*commissions molecular laboratory
By NWOGHA NDUBUISI ANDY, Abakaliki
The Director General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu on Tuesday 16th March, 2021, charged Ebonyi people to be proactive in the usage of COVID-19 Astrazeneca vaccine to curtail the spread of the deadly virus in the state.
He gave the charge during the official commissioning of Molecular Laboratory at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (AEFUTHA).
The DG explained the effort made by the federal government so far, in championing the fight against the scourge and encouraged all well meaning Ebonyians and the country at large not to panic but accept the vaccine in a good heart as himself and all other Covid-19 frontline workers have taken the vaccine without any negative effect.
He said, that the building was constructed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control but was equipped by Covid-19 molecular laboratory intervention fund,as sponsored by the federal government through the ministry of Health.
He expressed satisfaction that the Centre would be the hub of science in the country and urged the management to ensure the capacity building of the staff for maximum use of the laboratory.
He further appreciated all the staff of AE-FUTHA and partners who have contributed immensely for the exceptional health care delivery of people, saying that the laboratory had the capacity of managing all viral diseases including LAssa fever, covid19 and other infectious diseases ravaging the country.
He charged health care workers to focus on science and delivery, and advised them for proper usage of the lab for its optimum result.
Also speaking, the Board Chairman of AEFUTHA, Alhaji Ahmed Tijjani Ramalan,noted that the laboratory was challenging and stressed that its successful completion has became a great value to the society.
He also stated that the project was one of the giant steps towards making the hospital the world medical tourism centre, and appreciated the NCDC Boss, Ihekweazu whom he said his tremendous effort towards realization of the molecular laboratory is unforgotten,adding that AEFUTHA has became one of the five states that have hospitals with laboratories for covid-19 test that meets up World Health Organization’s standard in the country.
On his own part, the Chief Medical Director of AEFUTHA, Dr Emeka Onwe Ogah applauded the NCDC Director General for his numerous supports to the hospital, which according to him, facilitated the building of the molecular laboratory.
Ogah commended President Muhammad Buhari and Umahi led administration for assisting the hospital to equip the molecular laboratory, and hinted that the centre would go a long way to enhance the operations of the health care delivery in the region.
Ogah also appealed from the Federal government to convert the viral research, treatment and control centre of the hospital to a regional centre, even as, they improve on the poor power challenge facing the hospital.
According to him, the molecular laboratory is the only centre that is currently serving South-East and South-South regions of Nigeria.
However, the CMD promised to intestify effort by improving on the testing capabilities in the hospital, adding that he would turn the area to health tourism, pointed out that Lassa fever and Covid-19 scourge would be a thing of the past soon and called on Ebonyi people to continue to adhere strictly to all covid19 protocols.
Meanwhile, the Ebonyi Governor, Chief David Umahi represented by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Daniel Umezurike has described the processes involved in the building and commissioning of the molecular laboratory as a milestone, and applauded the NCDC for making it a reality.
He pledged a continuous support of the Ebonyi State government to the hospital saying that his adminstration is committed towards improving health status of Ebonyi people positively to the highest level.
Adding his voice,the Head of Mission Nigeria, Dr Ewald Stals described the AEFUTHA Molecular laboratory as a world class and maintained that their partnership with the hospital has yielded a good result saying that lab center would go a long way to fight all dreaded diseases.
The event was witnessed by staff of the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, representative of MECA, representative of partner bodies and host of others.