A closer look at the importance of medical laboratory professionals

By Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

WITH the COVID-19 pandemic and non-communicable diseases like cancer wreaking havoc across the world, medical laboratories continue to play a pivotal role in coming up with solutions.

Laboratory professionals may not be the first faces that come to mind when envisioning a healthcare team, but they play a critical role in clinical health.

“As medical laboratory scientists we are not very known people because the patients mainly inter-faces with doctors, nurses and pharmacists so this week just brings awareness to the public that scientists do exist, they’re important and without them the industry of diagnostic medicine as we know it may not be existing,” said Mr Oscar Mano of the Zimbabwe Association of Medical Laboratories Science Students.

Every day, these dedicated individuals embark on a search for answers that are pivotal to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases; hence they are essential members of healthcare system.

“In medical laboratory we are dealing with the diagnosis and management of diseases we do tests that help doctors actually diagnose what a person is suffering from and also monitor the treatment effectiveness for the prognosis of disease in a patient. So, we do different tests,” said Mrs Tsitsi Moyo, head diagnostics at CIMAS medical laboratories.

To celebrate the Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, medical laboratory students from the University of Zimbabwe and high school students had a chance to interact with medical laboratory professionals.

“I have always wanted to be a scientist but I wasn’t sure which field to pursue, but after my tour here I am confident of the path that I want to take. Its med lab for me,” said a student.

Another student also concurred saying, “The tour has been an eye-opener for me. Yes, we did this in class so finally getting to be in a real lab and working with real tissues has been just wow.”

Accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and application of medical technology would not be possible without the participation and expertise of the medical laboratory scientists, hence the need for recognition.