Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Ilorin, has said that with the inauguration of the Molecular Diagnostic and Research Laboratory at Unilorin, real-time COVID-19 diagnosis would no longer be a mirage in Kwara and its environs.
Abdulkareem stated this on Monday to newsmen while reacting to the inauguration of the University of Ilorin Molecular Diagnostic and Research Laboratory.
The laboratory will soon begin testing for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
Abdulkareem appealed to the governor of Kwara and those of the neighbouring states to make use of the Molecular Laboratory and partner the university.
The Vice-Chancellor observed that the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed the inadequacies of medical resources in poor nations, such as Nigeria, in molecular diagnostic facilities and skills.
According to him, the inadequacy is the reason TETFund initiated the Molecular Laboratory project, which the University is grateful to be a beneficiary.
He explained that the Molecular Diagnostic and Research Laboratory was built with the supports from the Emergency Special Intervention Fund of TETFund and other supporting agencies.
“Molecular diagnosis is now the golden standard and modern approach for medical management of infectious diseases; it is equally a current versatile tool for research, particularly in medicine,” he said.
The Vice-Chancellor noted that establishing the Molecular Laboratory in the University of Ilorin would, therefore, be of immense benefits to medical practitioners and researchers who earnestly needed such a tool.
He expressed gladness that the facility was certified by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as a Public Health Laboratory.
He said that the Molecular Laboratory would be of immense benefit not only for COVID-19 diagnosis but also for the surveillance of diseases as poliomyelitis, Lassa fever and other viral haemorrhagic fevers.
He commended the gesture of TETFund for the N100 million grants that prompted the grand project which, he noted, would certainly benefit humanity.
“My appeal to TETFund, however, is that of the need for increased trust and support to the University of Ilorin,” the VC said.
In his remarks, Prof. Olanrewaju Adedoyin, the Provost of the College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, expressed gratitude to the University and TETFund for providing the edifice and the facilities.
“We must also count ourselves fortunate to be a beneficiary of the provision of Molecular laboratory facilities by TETFund under the leadership of Prof. Suleiman Bogoro.
“We urge TETFund to go a step further to include a comprehensive maintenance plan for these facilities,” he said.
Prof. Abayomi Fadeyi, the Director of the University’s Molecular Diagnostic and Research Laboratory, explained that the concept, was to provide funds for the purchase of equipment required for molecular diagnosis with COVID-19 in focus.
Fadeyi explained that the VC had provided the building that was housing the equipment, and other necessary things such as reagents and consumables.
He added that the VC constituted a broad-based Committee on Emergency Special Intervention for College of Health Sciences chaired by the Deputy VC, Research, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Mikhail Olayinka Buhari, to drive the project.
“The Committee also facilitated the training of some technical staff at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) in Lagos on COVID-19 diagnosis, prepared for, sought and obtained Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) certification of the Molecular Laboratory as a Public Health Laboratory for COVID-19 diagnosis,” he said.
Fadeyi disclosed that the University of Ilorin Molecular Diagnostic and Research Laboratory (MDRL) was now well-positioned to start operations and had started COVID-19 diagno