Graduates with medical lab degrees want Act amended to recognise them

By: JAMES KARIUKI

Graduates with medical laboratory degrees have urged Parliament to amend the current Act that recognises only diploma and certificate laboratory technicians, saying they risked being jobless for life.

The 400 medical laboratory students undertaking degrees at the undergraduate, master’s and PhD level at public and private universities say they have been unable to practice or find jobs since employers do not know how to correctly grade them or designate their titles.

Mr Dennis Kithinji, who attends the University of Nairobi, led other students in appealing to Parliament to amend the Kenya Laboratory Technicians and Technologists Act of 1999.

“The Act has been overtaken by events as it was written when only diploma and certificate courses in medical laboratory technology were offered at Kenya Medical Training College only,” said Mr Kithinji.

While the world embraced laboratory diagnosis for most ailments, making medical laboratory crucial in the course of treatment, Mr Kithinji said, the law had been left behind even as the government embraced the changing treatment regime and allowed the introduction of medical courses at university level.

BOARD DOESN’T RECOGNISE DEGREE HOLDERS

Mr Kithinji said medical laboratory graduates were unable to find jobs since the Kenya Medical Laboratories Technologists and Technicians Board had declined to recognise degree holders thereby denying them a chance to contribute in safeguarding public health in Kenya and abroad.

He added that their voice at the board was missing since the law allowed only diploma and certificate holders to fill three positions reserved for medical laboratory specialists, adding that there are more certificate and diploma graduates than degree students and hence denying them an opportunity to sit on the board.

“We have a major problem getting paid internships at public facilities since the law does not set out the monetary emoluments we are supposed to receive while on internship.

“We cannot be graded at the same level with diploma holders and our titles must be different to reflect the level of training,” says the petition now before Parliament.

Mr Kithinji added that while the board sets licensing examinations, it was foolhardy for the board comprising diploma graduates to set an exam for degree holders at the undergraduate, master’s and PhD levels.

The petition calls on Parliament to move swiftly and amend the law to have universities offering the courses recognised as training facilities while its graduates must be given legal recognition allowing them to seek work locally and abroad.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION