JIS News

Chief Medical Technologist at the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital in Westmoreland, Marcia Hastings, has hailed medical laboratory professionals in the parish for the vital role they play in the public health sector.

According to Ms. Hastings, medical laboratory professionals continue to labour behind the scenes performing critical scientific work for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

In an interview with JIS News, she pointed out that annually, laboratory professionals perform thousands of blood tests and other body samples, such as fluids, urine and swabs.

“What the laboratory does is provide credible results in a timely manner, so as to assist the physician in making their diagnosis and to adequately treat the patients or care for the patients, and as we [operate] 24/7,  someone is always in the lab,” she noted.

Ms. Hastings’ comments come as Jamaica observes International Medical Laboratory Professionals Week from April 18 to 24, under the theme ‘We believe in heroes, Avengers of the laboratory’.

The annual event seeks to raise awareness about the profession and what medical laboratory professionals do to enhance quality patient care.

“We are deemed to be the behind-the-scenes group that gets results but [are] not really up front, so this week we want to highlight and give the community a feel of what goes on in the [profession],” Ms. Hastings said.

She informed that the Week is being celebrated with a series of activities, which kicked off on April 19 with a ceremony in Savanna-la-Mar and in-house “fun” activities.

A special awards ceremony will be held on Friday, April 23 to recognise the work of outstanding medical laboratory professionals in the parish.

On, Saturday, April 24, the public health group will worship with the little London Seventh-day Adventist Church.

In the meantime, Ms. Hastings said lab professionals continue to play an important role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said the pandemic has magnified the need for such professionals, who have been integral in COVID-19 testing as well as studying the evolution of COVID-19 variants.

The Chief Medical Technologist noted that staff at the Savanna-la-Mar hospital were at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19 in western Jamaica, given the significant amount of testing that has occurred to diagnose, treat patients and help control the spread.

Medical laboratory professionals include medical laboratory technicians, phlebotomists and pathologists.

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