Three new laboratories on Tuesday officially joined the network of labs for yellow fever, measles and rubella.
They newly activated labs include the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital and the National Reference Laboratory of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
“They are a necessary addition to our existing laboratory network for yellow fever, measles and rubella,” said NCDC director-general, Chikwe Ihekweazu.
“These laboratories are also part of the global WHO laboratory network.”
They bring to a total of six, the number of labs with capacity to test for yellow fever—with one in each geopolitical zone.
The Officer-In-Charge of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Clement Peter Lasuba, said, ‘We are very proud of this milestone and fully recognise NCDC’s leadership in this regard. The inclusion of these three new laboratories will strengthen the national diagnostic capacity; a critical step for Nigeria’s health security.”
Chief medical director of UBTH, Darlington Obaseki, said the spread of labs in the network would reduce turn-around time for testing for yellow fever and reporting to inform decision-making.
He said UBTH management would ensure the standards required are maintained for full functionality.
While UBTH serves the South-South, UNTH will serve the South East, in addition to NCDC’s National Reference Laboratory for the North East, Maitama District Hospital for the north central, Yusuf Dansoho Memorial Hospital in Kaduna for the North West and Central Public Health Laboratory in Lagos for the South West.
The activated lab at UNTH has been testing samples since January 10—with two positives for yellow fever and two for rubella.