The Federal Government on Friday inaugurated the first Infectious Disease Center (IDC) in the Federal Capital Territory, and handed it over to the Abuja University Teaching Hospital (UATH).
At the inauguration of the 40-bed center in Gwagwalada, Abuja, Health Minister Dr. Osagie Ehanire said that the center would enhance Nigeria’s ability to respond to all infectious diseases.
“With laboratory testing and case management in one place, there is a much shorter time between collecting samples and confirming infection.
This will ensure early initiation of treatment and therefore mitigate mortality during infectious disease outbreaks.
“I am very proud that today, we now have an international standards center where we can handle highly pathogenic infectious disease cases, including critical laboratory and medical equipment,” said Ehanire.
The minister hinted that the model would be replicated across all 36 states to ensure the country was better prepared for infectious disease outbreaks.
Other facilities at the hospital inaugurated by the minister included the Accident and Emergency Unit, which is a 32-bed facility with an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), radiology room, dialysis unit, fully equipped dedicated operating room and supply unit. oxygen.
A Cardiology Unit was also inaugurated with facilities for non-invasive procedures, including a 4D echocardiography.
The minister also laid the foundation stone for the Mental Health Block, a 76-bed block that, when completed, will have facilities for specialized therapies, an emergency area, clinics, psychotherapy and seminar rooms, and a pharmacy.
The Director General of the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said in a comment that the project started in 2019 following the Lassa fever outbreak in 2018 and the urgent need for a center to manage infectious diseases.
In addition to managing viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Lassa fever, Ihekweazu said the Center was designated for case management of other infectious diseases, including Coronavirus, at the FCT.
The NCDC chief claimed that the treatment center also had a molecular laboratory for the rapid diagnosis of infectious diseases.
He said it was even more important to establish a treatment center in Abuja to improve health security, noting that COVID-19 had shown that no investment in the health sector was too small.
Ihekweazu reinforced the need for multisectoral collaboration to ensure the sustainability of the project.
Professor Bisala Ekele, UATH Chief Medical Director, reaffirmed the hospital administration’s commitment to ensure optimal utilization of the treatment center for the management of infectious diseases, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ekele stated that the NCDC had supported the FCT Administration to mitigate the impact of the pandemic through the training of healthcare workers in Infection Prevention and Control (IPC).
He added that the commission had also assisted in the provision of medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) and the deployment of rapid response teams.
It revealed that the NCDC had deployed and maintained a team of epidemiologists to support FCT health authorities in response to the pandemic.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the NCDC is mandated to lead the preparation, detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies.
Part of its role involves supporting states and developing their capacity to respond to outbreaks, with directives from the Minister of Health.
NAN reports that the NCDC conducted a joint on-site assessment with relevant stakeholders at the FCT and it was agreed that UATH, Gwagwalada was strategically located and suitable for the treatment center.