Nigeria’s Polio Laboratory Passes WHO Accreditation

Ibadan, 31 July 2017-The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa (AFRO) has declared the Ibadan Polio Laboratory fully accredited to continue performing its duties as a National Polio Laboratory for Nigeria.

Accreditation of polio laboratories is conducted annually by WHO to review performance during preceding 12 months with complete data, usually from 13 to one month prior to evaluation. Dr Gumede-Moeletsi, the Coordinator of Polio Laboratories at AFRO, led the 2017 review process. Representatives of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and WHO Nigeria, country office, supported Dr Gumede-Moeletsi to conduct the accreditation exercise.

“The laboratory has tested more than 22,000 samples in the recent 12 months’ period with over 99.9% of accurate identification of poliovirus. More than 98% of the results were reported into the programme within the expected turnaround time”, says Dr Gumede-Moeletsi.

She added that after the recent proficiency testing, which determines if a laboratory is still performing its duties in accordance with WHO recommended standard, Ibadan passed proficiency test by 100%.

Based on the findings, the National Polio Laboratory located at the University College Hospital Ibadan, one of two such laboratories (the other being the University of Maiduguri) in Nigeria, got full accreditation, valid for 12 months.

The Ibadan polio laboratory provides timely and accurate information on the poliovirus that can be used to guide and focus immunization activities, in Nigeria, the only polio endemic country in the African region. The laboratory has consistently passed the accreditation processes by WHO.

The Director of the laboratory Dr Adeniji Adekunle and his team expressed appreciation to WHO for providing timely technical and financial support to the laboratory which enabled them to maintain global best practices. He also assured the review team not to relent in that regard.

Meanwhile, the Maiduguri national polio laboratory which recently moved into its new building after extensive rehabilitation by WHO, is expected to undergo similar accreditation exercise later in the year when fully functional.

Nigeria has not recorded any new cases of the wild poliovirus (WPV) for about 11 months now since the 21 of August 2016, date of onset of paralysis of the last WPV case. In 2016, 4 WPVs were confirmed in the security compromised Northeastern State of Borno after almost 2 years without recording any cases.

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