*As Agba assures of FG’s commitment to fighting infectious diseases
EHIME ALEX, Lagos
The federal government has signed an $18.2 million grant agreement with the Japanese government to strengthen the capacity of Network laboratories of the Nigeria Centre of Disease Control for accurate medical and laboratory investigations.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, signed on behalf of the federal government. He praised the Japanese government for fulfilling the promise made by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Nigeria at the TICAD 7 Conference in Tokyo, last year.
According to a statement by his SA Media, Sufuyan Ojeifo, the minister described the signing of the grant agreement as “timely”, against the backdrop of the recent outbreak of “the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) that has become a global concern and every country is doing its best to protect its territory and citizenry.”
Agba said that the initiative would help complement the efforts and commitment of the Nigerian Government in the fight against infectious diseases.
He reassured the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Yutaka Kikuta, who signed on behalf of the Japanese Government, of Nigeria’s commitment to creating an enabling environment to sustain the relationship between Nigeria and Japan as well as the economic development of the Nigerian nation.
Mr Kikuta said that the grant Agreement was to support the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to strengthen its surveillance of infectious diseases and improve its capacity for early responses to public health concerns in Nigeria.
Kikuta disclosed that the funds would be expended on such projects as the construction of a Central Public Health Laboratory in Lagos as well as the procurement of equipment to 8 laboratories in different locations.
The locations, according to him, were the Central Public Health Laboratory in Lagos; LUTH Virology Laboratory; National Hospital, Abuja; University College Hospital, Ibadan; University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu; Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo State; UBTH, Benin; and University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital.
He commended the NCDC for playing a pivotal role in the management of the Coronavirus index and suspected case in Nigeria, adding that the Government of Japan remained committed to her pledges and would continue to support Nigeria’s effort at strengthening its health system.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mrs Olusola Idowu, expressed the Ministry’s commitment to sustain the relationship with the Japanese Government and to further explore avenues for future collaboration.