As part of Federal Government’s commitment to provide the necessary infrastructure & resources for infectious disease management in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) commissioned the first Infectious Disease Centre (IDC), in the Federal Capital Territory, and handed it over to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH).
Speaking at the inauguration of the centre in UATH Gwagwalada, Abuja, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said that “the establishment of the infectious disease treatment centre will go a long way towards improving our capacity to respond to all infectious diseases”. He added that “with laboratory testing & case management in one location there is much shorter time between sample collection & infection confirmation which ensures early initiation of treatment & mitigates mortality during infectious disease outbreaks”
The Minister expressed his delight at the achievement of this milestone in the Federal Capital Territory & commended the management of UATH Gwagwalada & every institution involved in the successful completion of the project. He showered praises on the Hospital for being one of the first centres that took on the challenge of managing COVID19 cases in Nigeria and who has been on the forefront on the response. Dr Osagie Ehanire also commended all the health workers who have sustained the response over the past eight (8) months describing them as true heroes.
The Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, in a remark, said that the project commenced in 2019 following the outbreak of the Lassa Fever in 2018 and the urgent need for a centre to manage infectious diseases. In addition to managing viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Lassa fever, Ihekweazu said the Centre was designated for the management of cases of other infectious diseases, including Coronavirus, in the FCT. He stated that the treatment centre also had a molecular laboratory for the prompt diagnosis of infectious diseases.
The Chief Medical Director of UATH Gwagwalada, Prof. Bissalla Ekele, in his remark reaffirmed the commitment of the Hospital management to ensuring optimal utilisation of the treatment centre for the management of infectious diseases, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Prof. Ekele stated that the NCDC had supported the FCT Administration to mitigate the impact of the pandemic through training of health care workers on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC). He added that the Commission had also assisted in the provision of medical supplies, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and deployment of rapid response teams. He disclosed that the NCDC had deployed and maintained a team of epidemiologists to support the FCT health authorities in response to the pandemic.
Other facilities in the Hospital inaugurated by the minister included the Accident and Emergency Unit which is a 32-bed facility with an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), radiology suite, dialysis unit, fully equipped dedicated operating theatre and oxygen supply unit. Also inaugurated was a Cardiology Unit with facilities for non-invasive procedures including a 4D echocardiograph. The minister also laid the foundation stone for the Mental Health Block, a 76-bed block which, when completed, would have facilities for specialised therapies, an emergency area, consulting, psychotherapy and seminar rooms, and a pharmacy.