Abuja inaugurates food screening laboratory

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The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has revved activities at its public health laboratory, dedicated to screening of food and food items in the capital city.

Inaugurating the facility on Wednesday, the Acting Secretary and Director, Administration and Finance Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS), Alhaji Musa Abdulraheem, said that the secretariat would work toward replicating such laboratory in the six area councils of the FCT.

Abdulraheem called on staff of the secretariat to continue to put in their best in the various departments, adding that it was hard work that earned the secretariat an award from the Joint Unions Action Committee (JUAC) FCTA/FCDA.

He pledged that the HHSS would continue to give its support to public health whenever the need arose.

“The award bestowed on the secretariat was due to hardwork; we shouldn’t stop in that direction,’’ he stressed

Speaking earlier, the Director Public Health, Dr. Okechukwu Josephine, said that the laboratory was aimed at preventing and controlling outbreak of food-borne diseases in the territory.

According to a statement issued by Samuel Musa of the Public Relations Unit of the HHSS, Dr. Okechukwu said that the laboratory would also ensure that food served to the public was prepared under hygienic environment, especially in the food service establishments.

She added that, “The inspection of food and food items in the FCT falls under the purview of the environmental and occupational health division of the Public Health Department.

“Between 2012 and 2016, screening of food establishments with the issue of medical certificates of fitness was being conducted by some private laboratories and some public laboratories under HHSS.

“The engagement of these laboratories to conduct tests on food handlers, experienced some challenges which generated serious concern to the public health department.”

She explained that the public health laboratory was established in 2017 and had since been a source of revenue generation for the HHSS.

According to her, N10,321,600 was generated by the laboratory in 2017, while in 2018, it collected N24,752,700 and received N17, 238,000 from January to September 2019.