The N350 million Lassa Fever Virology Diagnostic and Treatment Centre built by the Ebonyi State Government has been inaugurated by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole.
Adewole, who was in company with his Agriculture counterpart, Chief Audu Ogbeh and Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi, during the ceremony, said he was excited that a state government could embark on such a life-saving centre without any prompting by the Federal Government.
He said the Federal Government would run the facility in partnership with the state to ensure its success, adding that the centre would be converted to South- East Diagnostic and Treatment centre.
He said, “I am actually short of words; I am yet to recover from shock over this giant stride. This actually surpasses my expectations and I must say clearly that we should see this as a partnership.
“Let me say clearly, Your Excellency that we will make this hospital functional. We stated in January that we want to build six virology centres in the country and the budget processes were made and was signed by Mr. President in May.
“This will be the centre for the South-East. We need to partner with the CMD of the FETHA and your state Ministry of Health. We should use the N350m you asked us to refund for the procurement of more equipment for the centre.”
The minister hailed Governor Umahi’s commitment to the health sector, saying he is a star model in the country.
“This centre will actually turn things around. Your Excellency, you have shown great interest in health and we are proud of you. In terms of commitment to health, you are one of our star examples in the country. We will continue to partner with you,” he said.
Earlier, Umahi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary,Emma Anya, said he was moved to build the centre when he started seeing people die of lassa fever virus.
He said, “The health of our people is very paramount to our administration. We watched helplessly our people dying of this deadly disease and so the CMD told us that for over 10 years, they have been begging that this centre be built and we had to swing into action.
“What we request of you is to make this place the South-East Diagnosis and Treatment Centre. In doing that sir, you will make the hospital to run on its own.
“We spent about N350 million with all the equipment. With this N350m, we can treat other people from outside Ebonyi but if you don’t refund us the money, when people come we will charge them.”