By Emem Idio – Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri on Tuesday inaugurated the Bayelsa State Molecular Laboratory, Research and Diagnostic Centre located within the premises of the State Medical University in Yenagoa the state capital.
Governor Diri who was conducted round the laboratory built at the cost of over N80 million, expressed satisfaction with the equipment at the Centre, stressing that with the inauguration of the laboratory, the state will no longer travel long distances or wait for weeks for samples results tests centres from Edo and Rivers States.
He commended the Permanent Secretary and Staff of the Ministry of Health and the entire health team for ensuring that the laboratory was completed in record time, noting that the Centre will outlive the COVID-19.
Governor Diri said: “Because of the pressure at Edo and Rivers State Testing Centre, they were some results that came in here a month after and some about two months later and we were very determined to ensure that we have our own test centre. So I gave marching orders to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health and his team and I am happy today because it is one thing go give marching orders, one thing to give approvals and another thing to give the implementation.
“Now we have our laboratory and testing centre even beyond COVID-19 and I think it is a thing of joy for all of us from Bayelsa that we will no longer travel long distances, we will no longer wait for weeks and for months, kudos to the health team and I am very satisfied with the equipment during the tour going round the test and laboratory centre.”
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and Deputy Chairman of the State COVID-19 Task Force Dr Nathaniel Akpoku, who put the cost of the molecular laboratory at over N80million said apart from COVID-19, Lassa Fever, Cholera, and other tests will also be carried out at the Centre.
Akpoku said, “This place cost is over N80million, in the range of that figure because we did a lot of manpower training, consultancy, a lot of things. It’s about that figure in the neighbourhood of that.
“Also beyond COVID-19, there are a lot of tests, even viral tests that can be carried out here as well as research, Lassa Fever, even Cholera tests, these are diseases that we experience here. We don’t need to carry samples to anywhere to do our tests, it’s here with us and managed by our people. The benefit is that Bayelsans can now be tested at any time.”
The Consultant Molecular Biologist of the Centre, Professor Tatfeng Mirabeau, in his remarks stated that the Centre has a maximum testing capacity of 150 samples daily, pointing out that the Centre was still undergoing validation by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, and will commence operations after validation.