Muscat: The Ministry of Health (MoH) laid the foundation stone of a world-class Central Public Health Laboratory compound at a cost of OMR18.2 million on Tuesday.
Spread over an area of 18,155 sqm, the laboratory will be located in the Wilayat of Seeb, Governorate of Muscat.
Dr. Hilal Ali Al Sabti, Minister of Health, the chief guest affirmed that the Central Public Health Laboratory is one of the vital national security pillars, accorded attention by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik.
He said that the lab aims to develop and promote the health sector in line with the requirements of the times and to foster local sufficiency of lab tests.
The minister added that the world-class central public health laboratory would be a reference and diagnostic laboratory for conducting necessary investigations to support the surveillance and epidemiological investigation programmes locally and regionally.
Further, the Minister of Health pointed out that the new lab will perform diagnosis and investigation works using the latest technologies and strictly comply with the quality and biosafety standards.
The lab, he added, will provide training and continuous education for the technicians at the national and regional levels.
The Minister of Health, elaborated the project aims to promote the capacity of the current public health laboratories by establishing a new and modern facility to increase the Lab’s capabilities to collect, register, store, and process samples according to the latest standard of international practices.
He said that the Lab will also support the increasing demand by public health and academic requirements to strengthen interaction with other scientists, clients, lab students, and administrators worldwide.
In addition, the minister added that the Lab seeks to improve efficiency; time spent and facilitates practical receiving by the proper biosafety standards.
He affirmed that the Central Public Health Laboratory will perform epidemiological surveillance for any health developments and conduct surveys in coordination with the authorities concerned. It will carry out necessary awareness for the local society and expatriates in cooperation with the other relevant authorities in the Sultanate of Oman in areas of public health.
The lab will coordinate with educational institutions in the Sultanate and/or abroad in specialized research works to promote health and disease prevention. It will also be prepared to respond quickly to the public health emergency, the Minister of Health concluded.
Dr. Hanan Salim Al Kindi, Director of the Public Health Labs Department in the Ministry of Health told Oman News Agency (ONA) that the implementation of the project will take nearly 25 months.
She added that it is expected the Central Public Health Laboratory will be completed in the first half of 2025.
Dr. Ali Abdulhussein Al Lawati, Advisor to the Minister of Health for Engineering Affairs said that the main building of the project consists of three floors including the following sections: biochemistry and toxicology, foodborne disease outbreaks investigation, Bacteriological Laboratory (Antimicrobial resistance reference lab, molecular bacteriology reference lab), quality and risk management (regional external quality assurance scheme provider), public health laboratory affairs, Virological Laboratory (regional polio laboratory, regional measles and rubella laboratory, national influenza center, regional SARS-CoV-2 laboratory), national TB laboratory and others.
He added that the main building will also include halls and laboratory for training purposes, main auditorium, bio medical workshop, and offices for doctors, scientists, and technicians.
He elaborated that the landside buildings will include entomology and insectary laboratories, in addition to a building for workshops for engineering and technical staff.