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54gene Unveils World-class Scientific Research Laboratory in Lagos State, Nigeria

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54gene Unveils World class Scientific Research Laboratory in Lagos State Nigeria, SiliconNigeria

54gene has unveiled its new lab in Lagos State, Nigeria, capable of human whole genome sequencing and a variety of other scientific investigations. Hosting a suite of world-class molecular genomics capabilities, including the Illumina Novaseq 6000 and NextSeq 550Dx the lab is part of 54gene’s mission to enable Africans to conduct genomics research and will be fully operational from January 2021.

The new lab, recently inspected by the Commissioner of Health for Lagos State, Prof. Akin Abayomi, is geared to crucially expedite internal and external research projects designed to facilitate precision medicine for Africans and the global population. 

54gene is currently conducting research to discover novel biological insights based on genetic modifiers, by deriving information from its unique and rich data set. This will allow the company’s researchers to determine the underlying drivers of infectious and noncommunicable diseases prevalent on the African continent as well as genetic variants unique to its population. The new lab strengthens 54gene’s capacity to enable more research that yields insights from the world’s most diverse populations to solve some of the biggest global healthcare challenges.

Commenting on the significance of 54gene’s advanced molecular capabilities, Founder & CEO, Dr Abasi Ene-Obong said: “Over the last two years, our growth has been underpinned by a supremely experienced world class team, and the collaboration of key stakeholders on the continent. I am proud of the impact our work is making scientifically and economically on the African continent and globally; and the many scientists around the world, who collaborate with 54gene. 

“Our vision is not just to address the health disparities in Africa but to distinctly advance research in some of the most common and rare diseases that affect the global population. To do this we need to scale our operations and continue to collaborate on cutting edge research. The possibilities are immense and we look forward to expanding this impact even more.”

Visiting the Molecular Genetics Operations labs and the Biobank, the Honourable Commissioner of Health for Lagos State, Prof. Emmanuel Akinola Abayomi, said, “This is quite an impressive setup,

and I am happy that 54gene has chosen Lagos as its base. I believe this is going to be a mutually

beneficial arrangement as Lagos is keen to promote a medical innovation hub in the State. We will continue to create an enabling environment for the private sector, like 54gene, to flourish, while ensuring that the public’s interests are adequately protected. We look forward to partnering with 54gene and other stakeholders alike to power innovation and a sustainable bio economy.”

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COVID-19: 9mobile Pledges Support for Health Workers

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COVID-19: 9mobile Pledges Support for Health Workers, SiliconNigeria

Nigeria’s caring telecommunications company, 9mobile, has paid glowing tribute to Dr. Ayodeji Falana and other health workers who have been outstanding in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the last one year. Dr. Falana was adjudged most outstanding health worker for his leadership and dedicated service.

The commendation came as 9mobile visited health workers on Saturday February 27 at the Lagos State Government isolation centre of Mainland Hospital, Yaba otherwise known as Infectious Disease Hospital.

The 9mobile initiative is designed to appreciate the efforts of health workers who have been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 across the country. A minute silence was observed in honor of health workers and Nigerians who lost their lives to Covid-19.

Commending health workers nationwide, 9mobile’s Public Relations Lead, Chineze Amanfo, who represented the Executive Director, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Abdulrahman Ado, recalled that it was exactly one year that the index case was recorded in Nigeria. She stated that “we decided to visit the isolation centre in Yaba to appreciate the health workers who have been at the forefront in this fight against Covid-19. 9mobile appreciates your commitment and dedication because you are the real heroes in the fight against Coronavirus. 9mobile applauds your dedicated service and reiterates that we are solidly you.”

Amanfo, who presented a plaque of recognition to the recipient and other gift items to the health workers on behalf of 9mobile, also saluted the bravery of the health workers. She said that despite the disruption and loss caused by the coronavirus pandemic, health workers have continued to show exemplary commitment.

In his response, the Medical Director of Mainland Hospital, Yaba, Dr. Abimbola Bowale said that “I received the Covid-19 index patient on February 27, 2020, and it has been a very long journey since then. Unfortunately, we have reported some deaths and for the health workers, it has been very demanding for us. So, this is a very significant day. This facility is the largest facility where Covid-19 patients are treated. We are very proud of the enormous work and commitment of our staff in the fight against Covid-19. Our health workers have shown resilience. We appreciate 9mobile for their show of support. I am excited for what they have done today”.

The recipient of the award, Dr. Ayodeji Falana appreciated 9mobile for shinning its spotlight on the selfless sacrifices of health workers in Nigeria. He said that, “I have been involved in the fight against infectious diseases for a very long time. Hence, it feels good to be appreciated and it shows that when you work hard, you will eventually be recognized and appreciated. Covid-19 provided us with the opportunity to serve Nigeria with our capacities and capabilities. I heartily appreciate 9mobile for encouraging us to do more for the Nigerian healthcare system”.

According to his official citation, Dr.  Ayodeji Falana, an alumnus of Obafemi Awolowo University, has played a pivotal role in transforming the clinical landscape of the Mainland Hospital in the past one year with his contribution to the fight against Covid-19. As a clinician in the facility for over a decade, he was actively involved in the fight against Ebola in 2014, treating and managing infected patients.  This prepared him for the mantle of leadership in the fight against Covid-19 when he was posted by the Lagos State Covid-19 Case Management Pillar Lead to serve as the Medical Lead for Eti-Osa Isolation Centre in April 2020. He has shown commitment, drive, innovation, selflessness and has made enduring impact.

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Google.org’s New Tracking Tool Leverages Global Health Stats To Tackle COVID-19

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Google.org’s new tracking tool leverages global health stats to tackle COVID-19, SiliconNigeria

Google.org has joined hands with a consortium of COVID-19 researchers to announce the launch of Global.health, an open-access epidemiological data platform that enables experts to track disease spread in real-time and to forecast future outbreaks, so informing effective government and public response.

With the support of Google.org, researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, Northeastern University and Oxford University created Global.health with the express purpose of leveraging anonymised data from open-access authoritative public health sources to track disease progression. 

Data has always been a vital tool in understanding and fighting disease, says Kernie Obimakinde, Google.org Research Fellow, but upholding data privacy has also been a critical aspect in the design of Global.health.

“When an outbreak occurs, timely access to organised, trustworthy and anonymised data is critical as it can help public health leaders formulate early policy, medical interventions, and resource allocation — all of which can slow the spread of disease and save lives,” he explains.

The Global.health team are confident that the platform will become a key addition to the world’s early warning systems toolbox, helping identify and respond to future epidemics and pandemics that may occur globally, regionally and nationally.

Earlier research work by the consortium helped detect the initial COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, and alert the World Health Organisation (WHO). Yet, due to the rapid spread of the virus around the world and the overwhelming pressure it created on their systems, the researchers tag-teamed with Google.org to urgently build Global.health.

The grant is part of a broader Google.org $100-million commitment to COVID-19 relief that was announced alongside 30 other projects from organisations around the world using AI and data analytics to support pandemic relief efforts. 

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WCWDT 4: MTN Foundation Hands Over Medical Equipment To Primary Health Centres

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WCWDT 4: MTN Foundation hands over Medical equipment to Primary Health Centres, SiliconNigeria

MTN Foundation, the social investment vehicle of MTN Nigeria, has donated medical equipment to 12 primary health centres across Nigeria in the fourth phase of its What Can We Do Together (WCWDT) campaign. The initiative allows Nigerians to nominate selected projects they consider of utmost need to their communities. The nomination of primary health centres in the fourth phase is in collaboration with the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC).

Speaking on the donation, Nonny Ugboma, Executive Secretary MTN Foundation said, “What Can We Do Together is in line with our social investment mandates to ensure that Nigerians have better expectations of medical facilities that work. Since 2015, we have executed projects in partnership with nominated communities across Nigeria. We partner with the people to make their lives brighter.”

Items donated include delivery beds, adult weight and height scales, screens, foetal dopplers, baby weight scales, mattresses and pillows, manual succession machines, extractors, disinfectants, footwears, infrared thermometers, disposable gowns, aprons, gloves, hand sanitizers, megaphones, stretchers, eye charts, Samsung tabs, disposable nose masks, among others.

Recipients also expressed gratitude to MTN on behalf of their communities. Doctor-in-Charge, General Hospital, Apata, Oyo State, Dr. Tijani Adejare, said, “The medical equipment donated are of great quality. With this donation, we can save more lives and give better services to our patients. We are glad that MTN took interest in the welfare of the people and selected our health centre for this gesture.’’

In the same vein, the Officer-in-charge, Oko Erin Basic Health Centre, Ilorin, Kwara State, Mrs. Ahmed Sekinat Iyabo, said “Prior to MTN’s donation, we have never had a foetal doppler. The weight scale, foetal doppler, hand sanitizers, face masks, and other items will be useful to the clinic and to the community. We are very grateful. The equipment will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our work.”

The MTN Foundation has donated medical equipment to 132 Primary Health Centres across the country in previous phases of WCWDT.

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