WRP-N supports Nigerian Ministry of Defence (NMOD) laboratories, offering services to NMOD facilities through improved diagnostics for HIV, opportunistic infections (OIs), malaria and tuberculosis. These labs and the established laboratory network also enhance care for existing HIV cases by monitoring patients’ response to drugs and performance of their vital body organs.

The WRP-N-supported laboratories take the lead in Nigeria by providing optimum training in malaria microscopy, not only to NMOD sites but cutting across Nigeria Health Organizations. The partnership collaborates with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), HIV/AIDS Division of Federal Ministry of Health, National Tuberculosis & Leprosy Control Program (NTBLCP), and National Malaria Elimination Program (NMEP) to effectively carry out health intervention activities. Through the collaboration, the program benefits from them in provision of anti-TB drugs, TB diagnostic reagents, support the NMEP in the provision of laboratory quality assurance on malaria microscopy.

Defence Reference Laboratory

The Defence Reference Laboratory is a state-of-the-art NMOD/USDOD laboratory. It is a multi-purpose laboratory for PEPFAR-supported research and diagnostics and serves also as a reference laboratory for USDOD/NMOD sites and Nigerian military hospital laboratories which send samples for HIV Viral Load, emerging infectious diseases, and other PEPFAR supported laboratory investigations. The laboratory consists of eight departments; molecular, safety, serology, sample processing, microbiology, malaria, and a repository that manages samples from all over the country and beyond. The facility coordinates and oversee the program’s Quality Assurance (QA) and Quality Control (QC) activities, specialized Laboratory Service provision, Training and Research; including HIV research modeled on the US Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) to develop a platform for HIV vaccine development. The DRL is staffed with Henry Jackson Foundation (HJF) and NMOD uniformed military and civilian personnel.

Current Laboratory Capacity at DRL

  • In 2013, a new sample-processing lab was commissioned, with capacity to generate viable PBMCs used in research and other blood components for long term Liquid Nitrogen storage in a newly established Bio-Repository.
  • Since 2013, brand new Cobas AmpliPrep/TaqMan, APTIMA and Panther platforms have been commissioned in the Molecular suite, expanding DRL’s capacity to perform HIV Viral Load, HIV Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) and molecular diagnosis of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). DRL is now testing more HIV Viral Load samples than any other PCR lab in Nigeria.
  • The Main Diagnostic Lab has platforms to generate CD4/CD3, General Chemistry and Hematology data. The newest addition is the FACSCanto II which has capacity to perform advanced Immunology work.
  • On 12th August 2014, the then Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, commissioned a single story building containing lab space, offices and a conference room. The new building has space for Microbiology, TB diagnostic testing, Malaria Training, and there are plans to accommodate other platforms for microbiology and malaria work as well.

It currently participates in international research and its laboratory capacity is estimated to cater for over fifty thousand samples a year. DRL is enrolled and has been performing well in the EQAS provided by CDC Atlanta; ZINQAPand CAP Proficiency Testing Programmes, with plans to apply for ISO 15189 international accreditation soon. The lab was recently enrolled in SLMTA Cohort through CDC and scored3 out of 5 stars in the baseline assessment conducted in May 2016. Specific time lines have been drawn for ISO 15189 accreditation, and DRL is well on its way to achieving this goal. GSK’s ChAd5 vaccine candidate is currently being supported by the DRL, as well as other research studies.

445 Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Hospital Laboratory

The African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) has recognized the laboratory at 445 Nigerian Air Force Hospital Laboratory (NAFH) Ikeja as the best laboratory in the country, with the country’s first 5-star rating. The World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO) developed and established a framework (SLIPTA) for improving the quality of medical laboratories in developing countries to achieve international accreditation. Two other laboratories, namely 44 NARH Kaduna and NNRH Ojo, will be assessed by ASLM while ten new laboratories in the partnership will be enrolled in an accreditation program. This is to ensure that all the laboratories have international recognition on the continent and provide quality results to support program activities and research.