The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced the inclusion of three new laboratories to national yellow fever, measles, and rubella laboratory network.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general, NCDC, announced this in Abuja. He said before 2019, the center had only four laboratories in the network with no laboratory in the south zone and southeast zone, which affected the efficiency of the center and made disease surveillance a difficult task.
He also recalled that in 2017, Nigeria recorded an outbreak of yellow fever in Kwara, 21 years after the last case had been detected in the country and have since continued to record clusters of cases across the country.
The DG expressed confidence that the new laboratories will build the capacity of Nigeria in line with global best practices.
The three new laboratories according to him are the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Edo, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu and NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Abuja which will provide primary testing for yellow fever, measles, and rubella.
Ihekweazu also informed that the NCDC National Reference Laboratory is working towards full accreditation to serve as a reference laboratory for yellow fever so that Nigeria will no longer send samples to Dakar, Senegal for verification.
He further announced that the NCDC is strengthening the state’s capacity to initiate and respond to disease which includes emergency operation centres, strengthening surveillance and risk communicating before interventions from the national level.
The UNTH representative, Chioma Benjamin-Puja, assistant director, Medical Laboratory Services, said that the institution had since longed for inclusion due to the incidence of yellow fever in some parts of the South-East.
Darlington Obaseki, chief medical director, UBTH, in pledged commitment to ensuring that the required leadership and resources were provided to ensure the full functionality of the laboratory.
GODSGIFT ONYEDINEFU, Abuja