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Monday, March 23, 2015

The newly constructed lab provides external quality assurance services for the entire region’s hospitals and health center laboratories 
SNNPR, Hawassa- March 19, 2015: The third state-of-the-art regional referral public health laboratory in Ethiopia, constructed by the U.S Government with technical assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), was formally inaugurated and handed over to the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Regional State. Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu, Minister for Health, Dr. Jeffery Hanson, Country Director, CDC Ethiopia, and Kifle Gebremariam, Vice President and Regional Health Bureau Head of the State of Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples, attended the inauguration ceremony.
The regional public health laboratory was constructed at a cost of USD $ 3.1 million (60 million Eth birr) and will serve a population of approximately 18 million in SNNP region. With an HIV prevalence of 0.8% and 110, 000 people living with HIV and AIDS, the new laboratory is expected to increase health services and improve the lives of those in the region.
During the ribbon cutting ceremony, CDC Country Director, Dr. Jeffery Hanson said, “The construction of this laboratory is part of the U.S. government’s overall assistance to help strengthen the integrated laboratory services across the Ethiopian public health laboratory network. This new laboratory will provide easy access to affordable quality laboratory services for the prevention, care and treatment of HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, and opportunistic and sexually transmitted infections.”
The new two-story building  constructed on a 2000 square meter space is equipped with modern lab facilities, standard laboratory benches, epoxy floors and wall structures for better infection control, aluminum windows and doors to provide cleaner surface and longer life. It has mechanical ventilation and backup generator for the entire facility and a walk-in freezer.  The regional public health lab will serve as a training site for laboratory professionals on the diagnosis of HIV, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, ART monitoring and quality management system.
As one of the largest recipients of PEPFAR resources, Ethiopia benefits from the multi-sector HIV programs administered by CDC, USAID,  Department of Defense, Peace Corps, and the State Department’s Population, Refugees, and Migration Bureau. Through PEPFAR, the U.S. Government enabled Ethiopia to decrease the number of new infections and AIDS-related deaths by at least 50 percent since 2005.