Posted by News Express | 17 March 2021 | 234 times
By CHARLES IWUOHA
The Director General, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu on Tuesday commissioned the Molecular Laboratory at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital (AE-FUTHA) in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
The Laboratory was built and constructed by the NCDC equipped COVID-19 molecular laboratory intervention fund of the Federal Government.
Ihekweazu while commissioning the project, at the Virology Research, Treatment and Control Centre of the AE-FUTHA, urged the management to ensure the capacity building of the workers for optimum use of the Laboratory.
He said the facility is well equipped to manage many common infectious disease threats in Nigeria, such as COVID-19 and Lassa fever.
“We tried to expand this not only for diagnostic purposes but for research, capacity building and being an attraction for more projects to come to Abakaliki, we are very excited about the future of diagnosis and research towards providing care for our nation.
“This is part of the federal government programme as a result of the COVID-19, to support the country so that we can never find ourselves in this kind of situation again.
“Our role is not only to respond to the current outbreak but to make sure that we’re stronger together as a country to respond future outbreak, that's what led to the program that we are carrying out across the country to strengthen our health facilities infrastructure,” he said.
While assuring Nigerians of the safety of Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine he noted that vaccination is not one of faith but one of science
“No medical intervention in the world has saved more lives than vaccines, we are very confident right now of the vaccine that we have introduced, I have taken this vaccine myself, every member of the NCDC staff at the front line has taken the vaccine, we are confident that the vaccine will be a game changer to respond to this outbreak in Nigeria,” Ihekweazu said.
The Board Chairman of AEFUTHA, Dr Tijani Ramalan, in his remarks said the project was challenging, but expressed happiness it had been successfully completed and put to use.
Ramalan said the laboratory would take the hospital to the next level, noting that the project was one of the giant steps towards making the hospital the world medical tourism centre.
Dr Emeka Onwe Ogah, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, commended Dr. Ihekweazu for the numerous assistance and support the hospital had been receiving from the NCDC, especially for building the molecular centre for the hospital.
Ogah also commended President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government for assisting the hospital to equip the molecular laboratory, noting that the centre would tremendously enhance the operations of the hospital.
He, however, appealed to the Federal Government to convert the Viral Research, Treatment and Control Centre of the hospital to a regional centre, since, according to him, it is the only centre currently serving South-East and South-South regions of the country.
The Ebonyi State Commissioner for Health, Dr Daniel Umezurike, described the building and commissioning of the AEFUTHA molecular laboratory as a milestone, and commended the NCDC for making it possible.
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