The Federal Government on Friday inaugurated the first Infectious Disease Centre (IDC) in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, and handed it over to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH).
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who spoke at the inauguration of the 40-bed centre in Gwagwalada, Abuja, said that the centre would improve Nigeria’s capacity to respond to all infectious diseases.
“With laboratory testing and case management in one location, there is a much shorter time between sample collection and infection confirmation.
“This will ensure early initiation of treatment and, thus, mitigate mortality during infectious disease outbreaks.
“I am very proud that today, we now have a centre of international standard, with critical medical and laboratory equipment, where we can manage highly pathogenic infectious disease cases,” he said.
The minister said that the efforts were underway to replicate the centre in all the 36 states of the federation so as to ensure that the country was better prepared for any outbreak of infectious diseases.
In his remark. Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said that the IDC project started in 2019, following the outbreak of Lassa Fever in 2018 and the urgent need for a specialised centre to manage infectious diseases.
He said that apart from managing viral haemorrhagic fevers such as Lassa fever, the centre would also manage other infectious diseases, including coronavirus, in the FCT.
Ihekweazu said that the centre was equipped with a molecular laboratory for the prompt diagnosis of infectious diseases.
He said that it was expedient for the government establish the IDC so as to improve health security of the citizens, adding that COVID-19 pandemic had shown that no investment in the health sector was too small.
Ihekweazu, however, underscored the need for multi-sectoral collaboration to ensure the sustainability of the project.
Speaking, Prof. Bisala Ekele, the Chief Medical Director of UATH, reaffirmed the commitment of the hospital management to ensuring the optimal utilisation of the IDC for the management of infectious diseases, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ekele noted that the NCDC had supported the FCT Administration (FCTA) in efforts to mitigate the impact of the pandemic through training of health care workers in Infection Prevention and Control (IPC).
He said that the commission had also assisted in the provision of medical supplies, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and deployment of rapid response teams.
He added that the NCDC had deployed and maintained a team of epidemiologists to support the FCT health authorities in the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Regent Times reports that apart from the IDC, the minister inaugurated other facilities such the 32-bed Accident and Emergency Unit with an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), a Cardiology Unit, a Radiology Suite, a Dialysis unit, a dedicated Operating Theatre and an Oxygen Supply Unit at the hospital.
He also laid the foundation stone for the Mental Health Block, a 76-bed block which, when completed, would have facilities for specialised therapies, an emergency area, consulting, psychotherapy and seminar rooms and a pharmacy.