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Canadian Governor-General, Payette, Ambode commission $4.5m Ebola biobank

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

Canadian Governor General, Julie Payette, and Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has commissioned $4.5 million biobank laboratory, designed to diagnose and manage Ebola, Lassa Fever outbreak and other infectious disease.

While commissioning the biological containment laboratory, tagged, Lagos State Biobank, LSB at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba, on Tuesday, they argued that outbreak of any infectious disease including Ebola, in Lagos considering it’s population could spell doom if such facility isn’t provided urgently.

On reason the Canadian Government chose Lagos, Payette stressed that the achievement recorded by the state in 2014 tackling Ebola virus was responsible for the partnership on the project.

“And Canada is very glad to have filled that gap with you with this laboratory and Bio-bank. We will continue to collaborate with you.”

She noted that the facility will assist to “prevent, detect and respond to about the worst calamities possible outcomes that could happen.

“The incidence of infectious disease if not contained could do so much damage and could ravage so many lives.

“It is not important, it is absolutely  essential to have a facility like this to make sure that never happens.

“As serious as the outbreak of Ebola was here in Nigeria and elsewhere in West Africa, it could not have been much worse,” Payette added.

Earlier, Ambode explained that the fund expended on the project which commenced in 2016, was provided by both government to boost prevention of public infectious diseases.

According to him, the Canadian government was responsible for the project design and construction while the state funded the community engagement, training of personnel, maintenance and environmental impact assessment for the facility.

He described the partnership as an effective collaboration which the state government was very proud that the Canadian government lead in this part.

“Lagos is excited over the project. It is a perfect example by a forwarding looking governments through partnership.”

On the facility, the governor stated that the biobank was designed for the management and control of infectious disease in the country.

“It will help to promote and diagnose public health diseases and boost clinical management of infectious disease outbreak in Lagos.”

Ambode added that the Lagos State Biobank would help Fast-track global and local research on infectious diseases.

“It will help to launch the state into a new frontier in research and development in various area of need especially in the diagnostic kits and production of vaccines for containment of infectious disease,” he added.

Earlier, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, hinted that the facility was one of the recommendations made by the committee inaugurated by the former Governor, Babatunde Fashola, after the state was declared Ebola free in October 2014.

Representative of Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr. Adebayo Adeniji, disclosed that Ebola virus outbreak made the Federal Government realise the importance of collaboration with other countries on disease control.

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