The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire on Friday commissioned and handed over the Infectious Disease Centre situated at University of Abuja Teaching Hospital in what he called ‘a significant step towards strengthening our capacity to manage infectious diseases and respond to outbreaks in Nigeria.’
Commissioning the project, the Minister stated that it commenced over a year ago, as part of the commitment of the Federal Government to providing the necessary infrastructure and resources for infectious disease management, through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
According to Ehanire, the project was about half completed when the COVID-19 pandemic began at the beginning of the year.
The Minister expressed satisfaction that Nigeria now has an international standard centre where highly pathogenic infectious disease cases, including critical medical cases can be managed.
He said, “The University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada was one of the first centres that took on the challenge of managing COVID-19 cases in Nigeria and since then has been on the forefront on the response. I want to expressly commend all the health workers who have sustained the response over the past 8 months, you are true heroes.
“The establishment of this purpose-built infectious disease treatment centre will go a long way towards improving our capacity to respond to all infectious diseases. With laboratory testing and case management in one location, there is much shorter time between sample collection and infection confirmation, which ensures early initiation of treatment and thus mitigate mortality during infectious disease outbreaks.
“The improvement of health security infrastructure does not stop in the Federal Capital Territory. We are also working with other states to establish purpose-built treatment centres that will ensure we are better prepared for infectious disease outbreaks. Our goal is to have at least one standard centre like this every state” he said.
Ehanire said the Federal Ministry of Health under him is proud of this milestone achievement in the Federal Capital Territory, commending the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the management of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), and every institution involved in the successful completion of the project.
He reiterated the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to strengthening the country’s national health security, maintaining the the federal government shall ensure that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, as an agency of the Federal Ministry of Health, has the resources to adequately prevent, detect and respond to diseases of public health importance.
“COVID-19 has been a wakeup call for the health sector and we are living up to the challenge. However, we shall continue to sustain routine services in order to maintain the gains in health indices we have made so far. I have therefore directed that this centre be put to immediate use so that the space currently being utilised for COVID-19 isolation and treatment, can be used for the purpose it was built.
“I am pleased to also be commissioning two other facilities in this hospital today: the Accident and Emergency Unit which is a 32-bed Unit with an intensive care unit (ICU), radiology suite, dialysis unit, fully equipped dedicated operating theatre and oxygen supply; and the Cardiology Unit with a full complement of facilities for non-invasive procedures including a state-of-the-art 4D echocardiograph.
“I will also lay the foundation stone for the Mental Health Block , a 76-bed block which, when completed, will have facilities for specialised therapies; an emergency area; consulting, psychotherapy and seminar rooms; and a pharmacy.
“On this note it is my pleasure to commission this Infectious Disease Centre and hand it over to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital” he concluded.