Thursday, January 24, 2019
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DR-TB Treatment Center, Reference Lab for Abia State

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The Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN) with funding from the Global Fund has commissioned a Drug Resistant Tuberculosis Treatment Center and a BSL2 Tuberculosis Reference laboratory at the Federal Medical Center in Umuahia and State Specialist Hospital in Amachara, Abia State.

According to the National Coordinator of the National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli-Ulcer Control Program, Dr. A. Lawanson, Abia State has been “one of the states without facility to treat Drug Resistant Tuberculosis patients, which has resulted in untold hardship for patients diagnosed of the disease who often have to go to the other nearby states to be admitted in the DR-TB treatment center when necessary.”

imagesShe said that the treatment center and the reference laboratory are to “ensure universal access to prompt diagnosis, treatment, care and support for all DR-TB patients diagnosed in Abia state and around the South Eastern geopolitical zone of the country.”

While making a remark at the commissioning of the reference laboratory in Amachara, IHVN’s Dr. Anthony Okwuosah, Senior Technical Adviser for Care and Treatment, who represented the Chief Executive Officer of IHVN, Dr. Patrick Dakum, commended the people and government of Abia State for their enthusiasm to access better health for their people. He said that IHVN has the mantra to support the government because “what we do regularly is scoop the funding environment around the world, look for funding and when we get it, we come down and work with willing stakeholders in Nigeria to ensure that our people get the maximum benefit for some of these resources,” he added.

Abia State Commissioner for Health, Dr. John Ahukanna thanked the Global Fund for siting the laboratory in Amachara adding that “asimages part of Government commitment to ensure quality health care services to its entire populace, the state aims to make adequate use of this facility, provide the security and the necessary manpower going forward.”

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, who was in the state to commission the laboratory, said that he was not surprised that the laboratory is located in Abia because of the industry demonstrated by the people and government of Abia, stressing that the issue of TB is “something that is of concern to all of us.”

According to him, Nigeria is “one of the top ten countries with TB in the world and when it comes to making diagnosis of TB, we are the poorest country in terms of being able to diagnose TB. In fact, the estimate is that out of every six cases of TB, we can only diagnose one. The implication is that there are five people out there, maybe even people sitting here with us who have TB but are undiagnosed and the danger is that each one of those people can infect potentially 15 other people and that is why it is important to make sure we diagnose them, moreso, ensure that we put them on treatment,” he said.

Governor of Abia state, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, who cut the ceremonial tape to declare the laboratory open, commended the Global Fund, Institute of Human Virology and the Federal Government and said that “for us in Abia State, we count ourselves lucky to be able to host this reference laboratory. It is going to serve other states in the South-East and beyond and our assurance to you sir is that we will do everything humanly possible to make sure that ten years after now, you can count on this laboratory, it will still be strong and functioning.”

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