As part of capacity building initiatives to help curb the spread of COVID-19 by improving early detection through the scaling up of testing, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Medical Services (MS) Branch has conducted a One-day COVID-19 Sample Collection Training for its Medical Laboratory Scientists and Technicians. The training, which was done in collaboration with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO) Nigeria, was held today, 20 August 2020, at the 063 NAF Hospital (063 NAFH) Abuja with 34 medical laboratory personnel, comprising 16 scientists and 18 technicians, in attendance.

In his opening remarks at the training workshop, the Chief of Medical Services (CMS), Air Commodore Gideon Bako, who was represented by the Director, Professions Allied to Medicine (DPAM), Headquarters NAF, Group Captain David Babalola, recalled that the NAF, with support from the NCDC and WHO, had earlier trained a significant number of NAF personnel on patient movement as well as infection prevention and control, which was also geared towards limiting the spread of COVID-19 in the NAF. He disclosed that those earlier trained had subsequently organized step-down trainings for other laboratory staff. “I am happy to note that the benefit of the training is already being reaped as all COVID-19 samples of NAF personnel as well as some sister Services are being collected by our trained medical laboratory personnel”, he added.

While appreciating the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for approving the conduct of the training, the CMS stated that the participants would also conduct step-down training for other laboratory staff in their various units after successful completion of the sample collection training. According to him, the development of professional capacity of NAF medical personnel has continued to receive particular attention from the CAS. He also expressed gratitude to the NCDC and WHO for always partnering with the Service in its quest to ensure qualitative medical service delivery in the NAF. He urged the participants to take maximum advantage of the training as the knowledge gained would help to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Commander 063 NAFH, Group Captain Muzamil Muhammed, stated that the current NAF leadership has been in the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 through various support services to national health authorities and provision of its medical facilities for use as COVID-19 Isolation and Treatment Centres. He noted, for instance, that 063 NAFH Abuja, which serves as one of the Armed Forces of Nigeria’s Isolation/Treatment and Sample Collection Centres, has processed over 250 COVID-19 samples in the past 4 months. He added that the current training was organized because of the need to expand the sample collection capability to many other laboratory personnel, especially those serving in NAF units outside Abuja.

Some of the areas covered during the training were Laboratory Bio-safety; Principles of PPE: Donning and Doffing as well as COVID-19 Sample Collection, Packaging and Transportation. The One-day training, which also featured elaborate practical demonstrations, was facilitated by Mrs Ekanem Blessing Udoh and Ms Ngozi Pamella from the WHO.


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