BY PATIENCE IVIE IHEJIRIKA, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has commended the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), describing the efforts of the staff in response to the pandemic for about a year now as ‘heroic’.
Osinbajo gave the commendation during his visit to the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, on Friday in Abuja.
The Vice President toured the facility and observed operations at the molecular laboratory, the HIV mega-laboratory, its biorepository for the storage of samples and other areas of the facility.
He reiterated the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to prioritise and strengthen health security.
Welcoming the Vice President, the minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, also commended NCDC’s critical role in the prevention, detection and response to disease outbreaks.
“We are very proud of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, which is our youngest agency at the Federal Ministry of Health. In the last four years, the agency has grown significantly in its mandate and delivery.
“The achievements of NCDC in Nigeria’s public health response have been as a result of the resilience, dedication and commitment of its leadership and staff,” he said.
On his part, the director-general of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, expressed his gratitude to the Vice President for his visit while sharing the agency’s journey with establishing the NRL, including the COVID-19 response and challenges.
“We remain grateful to the Executive arm of the Government for the strong political commitment to strengthen health security in the country. The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the need for stable, substantial and sustainable funding for health security.
“We were able to activate the NRL and three other laboratories for COVID-19 diagnosis in January 2020, because we had been preparing for the next pandemic for four years. Nigeria must invest in health security for us to be better prepared for the next pandemic.”