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Visit of DASW to the Defense Reference Laboratory Abuja

The Defense Reference Laboratory (DRL) in proving its mettle has continued to attract very important personalities who have come to see firsthand, its reputable capabilities.

May 14, 2019 – The U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for West Africa and Security Affairs, Ms. Whitney Baird, and Mrs. Ola Mustapha, representing the Permanent Secretary for Defence, visited the Defense Reference Laboratory (DRL) in Mogadishu Cantonment to witness firsthand, the successful partnership between the Nigerian and U.S. militaries to strengthen public health.  DRL represents an excellent example of a military to military collaboration aimed at addressing deadly infectious diseases affecting Nigeria and the West African region. 

In 2004, the Nigerian Ministry of Defence (NMOD) and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR)/U.S. Army Medical Research Directorate-Africa/Nigeria (USAMRD-A/N) formed a partnership in response to the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in Nigeria. At initiation, the sole goal of this collaboration was to align their respective health missions to deliver HIV treatment, care and support within the military community. 

The partnership has since grown, expanding to 43 military medical facilities and maintaining approximately 31,000 clients   The DRL has received many accolades including the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) five-star award, and the Nigerian Association of Medical Laboratory award.  DRL is the only lab in West Africa accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). 

The DRL highlights the success of this mil-mil partnership and is jointly staffed by personnel from NMOD and USAMRD-A/N.  This state-of-the-art laboratory provides medical laboratory services to Nigerian service members, their families, and their communities, in Abuja and in the surrounding states.  It also supports research protocols implemented under the partnership, and at 8,000 tests per day, is one of the largest labs supporting the testing of HIV viral load samples – a routine test for HIV-positive patients – from medical facilities across the country. 

Ms. Baird in her remarks said, “I am very pleased to see such strength and zeal in this place which is a house of succor for the sick and vulnerable”.