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The US government handed over a state-of-the-art regional laboratory, believed to significantly improve the diagnosis and monitoring capacity
of the Oromiya Health Bureau (OHB) in a ceremony held on the premises of the Adama Hospital Health College last Thursday.
In addition to handing over the newly-built and fully-equipped one storey lab, which cost a reported USD 2.9 million, the US government also laid a cornerstone to build a new Out Patient Department (OPD) for the college at a cost of USD 4 million.
Referral laboratories like the one built in Adama is designed to perform integrated laboratory services like immune hematology, clinical chemistry, bacteriology, HIV, Malaria, TB culture, drug sensitivity testing and a number of improved diagnosis for a variety of diseases, according to Amha Kebede, Director General of the Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute (EHNRI).
The new laboratory is expected to serve more than six million people. The region currently has a one percent HIV/AIDS prevalence rate. Above all, it will improve the health services provided to close to 225 thousand people living with HIV/AIDS in the region.
“Laboratories play an essential role in the overall health system. The Adama regional laboratory is now an integral part of Ethiopia’s laboratory system. This laboratory will improve Oromiya’s diagnosis and monitoring [capacity] for HIV/AIDS, STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections), TB and other diseases like tropical diseases. Thus, it plays a part in the integration of Ethiopia’s public health emergency system,” said Donald E. Booth, US Ambassador to Ethiopia.
The OPD will be built in the compound of the Adama Hospital and will have an emergency unit with examination rooms, a pharmacy and laboratory. It will also accommodate a registration room, data room, ultrasound room, labor and delivery suite, maternity ward, ART (Anti Retroviral Treatment) Examination and Pediatric ART Rooms.
The construction of the laboratory is part of the US government’s overall assistance to Ethiopia in a bid to strengthen the integrated public health laboratory service across the country. The lab will provide easy access to affordable quality service in the area of prevention, care, and treatment of HIV/ AIDS apart from TB, Malaria and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
So far, the number of such laboratories handed over to regional health bureaus reached two, while eight more are in the pipeline. The first such facility was built and handed over to the Amhara Regional state health bureau a year ago, according to Amha.
The handing over ceremony was attended by Kebede Worku, State Minister of Health and Abdulaziz Mohammed, Vice President of the Oromiya Regional state.
The Adama Hospital Medical College, formerly called the Hailemariam Mamo Memorial Hospital, is one of the pioneer referral hospitals in the regional state. It was established 75 years ago in 1946. It was founded by missionaries who converted a cotton gin abandoned during the five-year Italian occupation of Ethiopia.