WAHO approves Enugu Diagnostic Centre as reference lab

THE West African Health Organization (WAHO) has designated Enugu State Medical Diagnostic Centre, Enugu, as its reference laboratory.

WAHO disclosed the decision through its Director-General Stanley Okolo at its three-day conference in Enugu, the state capital, on Monday.

The facility, therefore, joins the league of hospitals already endorsed by WAHO as its reference laboratories in the sub-region and has become a beneficiary of WAHO’s laboratory strengthening programmes funded by the German Government.

Reference laboratories are well-equipped, large facilities that perform miscellaneous testing not usually done in other hospitals.Okolo, a professor, expressed optimism that the state would maximize the opportunity of the hospital’s inclusion in West Africa’s network of regional reference laboratories.

Participants at the three-day WAHO conference which began in Enugu, Enugu State on Monday, September 27

 He said WAHO designated reference hospitals “for the sole purpose of early detection and response to outbreaks and epidemics.” 

At the conference attended by all the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member-states, Okolo noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had claimed over nine thousand lives in the ECOWAS countries.

He said the conference was historic as it was the first time such a regional meeting would meet in Enugu, the former capital of the old Eastern Region.

He said it was also “the first meeting of the Programs Committee being held physically during the COVID-19 pandemic”, adding that “as at yesterday, 26 September 2022, we had 644,521 cumulative cases of COVID-19 in the region, 9,464 deaths and 24,410 (active) cases in the ECOWAS region.”

Okolo explained that given the challenges posed by the pandemic, the meeting would discuss WAHO’s 2022 budget to reflect the challenges the region had faced from the pandemic, the lessons learnt, and the need for accelerated post-pandemic recovery.

He said, “Over the next three days, we will present some activities undertaken so far by WAHO during the year 2021 and our plans and programs for 2022. 

“We will engage all of you on the development of WAHO’s Strategic Plan for the next 5-10 years, our Vision 2025/30, a piece of work which is being led by our management partner, the Tony Blair Institute (TBI), who are supporting the Director-General in strategy development, delivery and communications.”

Enugu State Commissioner for Health, Emmanuel Ikechukwu addresses participants at the three-day WAHO Conference in Enugu, Enugu State on Monday, September 27.

Declaring the conference open, Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi called for greater collaboration among ECOWAS countries in checkmating any outbreak of disease.

He said the state government recognized the importance of the overall objective of WAHO “as we all, acting together with other community institutions, contribute to the attainment of the ideal of the creation of an Economic Union of West Africa, in accordance with Article 3 of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty”.

Represented by the state Commissioner for Health Emmanuel Ikechukwu, the governor urged the participants to come up with resolutions that would help the region bolster its fight against the pandemic.

“I call on you to kindly deliberate, as I am sure you will, on how this region will emerge from this pandemic, stronger, better and able to withstand any such global health security threat in future.

“We have a public sector driven economy with the state government as the highest single employer of labour, a situation however that this present administration is gradually changing.



    “Our giant strides (with representations in the health sector) have attracted international recognition and awards such as the Rockefeller Foundation’s recognition of Enugu among most Resilient Cities in the World in 2015”.

    He challenged the participants to focus on WAHO’s founding protocol: namely endemic disease research, training, information management, quality control for laboratories, and vaccine production.

     Others are eradicating drug dependency and abuse, human resources for health, health technology, health services and infrastructure, emergencies, collaboration, cooperation and conventions.

    He also used the medium to laud his administration’s efforts to improve the state health system.

    Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's The ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022 and has been the organisation's News Editor since September 2022. Contact him via email @ [email protected].

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