DIRECTOR General, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, on Tuesday, commissioned Molecular Laboratory at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital (AE-FUTHA).
The laboratory was built and constructed by the NCDC and equipped for Lassa fever and COVID-19.
Ihekweazu while commissioning the project, at the Viral 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 noted that the laboratory is part of the federal government’s program to support the country against COVID -19
He further noted that the facility is well equipped to manage many common infectious disease threats in Nigeria, such 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”.
“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”.
However, Ihekweazu assured Nigerians of the safety of Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine,noting 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,”he said.
The Board Chairman of AEFUTHA, Dr Tijani Ramalan, in his speech, described the laboratory as world medical tourism centre and expressed happiness towards the successful completion of the laboratory.
Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Emeka Onwe Ogah, commended the NCDC boss for the assistance and support the hospital had been receiving from the NCDC, especially for building the molecular centre for the hospital.
Ogah also appreciated President Muhammad Buhari-led federal government for assisting the hospital to equip the molecular laboratory, noting that the centre would 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.