U.S. gifts Nigeria lab equipment for disease outbreak emergency response

The United States government, through its Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on Friday, in Abuja, donated some laboratory equipment to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC). Dr Farah Husain, Programme Director, CDC Division, Global Health Protection, who donated the equipment, explained that they were the U.S. government's efforts to help Nigeria address the challenges of disease outbreaks. The items, which included biosafety cabinets, sample collection materials, essential laboratory equipment, and personal protective equipment, were received by Dr Jide Idris, Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The CDC Program Director said that the equipment would help to sustain the quality and high outputs of Nigeria's laboratories. She assured Nigeria of the U.S.'s commitment to help develop response capacity in protecting the people against disease outbreaks. 'The U.S. government, via the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is proud to don ate equipment and supplies to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention to support emergency response laboratory activities. 'The United States is committed to working hand-in-hand with Nigeria to build response capacity and protect the health of our peoples. 'Today, we gather to celebrate a concrete example of the strong partnership between the United States and Nigeria,' she said. The U.S. official also noted that Nigeria was facing several disease outbreaks, such as Lassa fever, diphtheria, meningitis, stressing that laboratory scientists played a vital role in quickly detecting and confirming cases for effective outbreak response. 'The increased volume of laboratory work created by these simultaneous outbreaks creates a pressing need for additional resources. Together, with laboratories as the cornerstone of our collaborative work, we can quickly and effectively prevent and respond to outbreaks. 'Additionally, we have included large amounts of personal protective equipment to safeguard th e health and safety of laboratory workers. Whether in the subnational labs, health facilities, or the communities they serve, this donation will directly help save lives,' Husain said. Responding, the NCDC director general, said the gesture would go a long way to boost the country's disease detection and capability ability and assured the U.S. government that the equipment would be judiciously put to use. Idris underscored the importance of the Nigeria's collaboration with the U.S. government, adding that no government could fund health system alone because it was very expensive. 'No government can fund health system alone and that's why we require this kind of collaboration from different partners. The idea and the goal is to reduce the incidences. 'What concerns us mostly here is health security. This is key because a nation's mandate to the people is to ensure that the health of the people is sacrosanct in terms of preventing the people from catching any disease. 'And if so, where that provision or a ctivity is not adequate, to ensure that you properly detect whatever disease that has occurred, and at the same time respond to it,' the NCDC boss said. According to him, the Federal Government is funding the sector, but the funding may not necessarily be adequate, that is why the health system is very expensive. He said that in terms of global health security, one of the major focus was collaboration and partnerships, both internationally, nationally and sub-nationally. This, he explained, was because everybody was coming in with different expertise and none would necessarily have all the expertise needed to boost productivity. 'The goal is to achieve our objective to reduce incidents of disease. 'And, where you cannot stop that we respond adequately, so that we can bring down the effect of any disease that is the essence here. 'So collaborations, partnerships are key essentials of health security,' Idris added. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the donation, which took place at the Nation al Reference Laboratory, underscores the U.S. and Nigeria's shared commitment towards providing healthcare in Nigeria. Source: News Agency of Nigeria