Jomo Kenyatta University Medical Lab Students Association (JKULSA) emerged the overall winner of the inaugural Medical Lab Science (MLS) Symposium, held on Saturday, March 11, 2023 at Mount Kenya University.
The Association which draws students pursuing Bachelor’s degree in Medical Lab Science participated in the symposium to test their prowess in training areas such as histology, parasitology, microbiology, clinical chemistry, hematology and blood transfusion science.
Medical Laboratory Science is the use of clinical laboratory tests to detect, diagnose, monitor and treat disease. This involves chemical analyses to check for abnormalities and foreign organisms in blood, tissue, and bodily fluids.
The symposium provided students from JKUAT, University of Nairobi, and Mount Kenya University an opportunity to explain various lab processes orally in response to questions picked at random.
The three-hour quickfire session saw different representatives from the three universities take part in the six categories of their training in Medical Lab Science, which enabled the other students to learn or master the complex clinical scenarios. These included staging of diseases, new technologies, and interpolation of data, among others.
While congratulating her JKUAT students for their sterling performance, JKULSA Patron, Ms. Joyce Gachoki, who served on the Organizing Committee, further urged other universities to participate in similar competitions in future in order to expand and strengthen the network of medical lab science.
“I am so proud of our students because today they have brilliantly demonstrated that they are in tune with the course content. The aim of this symposium was to provide a platform to test their knowledge in clinical scenarios because this is a hands-on course. I look forward to having more institutions join us in the future,” said Ms. Gachoki.
The JKULSA team, led by their Chairman, Mr. Mike Tanui, was elated to win the symposium, which they admitted was no easy feat.
“Standing in front of a crowd, for the first time, for a competition like this was nerve-wracking but equally exciting. We are happy because we also interacted with our peers and we have identified the areas we can collaborate on,” said Mr. Tanui.
Dr. Stanley Kang’ethe of Mount Kenya University lauded the students for their excellent performance, noting that it was a testament that the country is indeed churning out professionals who can be entrusted with the sensitive component called human life. He said, the students were familiar with the crucial aspect of quality in medical lab practice.
“You can do everything in the lab but if quality is not observed then that is a waste of resources. I therefore urge all individuals and the institutions to emphasize on quality so as to find and correct flaws in the analytical processes to ensure patients and other stakeholders receive correct results,” said Dr. Kang’ethe.
He also reminded the upcoming professionals on biosecurity and biosafety at the lab in order to protect the environment and the community from harm, thereby preventing public health crises.
“Since specimen can be used for harm, how you handle, document, store, transport, dispose it is of critical importance. Moreover, that specimen that you handle has fewer known agents than the unknown so you always remember you are highly exposed and vulnerable,” cautioned Dr. Kang’ethe.
He also encouraged the students to aim at the highest point in their career, with focus and ambition, whether it will be in research or academia.
The second edition of the symposium will be hosted by the winner, JKULSA, at JKUAT.