International Biomedical Laboratory Science Day (April 15) “Without laboratories, men of science are soldiers without arms” – Louis Pasteur |26 April 2021
On April 15, the National Institute of Health and Social Studies (NIHSS) joined the rest of the world to celebrate one of the many professional career paths which they are responsible to mould in the Seychelles – Biomedical Laboratory Sciences professionals, well known as lab technicians.
A chat with 3 of our Year 2 students will allow you to learn more about their choosen fields of which they talk about with immense passion. Already they make our institution and our country proud.
“Hello, my name is Cheryl Mondon, I am 17 years old and I live at Les Canelles.
Joining the programme has always been a dream of mine since secondary school. “The programme trains and prepares a student to become a laboratory technician, which is a person who works in the laboratory and perform tests on different types of specimen ranging from urine, stool, blood, pus, sputum, tissue and many more that will reveal the cause of one’s infection. A laboratory technician is also the one that detects the famous Covid-19 from a person’s swab specimen.
“I joined the programme because of the love I have for science and all the opportunities this programme brings.
“After graduating there are a variety of places where one can be employed such as at the forensics department, the veterinarian laboratory, IOT, Seypec, PUC and many more.
“I also decided to join the programme mainly because of my family; family is the support you will never have to pay for because come rain, or shine, they will always be there to cheer you on along every step of the way. I want to be able to take care of them like they took care of me when I was sick.
“The love I have for humanity also inspired me to join the programme. I constantly feel the need to help anyone who is secretly fighting silent battles. I also came across some people who told me that I do not qualify to join the institution. I proved them wrong when I got my acceptance letter that same year. Joining the programme has been the best decision I have ever made. Although it can be hectic at times I did not fail to keep the balance between my social life and my study life.
“My advice to everyone who is thinking of joining the biomedical laboratory field is to never let anyone doubt you or your capabilities. Never stop trying because one day you will be someone’s hope and someone’s hero. And always keep in mind that behind every great doctor is an exhausted laboratory technician.
“Lastly, I would like to give a special thanks to my family, Stephano Mussoodee, and my friends especially Samira Low-Thion who has been a great support during this amazing journey.”
“My name is Vince Hallock from Ma Constance, Anse Etoile and I am 21 years old.
Joining NIHSS on the Biomedical Laboratory Science Course was not my first choice, but it has been my best decision so far. First, a little back story. Prior to NIHSS, I managed to enroll at the School of Advanced Level Studies (Sals) studying Biology, Geography and Computer science. My years at Sals proved to be quite challenging but I was able to pass my exams for all 3 subjects. However, I did not meet the quota to obtain a scholarship. I’ve always been interested in forensics science as a child and it has been my dream to pursue a career in that field. After researching a lot about different paths people have taken to become a forensics science specialist, I noticed that some of them had a background in biomedical science. I was then informed that NIHSS was providing a course in Biomedical Laboratory Science and decided to take this opportunity. Although I was still a bit sceptical about whether or not this was the right choice, I joined the course, and as the months flew by, the influence and knowledge I’ve gained from my lecturers have removed my doubts.
“To quote my lecturer, Mr Kinabo: “Biomedical is a broad field that offers lots of opportunities.” Unlike other courses which NIHSS offers, with biomedical science you can decide which field you want to specialise in. As for myself, I’m planning on furthering my studies in the forensics science field. The course itself has its challenges as there are a lot of medical terms you have to learn, but nothing is impossible as with determination and hard work I’m sure any of the future biomedical students can achieve their goals.”
Samira Low Thion
“My name is Samira Low Thion, I’m 21 years old and currently living at St Louis.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve always wanted a career in the medical field, and being a doctor was my lifelong dream. So, after my five years at Belonie secondary, I went to do my A levels hoping to get a scholarship for a medical degree, but sadly I did not qualify. After a year of re-sitting exams, and sending my CV to different agencies, I got a call from the Ministry of Health, saying that they are looking for someone to work at the clinical lab as an assistant. I wasn’t quite excited as I have never imagined myself working in a lab, but I took the chance and applied for the job. I got hired in April 2019. I worked at the clinical lab for a few months, and in that time, I found myself to have fallen in love with this field. I was then encouraged by my work colleagues to apply for the Biomedical Science course at NIHSS.
“Today, I’m in my second year of Biomedical Science and the journey has been amazing. It was difficult at first as I had gotten use to the working life, and now I see myself staying up late or waking up early to study, it was quite a lifestyle change. But I have learned so much more about my field and learned about things that I did not necessarily understand as an assistant before. The course itself is challenging, but with the help of awesome and understanding lecturers I’m able to overcome those challenges.
“My advice to you future biomedical technicians: “It’s never too late to start over. If one dream doesn’t work out, there is always the next one. I encourage you to come join this rewarding field, as your options as a laboratory technician is vast – hospitals, factories, private clinics, veterinary clinics, are just some of the places you can go with a diploma in Biomedical Science. We biomedical technicians are somewhat like the superhero sidekicks, we don’t get all the glory or fame, but, without us, it just won’t work.”
During the small chat, we realised that a lot more emphasis by the public in general when they think or hear NIHSS or the uniform they refer to it as Nursing School and our students feel differently.
“It is more than just a nursing school. Although it is fitting to applaud the nurses and doctors on the front line during this pandemic, let us not forget our lab technicians who are working so hard, and are also in close contact with the patients, and they are also at risk,” said Samira.
While they strive to obtain good grades and to have more learners joining this specific field… “Biomedical Laboratory Sciences at NIHSS should be on offer every year rather than every 3 years. This is because many students would like to join but they may not be lucky depending on the year it is on offer. We also would like to see more lecturers or specialists coming forward to teach at the institution thus to help relieve our few lecturers,” Cheryl shared… “… and of course bigger labs, with more space so that while we are doing our practical at school we can freely move around but nonetheless NIHSS is doing a great job to equip us to survive in the outside world,” added Vince.
Well done to all biomedical laboratory professionals and to our passionate learners at NIHSS. We appreciate you.
Would you like to follow a course in Biomedical Laboratory Sciences?
Do you have IGCSE (Grade C or better) in English, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics?
For more information or clarification, contact us 4242006 or email us: director.NIHSS@health.gov.sc or visit our facebook page: @Seychelles NIHSS
By Vanessa Seth