Polio Laboratory in Nigeria Gets Solar System

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The World Health Organization (WHO) accredited National Polio Laboratory in northern Nigeria got solar panels that will provide an uninterrupted power supply for the facility. The WHO Country Representative, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo commissioned these solar panels in the laboratory which is located at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) in Borno State.

The installation of solar panels aims to support the State government in sustaining the intervention of essential health services in the WHO-accredited polio laboratory.  The facility was affected by a months-long power outage in January 2021 due to a terrorist attack on infrastructure in Borno. 

With 48 solar panels of 330 W each, 21 KVA inverters, and 24 tabular batteries, the project is intended to provide an uninterrupted power supply for the laboratory for quick testing of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) samples.

Dr. Mulombo praised the management of the UMTH for the dauntless support toward the polio activities in the region and mentioned that the solar panels set up is part of the best practices for improving the health services to avoid disruption to laboratory activities. 

“WHO will provide additional support to ensure the capacity of the polio laboratory in strengthening the fight against poliovirus in Nigeria. Also, WHO will continue to support the state technically and ensure essential health services are adequately provided,” he said.

According to Professor Ibrahim Kidda, HOD, Immunology Department, UMTH, the laboratory was in a predicament during the ten months of power outage which had a negative impact on effectively carrying out its mandate. The project is expected to play an enormous role in ensuring the continuity of the polio laboratory activities. 

Director of the polio laboratory, Professor Marycelin Baba also appreciated WHO for its continuous support for the laboratory to maintain the international standard and remain functional at the optimal level. 

The commissioning of these solar panels to power the laboratory is pursuant to the commitment made by Nigeria and 49 other countries to develop climate-resilient and low-carbon health systems at the COP26 in Glasgow, in response to growing evidence of climate change’s impact on human health.

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