Lagos State Government has inaugurated a seven-man committee to monitor, regulate and enforce quality compliance in Assisted Reproductive Technology (A.R.T) 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 the seven-man committee is in tandem with our resolve to implement 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”.
She 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.
While noting 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), Goncalves disclosed 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 has, since 2017, been involved in several enlightenment and sensitization campaigns to educate the populace on the ART practices. She expressed optimism that the development and implementation of A.R.T policy document on practices and regulations will help eradicate quackery and unprofessional conduct in assisted fertility procedure.
According to her, “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 infertility 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 their 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, she tasked the Committee to live up to its billing and ensure fulfilment of its terms of engagement.
The Permanent Secretary 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 practices, 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 in line with our mandates, sanity must return to ART practice. I, therefore, used this medium to urge all practitioners and health facilities involved in ART practices 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 ambit of the law.
She stressed that the State Government remains determined to put 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, in his remarks on behalf of other 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 stated that Lagos State is 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 the regulation of ART practices especially with aim of ending quackery, this shows that the government is determined to end the deception and restore sanity to the practice in the state”, he said.
He, therefore, assured that the Committee will ensure that the practice of ART will be of the highest possible ethical standard as quackery will no longer be tolerated under any guise.