The newly built Lagos State Level-3 Biosafety Laboratory, also known as the Lagos Biobank, has commenced operation.
The facility, located at the Lagos Mainland Hospital (formerly Infectious Diseases Hospital), has the capacity to process, rapidly identify and store samples of infectious diseases like Ebola, Lassa fever and the novel Coronavirus.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, said during a visit to the hospital at the weekend that the new facility was built by the state government with support from the Canadian government to ensure effective management of infectious diseases.
“With this facility, which is the highest and most functional biosafety, biobanking laboratory in Nigeria and West Africa, Lagos is prepared to tackle and contain any possible outbreak of emerging infectious diseases, novel and highly infectious pathogens,” he stated.
Abayomi, who also inspected other facilities at the Mainland Hospital, including the infectious disease wards, isolation wards, quarantine units and proposed sites for expansion of isolation wards and mini- emergency operation centre, expressed satisfaction at the level of preparedness of the infectious disease hospital and the bio-security unit against a possible disease outbreak.
The Commissioner, giving an update on the level of preparedness of Lagos State on the raging coronavirus in Southeast Asia and Lassa fever outbreak in some states in Nigeria, disclosed that the Ministry of Health was working closely with some other agencies of the federal government, including the National Centre for Disease Control and Ports Health, to strengthen surveillance in the state.
He urged citizens to adopt and practise a high standard of personal and environmental hygiene, including regular hand-washing, covering of the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing, as well as practising good biosecurity precautions with domestic and wild animals as measures against the transmission of any kind of contagious infection and pathogens.