Health Minister, Dr Osagie Ehanire

Health Minister applauds NCDC over National Reference Laboratory

The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. E. Osagie Ehanire has visited the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) National Reference Laboratory (NRL) in Gaduwa, Abuja.

This visit is part of his routine tour to Departments and Agencies within the Federal Ministry of Health, to ensure their alignment with the vision of this administration to improve the health of Nigerians.

Touring the facility, the Minister interacted with staffs who work on the diagnosis of infectious diseases in Nigeria while observing operations at the molecular laboratory, HIV mega-laboratory, bio repository and other critical areas of the laboratory.

 He expressed his delight at the progress made by the Laboratory since its operationalization in 2017. He said, ‘Public health is a major priority for the Government of Nigeria. We are proud that this facility exists and provides critical laboratory functions for the country. We will continue to prioritise its development as an important asset for Nigeria’ the Minister assured.

Dr. Ehanire also congratulated NCDC on the integration and collaboration that has been achieved across agencies and disease programmes in the health sector. He noted this commendable development especially, in the light of the current need for prudent and efficient resource utilisation in the country.

 The Director General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, on his part, shared the agency’s progress and vision for a strong public health laboratory structure in Nigeria with the Minister. He further highlighted the support of partners notably the World Health Organization, US-Government and Public Health England, Robert Koch Institute and others; in strengthening the capacity for public health laboratory services in Nigeria.

The National Reference Laboratory is the apex Public Health Reference Laboratory of the country and has the mandate to coordinate the diagnosis of diseases of public health importance. Over the last three years, the laboratory has developed her capacity for molecular diagnosis of Lassa fever, monkey pox, yellow fever, measles, rubella, meningitis, cholera and highly pathogenic infections such as Ebola.

Also, the NRL also provides genetic sequencing and other advanced services for research and surveys. In 2018, the NRL served as the central laboratory for the National AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) and is well positioned to provide similar support to other disease surveys.

In addition to the services provided directly by the NRL, NCDC also coordinates a network of public health laboratories across the country for the diagnosis of epidemic prone diseases.

Enefaa Bob-Manuel

Head, Media and Public Relations