•Names Building After Late Health Commissioner, Wahab Adegbenro

Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, on Thursday in Akure, the state capital, commissioned a State-of-the-art molecular laboratory and Public Health Laboratory as part of his efforts to improve the testing capacity of the state on Covid-19.

The Governor also commissioned the Emergency Operation Center and named it after the late Commissioner for Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro.

He described the late health commissioner as a dogged fighter, stressing that naming the building after him will keep him in the good memory of the state for life.

Governor Akeredolu who identified low capacity of testing due to the unavailability of functional and accredited laboratories to run highly technical tests as one major challenge in the state and the country at large, described the newly commissioned buildings as a great asset to the state.

The Governor was joined by the Deputy Governor, Hon. Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa.

Arakunrin Akeredolu said the laboratory is expected to be fully functional within the next few weeks while assuring that the assets will greatly improve the state’s efficiency in testing for the Covid-19 virus and greatly reduce the turn-around time.

He said:”It is important to state that the equipment available in this laboratory will not be for only COVID-19, it can equally be used for several other viruses and diseases.

“This is a building where all stakeholders and technical officers who will coordinate the response to any public health emergency will meet. It will also house all necessary technical gadgets that will aid the effective coordination of the outbreak response.

“At the outset of the outbreak, COVID-19 samples in Ondo State were taken to Ede in Osun State with an attendant delay of several days. Later, the Federal Medical Centre, Owo was accredited which only slightly improved the system. Consequently, our administration resolved to address this situation head-on by establishing additional laboratory.“

The Governor reiterated that the COVID-19 pandemic remains an existential threat to all humanity, assuring that his administration will continue to advocate that members of the public exercise a high sense of responsibility by adhering strictly to all laid down protocols and guidelines.

He appreciated partners who had assisted the state in the fight against COVID-19 since its outbreak particularly; the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the Nigeria Cross and several other groups, corporate bodies and individuals.

The chairman of the state inter-ministerial committee on COVID-19, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi who commended the decision of the Governor to set up a Response Fund committee, said the Governor’s approach has helped the state in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Secretary of the state Covid-19 Response Fund Committee, Mr Babajide Akeredolu described the new facilities as a major turn-around for the state.

He commended the Agro-Traders Limited for their immense contributions towards the actualization of the projects.