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By Nakawunde Kautharah

The U.S. Government, through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), transferred the recently completed National Health Laboratory in Kampala to the Ministry of Health on Friday, January 15. The event was presided over by the U.S. Mission Uganda’s Chargé d’Affaires Trish Mahoney and Minister of State Chris Baryomunsi.

The National Health Laboratory project was launched in 2012 when the Ministry of Health requested the assistance of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support the construction of a laboratory to address critical gaps in Uganda’s health service delivery system.

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Construction for the $8 million facility Laboratory was largely financed by CDC and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

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The Laboratory is expected to strengthen Uganda’s health systems by providing a valuable resource for the detection, control and ongoing surveillance of the diseases which impact the health and productivity of Ugandans.

The priority of the facility will be HIV diagnosis, prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV and viral load monitoring capacity. The sickle cell and Hepatitis B virus screening and the WHO-supported meningitis, cholera and typhoid screening program will also make use of the facility. The facility could also be used for confirmation of bacterial disease outbreaks and for malaria diagnostics.

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At the handover ceremony, Trish Mahoney noted, “This building represents our partnership with the people of Uganda and our commitment to helping Uganda build its future. We will continue to work with the Government of Uganda and the Ministry of Health in the coming years to strengthen Uganda’s health infrastructure and ensure it becomes strong, efficient and self-sustaining.”

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