State’s 3rd BSL lab in Tuensang

State’s 3rd BSL lab in Tuensang
S. Pangnyu Phom with his colleagues and others after inaugurating the BSL-2 lab in Tuensang, Friday. (Twitter)
Correspondent KOHIMA, AUG 28 (NPN) | Publish Date: 8/28/2020 11:56:16 AM IST

Nagaland got its third Bio Safety Laboratory (BSL)-- integrated molecular diagnostic and research laboratory (BSL-2 Lab) at Tuensang, which was inaugurated by Health & Family Welfare (H&FW) minister S Pangnyu Phom on Friday. 

Speaking on the occasion, Pangnyu expressed happiness at the successful setting up of the laboratory after the BSL-3 laboratory at Kohima and BSL-2 laboratory at Dimapur. 

Urging people to own responsibility of public property, he remarked that it was now up to the citizens how they make best use of the facility. Congratulating the people of Tuensang and all those involved on successful completion of the setting up of Nagaland’s second BSL-2 laboratory, Phom said in spite of all the hurdles like the lockdown and remoteness of the area, construction of the laboratory could finally be completed. 

He acknowledged the Health department, citizens of Tuensang, chief medical officer (CMO) Dr I Moatemjen and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc and its executive Hiranya Thakuria, for having successfully put up a state-of-the-art facility in a remote comer of Nagaland. 

He also appreciated the State government, High Powered Committee headed by chief minister Neiphiu Rio for their unceasing support during the process of setting up the laboratory. 

According to him, the BSL-2 laboratory at Tuensang will not only cater to the entire district, but also other neighbouring districts like Longleng, Mon, Kiphire and Noklak, even as he expressed confidence that the people of Tuensang along with the district hospital authorities and CMO would do justice to the project. 

Describing the State’s ongoing battle against COVID-I9, the minister said it has so far been a learning experience as new things about the virus are being learnt each new day. He elaborated on how the State government has developed standard operating procedure (SOP) to contain spread of the virus. 

Mentioning that one of the strategies to combat the virus was increasing the testing capacity, he said the BSL-2 laboratory was meant not only for testing samples for COVID-19 but could also be used to diagnose other diseases like TB, HIV and Hepatitis B & C, all of which have a very high prevalence in the region. 

He admitted that rapid spread of COVID-19 has put normal life out of gear, but clarified that its mortality rate was low as compared to other diseases. He also claimed that compared with rest of India, Nagaland was doing relatively better in containing the virus. 

With the facilities now in place, Phom hoped that viral load of various diseases could be studied within the State, instead of sending samples outside for the purpose. He also lauded the frontline workers for putting up a good fight to ensure that the citizens are safe. 

He recalled the difficulties faced in setting up BSL-2 laboratory at Tuensang as this required comprehensive and detailed outline of the scientific framework with pre-requite manpower, space and funding, even as one of the important prerequisites was specifying the need for engineering control to accomplish the desired task within the timeframe. 

But despite all the hurdles, Phom expressed happiness that the laboratory could be finally installed at Tuensang, adding the State would now be in a better position to tackle diseases with such sophisticated equipment. He called for utilising its capacity to the maximum.

Advisers-- H. Haiying and Toshi Wungtung also delivered brief speeches on the occasion, while MS Tuensang Dr Zathung delivered the keynote address and mission director of National Health Mission Dr Kevichusa Medikhru shared details about the BSL-2 laboratory. The programme was chaired by the CMO. District administration, police and civil society leaders also attended the inaugural programme.


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