By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has disclosed plan to establish a molecular laboratory in Nasarawa State to enable medical experts carry out test for the dreaded COVID-19.
Director General of the centre, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, disclosed this while on a courtesy call to Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, at the Government House, on Wednesday.
Dr. Ihekweazu, who was in the state on an official visit to the state, further disclosed that the NCDC will work with the state government to set of the laboratory in the next few weeks.
Dr. Ihekweazu was in the state to inspect facilities at the Nasarawa State Infectious Diseases Control Centre, in Lafia, the state capital.
While commending the state Governor for investing heavily in the health security of the people, the NCDC director general described the state owned Infectious Diseases Control Centre, as a great opportunity to pool together resources and expertise from the state, alongside the resources from the NCDC, as well as from research institutions and the private sector.
Dr. Ihekweazu promised to brief the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, on the progress made in Nasarawa State, with a view to supporting the state further.
“I’m going to Abuja with two mandates. What I can do from the small pot of resources-human, technical and otherwise. But also really to passionately talk to the PTF to recognize the work you are doing and support you,” he told the Governor.
If the molecular laboratory comes to fruition, COVID-19 test will be conducted in Lafia, instead of taking samples to Abuja for the test.
Responding, Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, said the policy thrust of his administration is to complete every conceivable dream initiated by his predecessors, stressing that the infectious diseases control centre was started by the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-makura.
Engineer Sule disclosed that even though his administration’s mantra is to promote economic empowerment and create employment, these are all predicated on three key issues namely, security, education and health.
According to the Governor, with these three, there won’t be any economic activity or empowerment, which explains the thrust of his administration in these three key areas.
He explained that even though the state may lack the resources to complete the centre on its own, efforts are geared towards wooing support from within and outside the state in order to make the centre functional.
This is just as the Governor disclosed plans to construct the link road leading to the centre, as added effort to provide necessary infrastructure in order to facilitate easy access to the facility.
Earlier, in a welcome address, state Commissioner of Health, Pharmacist Ahmed Baba Yahaya, while describing the infectious diseases control centre as the best in West Africa, if not Africa as a whole.
Pharmacist Yahaya stated that the setting up of the centre, Nasarawa State is looking beyond the current coronavirus pandemic but will be ready for any eventual outbreak of any infectious disease in the future.