The United States Government through Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in partnership with the Nigerian military has supported health facility in Lagos State with a genomics and molecular diagnostic research laboratory.
The project, which was delivered by the Joint West Africa Research Group (JWARG)/ African Center of Excellent for Genomics of Infectious Disease (ACEGID), was commissioned by Ikorodu General Hospital in Lagos and sited at the Redeemer's University in Ede,Osun State to enhance health education and research, as well as strengthen health services in Lagos State.
Commissioning the project, the Chief Medical Director, Ikorodu General Hospital, noted that it was the first time the military is partnering with Civilian Agency to establish a Laboratory of this caliber that would allow for tests within three hours for rapid detection of a wide range of pathogens such as malaria parasite, Lassa fever virus, Ebola virus, Dengue and Monkey pox to mention a few.
"Provision of a coordinated system to respond to these diseases is long overdue as the facility for their diagnosis is very limited and not easily accessible. The activities of the research laboratory would make it possible to detect the emergence of the new infectious diseases. Prompt diagnosis and clinical management leads to better prognosis, hence establishment of this research laboratory is a giant stride in the history of medical practice in Ikorodu General Hospital, Lagos State and other West African Countries.
"We are highly appreciative of this gesture which will promote the growth of medical services in Lagos State and Nigeria."
Joint West Africa Research Group (JWARG) made large contributions to the ancillary research laboratory including installation and validation of state of the art diagnostic equipment and genomics sequencing capability.
The Consul General U.S Consulate, Mr John Bray, reiterated the commitment of US Government to health services in Nigeria. According to him,the USA Government commits $One Billion annually to Nigeria health sector.
He added "The US believes in the health of Nigeria. Bilaterally corporation between the agencies of US for International Development and U.S President's Emergency plan for Aids Relief and Malaria Initiative have strong partnership with the Nigeria military. Secondly, the project is not just a partnership only between US and Nigeria but it is a regional relationship to Liberia and Ghana. Nigeria is the regional hub for WRAIR, JWARG activities. Joint West Africa Research Group laboratory training is primarily based at the 661 Nigerian Air Force Hospital in Lagos. This is a Civilians, military, and Lagos State relationship which is a welcome development. It a collaboration between the Nigerian military, Walter Reed Army Institute Research, Lagos State Government, U.S Government and the Academic world. This Excellent project is sited in Lagos State because Lagos is the center of Excellent."
Vice Chancellor, Redeemers University, Professor Debo Adeyewa, commended the partners and urged management of the hospital to maintain the facilities.
Chairman, Lagos State Health commission, Dr. Bayo Aderiye, who represented the Lagos State commissioner of Health, Dr Jide Idris, reiterated the commitment of the State Government, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode towards quality healthcare service in the State adding that the collaboration was as a result of great vision of government for the health of Lagosians and Nigeria at large.
For research involving human subjects, investigators at the Redeemer's University work in collaboration with Ikorodu General Hospital in Lagos State. In June 2017, Redeemer's University and African Center for Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Disease (ACEGID) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lagos State officially sanctioning and solidifying the research relationship between the Institution and the Hospital.
Principal Investigator in ACEGID at Redeemer's University, Professor Christian Happi confirmed the first case of Ebola Disease in Nigeria and was at the forefront of the diagnosis of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Nigeria during the 2014 Ebola outbreak and worked with Nigerian health authorities for the rapid and successful containment of the disease.