities while the other weighs smaller quantities.

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