The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) says it has continued to actively strengthen Nigeria’s laboratory capacity to mitigate HIV, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases in the country.
Its Chief Executive Officer, Dr Patrick Dakum, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja that “the institute is providing support to over 110 health facilities in the country to offer HIV/Tuberculosis laboratory diagnostic services and for drug-resistant tuberculosis.
“As a local organisation and one of Nigeria’s largest Implementing Partners of the American President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; we have been able to provide such support”
He said that the support was in the provision of equipment and infrastructure to carry out high throughput blood screening tests.
He said that such tests include; HIV rapid tests, CD4 monitoring, HIV-1 RNA (viral load) testing for adults and children, early infant diagnosis (EID), tuberculosis (TB) culture as well as first and second line drug susceptibility testing for TB.
He added that “IHVN also supports the provision of TB smear microscopy with fluorescent microscopes, reagent supplies and technical supervision.”
Dakum noted that IHVN provides technical assistance to the Federal Government in developing policy documents for laboratories at the national level.
The CEO said that with its laboratory and clinical expertise, IHVN built upon an ongoing collaboration with the National TB and Leprosy Training Centre (NTBLTC) in Zaria.
“This collaboration focuses on strengthening the integration of high quality TB and HIV care delivery in support of the National TB Control Strategy.
“At all points of service directly supported by IHVN, all newly detected HIV positive patients or existing patients are screened for TB and linked to on-site TB services, diagnosis and treatment,” he explained.”
Dakum explained that IHVN, through the Global Fund, supported the National TB programme in installing a containerised Bio-Safety Level 3 laboratory with its own mechanical room.
“This is the main facility for supporting surveillance of drug resistant TB in Nigeria”, he said. (NAN)