SEROLOGY AND MOLECULAR DIAGNOSTIC LAB IN NJALA UNIVERSITY TRAINS TEKO LABORATORY TECHNICIANS... WRITTEN BY JONATHAN HINDOLO KURABU, D CATALYST
The Serology and Molecular diagnostic lab in Njala University in partnership with FAO with funding support from USAID under FAO's Global Health Security Agenda with specific mandate to deal with zoonotic diseases only ;has commenced a 35 day intensive lab and field work training for 5 (five) laboratory technicians from the TEKO Veterinary lab.
Giving an overview of the training workshop, the Head of Animal Science Department and Coordinator for Serology and Molecular diagnostic lab in Njala University, Ronald Soluku said the intensive training is geared towards building the capacity of the trainees in order for them to be trained in Eliza and molecular diagnostic techniques. He said prior to now, the country would rather prefer to send the trainees out of the country to be trained on the aforementioned areas listed; noting that the 2 (two) years hands on deck training acquired by their laboratory staff in Njala courtesy of the Noguchi Memorial Virology lab in Ghana, a level 4 lab in Ghana, his personnel are now adequately equipped to train other lab technicians across the country on bio-safety, quality laboratory management, preparation of SPOs, collection of samples, identification of the DNA of the disease, sample analysis among others. He however expressed dismay over the seeming neglect and abandonment of Institutions of learning by past governments in relation to involvement and participation of University staff especially in areas that fall within the scope of their expertise and hoped such trendily development would be discouraged under the New Direction era.
FAO's Sr. Laboratory Specialist, Tesfai Tseggai said over 70% of human diseases originate from animals noting that the importance of a veterinary education should not be underestimated. He furthered that over the past three years, they have been discussing the possibility of having a Para-veterinary college in Sierra Leone which accordingly would help in early detection and safeguards for imminent disease outbreaks.
He expressed delight over the performance of the Serology and Molecular diagnostic lab in Njala University stressing the inroads made by them since being established. He also commented on the recent outbreaks of PPR which he said Njala University together with Ministry of Agriculture and forestry, Ministry of Health, and FAO jointly ventured out into the field, collected and tested samples for onward analysis and confirmation. "if Njala University hadn't the requisite capacity to test the PPR samples collected, the Government would have found it a herculean task to send the samples out of the country for analysis and confirmation". He however craved the indulgence of Government for institutional support to learning institutions which he could be harnessed as a panacea in crisis situations and also notified all present about cases of rift valley fever in small ruminants describing it as worrisome.
West Africa. Established in 1949, it was completely vandalized during the civil war adding that with the FAO and USAID partnership, plans are underway to make it fully operational. He noted the glaring need for training of TEKO laboratory technicians in all lab related activities
and also expressed gratitude to FAO and USAID and the facilitators and promised on behalf of colleague beneficiaries to cascade knowledge gained.
Ahmed Ajiran Kamara from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Moyamba underscored the relevance of the training describing it as relevant and appropriate. He added that at the end of the training,, the TEKO Lab technicians will be vigilant in terms of disease surveillance and investigation especially those that affect both animal and crops. He on behalf of MAF lauded Njala University for improved capacity building of lab technicians and Para-veterinarians describing it as evidenced base for continuous collaboration.
Salient contributions in tandem with increased collaboration between Njala University and partners including Government were also made by the Dean, School of Agriculture, Dr. Abdulraman Sesay and Professor Bashiru Koroma.
Njala University's Serology and Molecular diagnostic lab aside its endowment with trained and qualified staff least of whom is a graduate with distinction from the Department of Animal Science, School of Agriculture, the lab also has in functional working order state of the Art equipment and machines to collect and analyze both animal and human samples. It is situate on Njala main campus.