By Ihechinyere Chigemeri-Uwom
Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia on Thursday inaugurated a Molecular and Diagnostic Laboratory in Aba to boost the state government’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the event, Ikpeazu expressed delight over the actualisation of the project.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the laboratory was realised through Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative between the government and Abia Development Summit (ADS).
He opined that the facility would enhance the people’s access to quality healthcare service.
“I pray that this facility will bring hope, succour and also restore the health of the end users,” Ikpeazu said.
In an address, Prof. Sam Erugo, the Chairman of ADS, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), credited the laboratory to the visionary leadership of Ikpeazu’s administration.
“We are ready to be in partnership with the Abia government to transform the health sector. This is the first phase and a work in progress,” Erugo said.
He expressed the NGO’s desire “to build a state- of- the-art medical facility” in Abia.
He recommended a PPP arrangement that could successfully run the laboratory.
Also, Dr Joe Osuji, the Commissioner for Health, expressed delight over the completion of the laboratory, saying it would quicken government’s efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve.
Osuji said: “Some months ago, we were sending samples for COVID-19 testing to other states. “From that period, the state government did everything to address the challenge.
“This led to the building of a molecular laboratory in Amachara and because of the ingenuity of a group of Abia people, the state has a new molecular laboratory in Aba.
“I am happy that from now onward, the Abia people will no longer send their samples outside the state for testing.”
Earlier, Mr Fred Ogwo, the acting Transition Committee Chairman of Aba South Local Government Area, described the molecular laboratory as a laudable project.
Ogwo said that the facility would help to curb medical tourism and also address issues arising from poor diagnosis.
He said that the laboratory further demonstrated state government’s committment to the transformation of the health sector in Abia.
In a remark, Chief Chris Igwe, an industrialist, commended the state government for its support and contributions toward the actualisation of the project.
Igwe urged Abia stakeholders to join hands with the governamt to transform the state. (NAN)