The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) and the Ekiti State Government have commissioned the first Zonal Reference Laboratory in the country in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State to strengthen the diagnosis and surveillance of infectious diseases in Nigeria.
The project was carried out with funding from the World Bank’s Pandemic Emergency Financing facility through the Nigeria COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project.
The PUNCH reports that the is mandated by law to develop a network of highly specialised reference laboratories across the nation to contribute to national health security and it is aligned with Nigeria’s obligations under International Health Regulations and recommendations from Nigeria’s 2017 Joint External Evaluation.
A press statement signed by the NCDC’s Director-General, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa on Wednesday noted that the implementation of its tiered laboratory network is intended to establish an effective network of testing laboratories for diseases of public health importance.
The statement read in part: “The ZRLS will bring services closer to states, facilitate sample transportation, reduce turnaround time for testing and release of results, and contribute to resilience In our emergency and preparedness efforts at the subnational level.
“This newly commissioned Ekiti ZRL will strengthen diagnosis and surveillance of Infectious diseases in Nigeria, with a particular focus on the six states within the South-west region: Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo, Osun, Lagos, and Ogun and the whole of southern Nigeria at large.
“The laboratory is equipped to diagnose priority diseases as part of our Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response system. The laboratory will be the primary hub for the timely and accurate diagnosis of epidemic and epidemic-prone diseases constituting public health threats in the South-west.
“As part of taking forward lessons learnt from the global COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Nigeria, the NCDC has successfully designated and commenced the establishment of Zonal Reference Laboratories across the six geopolitical zones which are at various stages of completion.”
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The NCDC said the ZRLS would contribute to outbreak preparedness and response, provide a wider geographic diagnostic coverage for epidemic and epidemic-prone diseases, and support the Implementation of quality management systems including national and international accreditation of laboratories in NCDC’s network. “This ZRL project is one of the efforts by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Health through the NCDC to consolidate COVID-19 Investments and further enhance our outbreak preparedness and response effort as we continue to respond to infectious diseases of public health importance,” it added.
Source: Punch newspaper