By From Segun Awofadeji
As part of its determined efforts to contain the scourge of the COVID- 19 pandemic in the Northeast subregion, the North East Development Commission (NEDC) has handed over a comprehensively equipped Molecular Testing Laboratory to the Bauchi State government in order to fast track sample testing for coronavirus and other infectious diseases in the state.
Speaking during the commissioning/handing over ceremony held at the premises of the Specialist Hospital, Bauchi yesterday, the Managing Director/CEO of NEDC, Alhaji Mohammed Alkali explained that the molecular laboratory in Bauchi State was equipped by the commission at the instance of Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed whom he said had expressed resolve to ending the pandemic in the state.
He said the molecular laboratory in the state will include the diagnosis of other important diseases hitherto not tested in the state.
The NEDC boss noted that the advent of Coronavirus pandemic brought to limelight the huge needs gap in the health sector both at federal and state levels.
According to him,“For the Northeast region that is gradually recovering from a decade long insurgency, capacity insufficiency to contain COVID 9 is even more evident.
“The challenges in the health sector in this region include a conspicuous deficit in health workers and hospital equipment when the pandemic was first manifested in March 2020,
He lamented that “All the States in the North East lacked facilities and equipment to manage Covid-19 centers”, stressing that the outbreak of the covid-19 in the north east prompted the commission to support all the states in the north east in the fight against the dreaded virus.
“We donated ventilators, ambulances, hospital beds, multi-parameter monitors, PPEs, hand sanitizers, and infra-red thermometers to all the six states in the region”, Alkali said.
Commissioning the health facility, the state Governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, said that the center was established in order to fast track sample testing for infectious diseases even as he assured that the center will be effectively utilized for the control of infectious diseases in the state.
The Governor reiterated the commitment of his administration in improving health care services delivery in the state, stressing that without quality health, no development can thrive in the society.
According to him, “The establishment of the Center became necessary following the difficulties faced by officials of the state in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic considering that samples had to be taken to Abuja and later Jos for testing, a development that was too cumbersome.
“I am happy for this ground breaking ceremony in the state because our efforts as a government has paid off.The NCDC was approached for permission while the NEDC took the responsibility of equipping the Center and the state provided the structure.With the establishment of the Center and commencement of operations, the issue of sample testing for COVID-19 infection will be laid to rest.At this juncture, I want to commend the committee for doing a good job,” he said.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Center implementation committee, Dr Ladan Salihu, commended the governor for ensuring that the establishment of the Center became a reality through his support and timely release of the required funding.
Ladan Salihu who is the Chief of Staff, Bauchi Government House further said that with the commencement of operations at the Center, Bauchi State has joined the league of the few states that have such laboratory in the country.
The NEDC is charged with the responsibility to, “among other things, receive and manage funds from allocation of the Federal Account, international donors for the settlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads, houses and business premises of victims of insurgency as well as tackling menace of poverty and illiteracy. “