The first-ever Zonal Reference Laboratory (ZRL) has been opened by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital of Ekiti. The research lab was built in partnership with the state government of Ekiti State with financial support from the World Bank’s Pandemic Emergency Financing facility through the Nigeria COVID-19 Preparedness and Response project, according to a statement signed by Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, director-general of the NCDC, and provided to journalists.
Dr. Adetifa stated that the action intends to improve the nation’s diagnostic capability using ZRL. He claims that the organization is required by law to create a nationwide network of highly specialized reference laboratories in order to support national health security. Thus, the installation of the laboratories was in accordance with Nigeria’s 2017 (JEE) Joint External Evaluation recommendations as well as the nation’s duties under the International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005. In order to provide a reliable network of testing laboratories for diseases of public health relevance, the NCDC has implemented its tiered laboratory network.
Facilities will bring services closer to various states.
Also, ZRLs will facilitate sample transportation, shorten turnaround times for testing and the release of results, and increase the resilience of our emergency and preparedness efforts at the subnational level. They will also bring services closer to States. This newly established Ekiti ZRL will improve infectious disease diagnosis and surveillance throughout all of southern Nigeria, with a focus on the six states that make up the South-West region: Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo, Osun, Lagos, and Ogun.
Within the framework of our Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response, or IDSR system, this laboratory is able to make diagnoses for priority diseases. In the South-west, the laboratory will serve as the main hub for the prompt and accurate diagnosis of epidemic and epidemic-prone diseases that pose a hazard to public health. As part of taking forward lessons learnt from the global COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Nigeria, the NCDC has successfully designated and commenced the establishment of Zonal Reference Laboratory,( ZRL) across the 6 geopolitical zones which are at various stages of completion.
NCDC designated the CPHL as the Lagos Campus of the NRL.
These laboratories will support the implementation of quality management systems, including national and international accreditation of laboratories in the NCDC network, as well as outbreak preparedness and response, wider geographic diagnostic coverage for epidemic and epidemic-prone diseases, and epidemic and disease prone disease surveillance. As we continue to respond to infectious illnesses of public health relevance, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Health are working through the NCDC to combine COVID-19 investments and strengthen our outbreak preparedness and response effort.
Remember that the NCDC designated the Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL) as the Lagos Campus of the NRL to support the operations of the NRL in Abuja, with the provision of high-quality laboratory services, coordination and direction of laboratory-based surveillance, and provision of oversight to state public health laboratories in Nigeria. Blood, DNA, and RNA biospecimens that have undergone processing in these specialized and reference labs are stored in biobanks for future reference and research needs.
Biorepository is a national source for superior-quality samples.
With the largest bio-repository in West Africa located at the NRL, Gaduwa, Abuja. To supplement the NRL in Abuja, a branch of the bio-repository has been established at CPHL with funding from the US-CDC. In order to meet the relevant ethical constraints, this operational definition will also provide potential researchers with simple access to biological samples. A national centralized resource for priceless, high-quality, and well-annotated samples would be provided by the recently-commissioned biorepository in CPHL.
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