Nagaland health minister S Pangnyu Phom during the inauguration ceremony of the laboratory in Tuensang on Friday Credit: EastMojo Image

Kohima: With the inauguration of the Integrated Molecular Diagnostic & Research Laboratory in Tuensang on Friday, Nagaland received its third virology laboratory. The bio-safety level (BSL)-2 laboratory in Tuensang was inaugurated by the minister of health and family welfare S Pangnyu Phom.

“In spite of all the difficulties, the lockdown and the remoteness of the locality, I am grateful for the completion of the BSL-2 lab here in Tuensang,” the minister said as he addressed the gathering.

With pride, the minister said that the Department of Health and Family Welfare along with the people of Tuensang, CMO Tuensang, district hospital and Thermo-fisher especially Hiranya Thakuria developed the state of art facility in the remotest corner of Nagaland.

Phom acknowledged the state government, the High Powered Committee headed by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio for the unceasing support during the process of development of the Lab. He said that the facility will not only cater to Tuensang but also to other neighbouring districts of Longleng, Kiphire, Noklak and Mon. The minister expressed confidence that the people of Tuensang along with the District Hospital and CMO staff will do justice in serving the people.

Nagaland health minister S Pangnyu Phom

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As the state continues to battle COVID-19, the health minister expressed contentment to have dedicated front line workers who have been putting up a good fight to ensure that all are safe. “The rapid spread of the COVID- 19 has put our life on halt, however, the mortality rate is low as compared to other diseases,” he said.

He goes on to say that one of the strategies to combat COVID-19 is by increasing the testing capacity and added that the BSL-2 lab is not meant only for the diagnosis of COVID-19 but can be used to diagnose other diseases such as TB, HIV and Hepatitis B & C, which has a very high incidence in this region.

Setting up the laboratory was not an easy task as it required a comprehensive and detailed outline of the scientific framework with pre-requites-manpower, space, and funding in place. One of the important prerequisites is also specifying the need for engineering control to accomplish the desired task within the time-frame, he said.

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He recounted how the transportation of materials during lockdown hampered in materializing the work plan as most of the types of equipment for construction for the labs are manufactured and transported from various cities in the country.

“Today, it is a happy moment for all of us because we have achieved what we needed the most,” he said. The minister also said that the possible services should be utilized to the maximum. “We have among the best manpower and international standard equipment and therefore, it is up to you to make the best use of the facility and one must own the responsibility of the property,” he added.

The minister concluded by saying “I am so proud to announce today that we could set up three BSL Labs in a short period of time”.Meanwhile taking to Twitter, the deputy commissioner of Tuensang tweeted: “A big day for people of #Tuensang District. Inauguration of Integrated Molecular Diagnostics & Research Laboratory. A big boost in fight against COVID-19. It will cater need for testing of several other diseases too. Thanks a ton”

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