Laboratory diagnosis is an essential element of communicable disease surveillance, both for routine confirmation of infections and for the rapid identification of the cause of outbreaks and epidemics.
International Health Regulations IHR (2005) states that countries should have the capacity to provide support to the response to a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) through specialized staff, laboratory analysis of samples (domestically or through collaborating centers) and logical assistance (e.g. equipment, supplies and transport).
The NHLQATC play the role of the National public health laboratory and is mainly reactive, rather than proactive. It is involved in ongoing surveillance Laboratory Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) of infectious agent in the population and able to ‘flag up’ an increase in the number of particular agents and thus trigger investigations.
NHLQATC has a number of qualified staff and competent staff, automated equipment with a high working capacity, it has enough storage capacity which temperature are constantly monitored to maintain cold chain and prevent sample degradation and more over the laboratory is accredited with ISO 15189 operating under the quality management system.
The National Health Laboratory Quality Assurance and Training Centre (NHLQATC) have a capacity to test and confirm diseases outbreak of public health concern. The testing is taken care under the Microbiology section, Serology section and emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. This sections deals with detection of infectious diseases for routine surveillance and outbreak confirmation. It has a biosafety cabinet level two (BSL 2), trained staff and required consumables and therefore has been involved and has capacity in detection of various disease outbreaks including Cholera, Middle East corona viruses, Yellow fever, RVF, Dengue Fever, Chikungunya, HBV, HCV, HEV, Zika, West Nile Fever, Crimean Congo, Measles and Rubella. Tests performed include RDT, EIA, NAT, Real-Time PCR for specific viruses, Bacteria culture, cell culture and viral isolation for Influenza virus, Genotyping and Sequencing and ELISA. However, for highly infectious diseases like Ebola virus diseases and Marburg it served for preliminary screening and specimen packaging for shipment to laboratories of nearby countries by abiding to IATA regulations
We have a government courier system (EMS) which we normally use for routine, surveillance and referral specimen transport system which is well distributed countrywide to up-country.