Governor Muhammadu Yahaya has officially commissioned the already accredited Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, for the testing of Covid-19 samples, located at the State Specialists’ Hospital, Gombe.
Commissioning the facility in Gombe, Governor Yahaya said he was delighted to commission the facility, which would not just test Coronavirus, but even test other infectious diseases after Covid-19.
Emphasising on the importance of the laboratory, Governor Yahaya said the facility would help in managing the Coronavirus Pandemic and that his administration would do necessary things to manage the health system.
“So, from Covid, God-forbid, to any other disease that can afflict us, we are prepared now and we shall continue to prepare because there is no end to development. We shall be advancing gradually day-by-day, to the best of our ability,” Governor Yahaya said.
He announced that the process for setting up of two more laboratories had gone far, with the support of the Nigerian Government agencies.
“And we have beside this one, another laboratory coming up at the College of Medical Science with the support of the Tertiary Educational Trust Fund and equally there is another one coming up at the Federal Teaching Hospital, with the support of the North East Development Commission. So, by the time we have three labs functioning in Gombe, I think the sky will be the limit, our testing ability will be improved and the people of Gombe will get the best that they can get ever,” Governor Yahaya said.
He commended the NCDC for coming to accredit the laboratory in Gombe and for helping the state manage the pandemic, despite challenges.
The Governor, however, urged the organisation to do more in rendering support in the fight against the pandemic, saying ”the state has only received 100 million Naira and one Hilux Vehicle from the Nigerian Government, while the state had expended over one billion Naira in managing the pandemic.”
The Representative of the NCDC, the Senior Technical Advisor to the Director General on Lab Services, Mr. Anthony Ahumibe, commended the efforts made by the Gombe State Government to establish the laboratory, promising to give the state all the needed continual and sustained support to ensure its maximum use of the facility.
“We will continue to work with the state to make sure that this is sustained, in terms of getting re-agents and getting the training and then being able to expand the capacity of the lab even after Covid to do other tests,” Mr. Ahumibe said.
He stated that the NCDC was glad that Gombe State had the PCR Machine, which was sufficient for testing of Lassa Fever, while pledging to continually work with the state to test other infectious diseases in the state, saying this will enable quick response because of quick diagnostics and stop them.
The NCDC official said the Centre had a strategy in place, where it was working to develop technologies, ideas and opportunities for Rapid Diagnostic Kits to be used for first line screening, while those already infected could use the Rapid Kits and get confirmed by the PCR Machine.
He said such rapid Diagnostic Kits could be used at the airport before the results would be taken to the PCR Machine for confirmation.
The Chairman of the Gombe State Taskforce on Health, Professor Aliyu El-Nafaty, said the laboratory was looking beyond the Covid-19, because it had been fully equipped with all the necessary equipment for testing of Covid-19 and other future emerging infections.
“It will serve this state for clinical purpose diagnosis and also for research at the same time. It has been equipped with the necessary personnel; the personnel in the Specialist Hospital have already been trained and are going to take charge of the laboratory. All other supporting staff, coming from the university, are just complementing the services,” Professor El-Nafaty said.
The Chairman of the Gombe State Task Force on Covid-19, Professor Idris Mohammed, had described the established Molecular Laboratory as a landmark achievement of the task force, inaugurated in March this year.
Professor Mohammed said this was so because Governor Yahaya was among the first Governors to request for the establishment of the laboratory in the state, which faced some hurdles and subsequently made the governor to provide funds for the procurement of the machine, which has now been finally established.
“The laboratory contained the most up-to-date and the most accurate means of diagnosing Covid-19, because it contained the internationally recognised and WHO approved diagnostic tool known as the Real time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction Equipment, RTPCR, and the PCR Machine is served along with its accessories, which included safety cabinets and minus 84 degree freezer, which the WHO says a laboratory of this nature must contains,” Professor Mohammed said.
Source: Voice of Nigeria