Expert Tasks Nigeria on Health Research
We have a high disease burden and existing inefficiency in our systems: We do not deserve a life-expectancy of just over half a decade, when most people in the world have a life span exceeding
A global health and infectious disease expert, Prof Ibrahim Abubakar, has enjoined Nigeria to strengthen and invest more in health research.
He gave the advice during a workshop on health research organised by the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) in collaboration with Welcome Trust and University College London.
The stakeholders also launched the Nigerian Research Foundation, a public private Initiative for funding health research.
Abubakar, who is also the Director, Institute for Global Health, University College London, said that funding research is critical to national development and that it is important for the country to do so to tackle its high disease burden.
“We have a high disease burden and existing inefficiency in our systems: We do not deserve a life-expectancy of just over half a decade, when most people in the world have a life span exceeding 70 years. The country has nearly a quarter of the global burden of malaria – with more cases than any other nation. Nigeria also accounts for over 1 in 20 of the world’s tuberculosis patients and nearly 10% of HIV cases,” he said.
He said the country delivered high quality research before, and could do it again “such as discoveries made in Ibadan, Nsukka, Zaria and our other universities in the 60s and 70s and the high proportion of local research was published in world leading journals at the time.”
Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, represented by the Director Public Health Department of the ministry, said government established the NIMR and the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) as key research agencies to address the many needs of the health of Nigerians.
The Director General, National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) Babatunde Lawal Salako called for a national fund for medical research and increased budgetary allocation to the institute in the 2019 budget.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, who is also the newly appointed chairman of the NIMR Foundation, promised to provide all the needed support to enable it achieve its objectives.