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NCTC: the national collection supporting global health

 Image courtesy of Marie Chattaway, PHE 

NCTC are proud to support the partnership between the PHE International Health Regulation (IHR) Strengthening project and Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control (NCDC​). The programme in Nigeria is part of the PHE IHR Strengthening project to support national public health institutes in five countries. PHE and NCDC signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to strengthen Nigeria’s health security by enhancing and supporting:

  • emergency preparedness, resilience and response

  • surveillance systems and public health laboratory networks

  • the development of NCDC as the National Public Health Institute and as a regional lead public health institution in Africa

PHE staff delivered intensive training workshops to meet NCDC’s identified needs and took 14 key NCDC employees through extensive training on best practice microbiology laboratory methods so NCDC laboratories can establish similar systems and achieve international accreditation.

Hands-on experience is crucial to the success of the workshops which encompassed health and safety considerations, working with biosafety cabinets, antimicrobial susceptibility testing and practical training in detecting and identifying gastrointestinal pathogens such as Shigella, Salmonella and Vibrio cholera.

The NCTC team donated 13 reference strains for use in the workshop and beyond. Successful delivery of the strains to the laboratory in Nigeria was dependant on a carefully co-ordinated team effort by PHE and NCDC microbiologists, the NCTC logistics and biosecurity team and an international courier capable of shipping dangerous goods. A second shipment of different NCTC strains was sent to help the teams introduce the concept of external quality assessment testing to measure the effectiveness of the workshop training and to help to demonstrate competence throughout the Nigerian public health laboratory network. 

January 2020