International Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (MLPW) is an annual observance held during the last full week of April to celebrate the medical laboratory professionals and pathologists who play a vital role in every aspect of health care.
The Laboratory at TCI Hospital in collaboration with TCI Government Laboratory Department held several activities to increase public awareness of these essential personnel. Minister of Health, Honourable Edwin Astwood, who is also a former Laboratory Professional, was invited to formally declare the week open during a brief ceremony held in the foyer of Cheshire Hall Medical Centre on Tuesday, April 25th.
Honourable Astwood reflected on the advancement of the medical technology industry, which has made diagnostic testing easier and more effective for patients with swifter results. Over a decade ago, HIV testing in the Turks and Caicos Islands took six hours to complete. Today, these tests are completed within 15-minutes.
More than 150 students from various high schools were given individual group tours of the laboratory sub-departments at TCI Hospital.
These schools included Clement Howell High School, Wesley Methodist High School, Champions for Christ, TCIPS Comprehensive School and HJ Robinson High School. Since these Medical Technologists work behind the scenes, few people know much about the critical testing they perform every day.
Approximately 70% of decisions concerning diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, monitoring and prevention of diseases are based on the laboratory testing performed by Medical Technologists. In addition, the processing and preparation of tissue specimen for the Pathologist to examine are also done by Medical Technologists.
Although some private medical practices across the Turks and Caicos have capabilities in- house to conduct basic diagnostic testing, these private facilities depend on the more advanced laboratory at TCI Hospital for comprehensive diagnostic testing.
MLPW has been successful in increasing the recognition of clinical laboratory science among the healthcare community and general public.
Other activities to observe this special week included a church service, appreciation dinner and visit to Provo Children’s Home to conduct hand hygiene sessions, which is a precursor to a larger multi-year community outreach initiative being planned for public schools by TCI Hospital over the next few weeks.