NCDC Weekly Epidemiological Report: Issue: Volume 12 No. 2: 11th – 17th January 2021

Situation Report
Originally published
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Building In-country Capacity for Molecular Diagnostic Testing in Nigeria

Since 2014, Nigeria has continued to experience major outbreaks of epidemic-prone diseases (EPDs) including Ebola virus disease (2014), polio re-emergence (2016), cerebrospinal meningitis of new serotype C (2017), monkeypox (2017), Lassa fever (2018 & 2019) and the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (since 2020 till date). With this increasing risk, the capacity and capability to promptly detect and characterise the causative agents of epidemic prone diseases using molecular diagnostic platforms is a major priority for Nigeria.

In recognition of this, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has continued to build the capacity of the critical mass of the national and subnational workforce in the area molecular diagnostic techniques. The NCDC National Reference Laboratory organised a five-day training (from February 1-5, 2021) on molecular diagnostics and pathogen determination for the NCDC Public Health Laboratory network. The participants included scientists from NCDC’s National Reference Laboratory (NRL) and 15 states across Nigeria.

The goal of the training is to strengthen the molecular diagnostic capacity of the public health laboratory workforce in Nigeria. This will enhance the ability to produce accurate and reliable results to define public health intervention and control measures. The specific objectives were to:

  1. Provide participants with sound knowledge on a variety of nucleic acid-based procedures for molecular diagnostics.

  2. Provide hands-on training on selected nucleic acid-based procedures so as to increase the participants’ skills and confidence in performing the procedures.

  3. Teach laboratory internal quality control and containment procedures for PCR.

  4. Provide guidance in compliance with applicable regulations.

  5. Enhance participants’ PCR troubleshooting skills.

A total of 30 participants were trained with focus on the theory and application of selected molecular diagnostics-based procedures. Other areas of the training included laboratory inventory management systems, biosafety/biosecurity measures, infection prevention and control mechanisms and laboratory waste management. A major outcome of this training is an additional pool of laboratory personnel with sound knowledge of the above especially in the context of highly infectious pathogens. We intend to train laboratory workforce in public health settings across all 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory.

We are grateful to our partners: World Bank, World Health Organization, US Centers for Disease Control, Public Health England, Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria, APIN Public Health Initiatives, Georgetown University, FIND and Medical and Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria for their support during the training.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control will continue to put measures in place to ensure the prevention, preparedness for, rapid detection and control of infectious disease outbreaks.

Summary of Incidents

  1. Information for this disease was retrieved from the Technical Working Group and Situation Reports.

  2. Case Fatality Rate (CFR) for this disease is reported for confirmed cases only.

  3. Information for this disease was retrieved from IDSR 002 data.

  4. CFR for this disease is reported for total cases i.e., suspected + confirmed.

  5. Information for sentinel influenza was retrieved from the laboratory.