In a bid to tackle future disease outbreaks in the country, the Canadian Government is partnering the Lagos State Government to build a Biobank and a biological laboratory at the Mainland Hospital, Yaba, Lagos.
Speaking during the inauguration of the facility, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said the laboratory would boost effective clinical management of public health outbreaks and launch the state into a new frontier in research and development in various areas of needs, especially diagnostics kits and production of vaccines, for an effective prevention and containment strategy against highly infectious diseases.
Ambode also described the project as a perfect example of a community development collaboration undertaken by Lagos State and the Canadian Government through its Global Partnership Programme.
“It was initiated to improve the management of infectious diseases, not only in Lagos but across the whole country. It would help our public health practitioners to promote and diagnose diseases of public health importance and boost the clinical management of such outbreaks,” he said.
The governor noted that the programme funded the design and the construction of the laboratory and the biobank, while the state covered the cost of training the personnel, maintenance of the laboratory, community engagement, the environmental assessment, and other ancillary activities.
He said, “Biological and environmental samples for science and medical research would be stored in this biobank. It would also create an enabling environment for local and local collaborations to fast-track research and discovery that would accelerate a solution to global public health concerns.
“With this bio laboratory, public health care in Lagos State has been raised to another level and it is for the benefit of the people.”
In her speech, the Governor-General of Canada, Ms Julie Payette, warned that failure on the part of government and other relevant agencies to check the spread the spread of infectious diseases could do great damage to society and ravage many lives.
Payette said it was essential to have the facility in Lagos because of the population of the state and the need to forestall future disease outbreaks.
She said, “We did eradicate smallpox, which used to kill a lot of people. Now it doesn’t exist anymore, except in little tubes in biobanks like this one so that if it ever comes back we would be able to fight it properly again.
“With this laboratory and biobank, Canada has contributed $4.25m towards this facility and we would continue to collaborate with you in this important effort. This lab and biobank is a testimony to the effort of the Canadian Government in finding a lasting solution to diseases outbreaks. May this place be a place of learning, caring, innovation and hope.”
Also, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, said that biosafety facilities were required infrastructure to safely forestall and carry our necessary diagnostics processes that would ensure the provision of accurate information for people.
“Lagos state is a populous city. In the last couple of years, we’ve had our own share of biological threats, from Ebola to lassa fever, tuberculosis, meningitis, monkey pox and yellow fever. As a responsible government we felt the need to establish this facility to handle future threats,” he said.