COVID-19: Gombe commissions N120m molecular diagnostic laboratory
Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya has commissioned the N120m molecular and diagnostic laboratory located at the state specialist hospital, Gombe in order to facilitate the testing of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
The project which was single-handedly funded by the Gombe state Government was estimated to have gulped over N120 million and has since begun testing for COVID-19 which is the current pandemic across the world.
During the commissioning ceremony on Tuesday, the governor said that the importance of the facility to the improvement of the health sector in the state cannot be overemphasised, noting that the state is now better prepared to confront any infectious disease that may afflict the people.
He further said that with the establishment of the laboratory, the state can now manage the COVID-19 pandemic more effectively unlike in the past when it had to wait for results from Abuja or Jos.
The governor also explained that despite the initial hiccups in establishing the laboratory, the state still ranks high in sample testing as indicated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC) report.
He commended the state Taskforce Committee on COVID-19 and the entire frontline health workers in the state for their commitment and sacrifices saying, “Our administration will not relent until we have everything it takes to manage the health system effectively and efficiently”.
The governor said that his administration has gone a long way in setting up two more laboratories with the support of federal agencies, such as TETfund which will establish a molecular lab at the College of Medical Sciences of the Gombe State University and Federal Teaching Hospital to be put up by the North-East Development Commission (NEDC).
Inuwa Yahaya then expressed confidence that when the three laboratories become fully functional, the testing capacity of the state will be enhanced and the people will get the best of medical services.
He thanked the management of the NCDC for their technical support, accreditation of the laboratory and for managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
He, however, called on the NCDC to do more in supporting the state, disclosing that Gombe only received a Hilux van and N100 million as support from the NCDC saying that the state has so far expended over N1billion in the management of COVID-19 in the state.
Chairman of the State Taskforce Committee on COVID-19, Professor Idris Mohammed said that the commissioning of the molecular laboratory marks one of the landmark achievements of the Taskforce and by extension the administration of Governor Inuwa Yahaya.
He said that the establishment of the laboratory for the diagnosis of COVID-19 infection has been a long way coming, recalling that the State Governor was about the first Chief Executive to have requested for the establishment of the testing centre.
Mohammed Idris said that the laboratory which cost the Gombe State Government over N120million was single-handedly executed by the administration of Governor Inuwa Yahaya.
In his own remarks, The Chairman, Gombe State Taskforce on Health Sector, Professor Aliyu Usman Elnafaty said that the laboratory has been equipped with necessary facilities and accredited by the NCDC for COVID-19 testing.
He said that the lab is equally equipped to carry out other emerging infectious diseases to serve the state in clinical diagnosis for a long time to come, adding that health personnel have already been trained to manage the facility.
The representative of the NCDC, Mr Tony Ahumibe commended the state government for single-handedly establishing the molecular laboratory in the State.
He said that the lab has met all NCDC requirements and has been accredited to carry out COVID-19 testing in the state as contained in Ismaila Uba Misilli, Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the governor.