Lagos State Government over the weekend inaugurated a seven-man committee to monitor, regulate and enforce quality compliance in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) practice in the state.
Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Health, Dr. Titilayo Goncalves who inaugurated the committee last Friday at the Ministry’s Conference Room noted that the constitution of the committee is in line with Lagos State government’s commitment to ensure best practices in assisted fertility practice.
She said: “the constitution of this seven-man committee is in tandem with our resolve to implement the the policy document on ART regulations and practice which we unveiled recently in partnership with Association of Fertility and Reproductive Health (AFRH) and experts in fertility medicine”
Conclaves added that the inauguration of the committee is also aimed at fostering professionalism, quality assurance as well as curbing quackery in the assisted fertility practice.
The Permanent Secretary, who stated that the members of the committee were drawn from private practitioners in fertility medicine, experts in the public sector, members of AFRH and officials of the Lagos State Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA) noted that the committee is charged with the onerous task of educating, enlightening and sensitizing citizens on ART practice whilst bringing sanity through monitoring and enforcement compliance to the ART practice in the State.
“The need to protect members of the public from falling prey to quacks who parade themselves as experts in fertility medicine and the need to regulate practice in this specialized field of medicine in line with acceptable international best practices prompted State government’s intervention”, She said.
The Permanent Secretary explained that the State Government, since 2017 has been involved in several enlightenment and sensitization campaigns to educate the populace ART practice. She expressed optimism that the development and implementation of ART policy document on practice and regulations will help eradicate quackery and unprofessional conduct in assisted fertility practice.
“We will intensify awareness and sensitization campaign as well as monitoring and enforcement of regulations in ART practice through this committee and HEFAMAA to ensure citizens do not fall prey to quacks in fertility practice”
“I want to assure you that the State government through HEFAMAA and the committee in partnership with AFRH and other professionals and experts in assisted fertility practice would channel energy to rid the State off quackery, unregistered and substandard health facilities in ART practices”, Goncalves vowed.
While commending all those that contributed to the birth of the policy document and guidelines on ART practice, Goncalves task the Committee to live up to its billing and ensure fulfilment of its terms of engagement.
She assured that the policy document and guidelines of ART practice as well as the activities of the committee would go a long way in protecting clients and expert in ART practice, allay public concerns and help in guiding professional practice in assisted fertility medicine.
Executive Secretary, HEFAMAA, Dr. Abiola Idowu who is also a member of the committee assured that HEFAMAA in collaboration with the committee will do all it takes to ensure best practices in assisted reproductive and fertility practice.
“HEFAMAA is known for its tough stance against quackery and unprofessional practices, and inline with our mandates, sanity must return to ART practice. I therefore used this medium to urge all practitioners and health facilities involved in ART practice to register and ensure proper accreditation with HEFAMAA because it will not be business as usual”, She said.
Idowu stated further that HEFAMAA will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that all facilities operating in the State are duly registered and operated by qualified health care providers within the armbit of the law.
She stressed that the State Government remains determined to putting a halt to the ugly trend of having unqualified personnel work in health facilities, be it private or public adding that the agency will continue to insist that the environment for the dispensation of medical care should be suitable for the promotion and maintenance of good health.
The Chairman of the Committee, Professor Osato Giwa-Osagie while responding on behalf of members of the committee, commended the efforts of the state government towards ensuring that strict and effective measures are in place to monitor and regulate the activities of ART practice in Lagos State.
Noting that experts and professionals have made several calls especially in recent times to governments at Federal and State levels for regulations of ART practices, Prof. Osagie noted that Lagos State being the first to answer this call has created a standard model for other states to emulate.
‘’It is heartwarming that Lagos state Government in partnership with AFRH has picked up the call on regulation of ART practice especially with aim of ending quackery practice, this shows that the government is determined to end quackery and restore sanity to ART practice in the state’’ He said.
He assured that his committee will ensure that the practice of ART will be to the highest possible ethical standard as according to him quackery will not be tolerated under any guise.