•Fashola, Sanusi, Salako at the inauguration of the NIMR Foundation seek a deliberate effort to invest in research
• Urge the commercialization of local medicines, vaccines and technologies to solve health problems
Towards the promotion of medical research and development in alignment with national and state health priorities for the advancement of public health, the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Yaba, Lagos, inaugurated its Foundation on Tuesday.
Chairman, Incorporated Trustees for NIMR, and Minister of Works, Housing and Environment, Advocate Babatunde Fashola SAN, at a media conference in Lagos, said Nigeria was in a precarious state without deliberate effort to invest in research. According to him, “The country is meaningless without the NIMR and other research institutes. We plan to raise 10 billion naira to achieve the goals of the Institute.
Fashola, who is a former Governor of Lagos State, added, “The NIMR Foundation has a mandate to build and expand translational research capacity among early career researchers and to promote innovation, development and commercialization of local medicines, vaccines and technologies to address the health challenges of Nigeria in particular, and Africa in general.
“The Foundation will do all that the NIMR currently does and should do, given the broad mandate imposed by the law establishing the Institute in 1977 from a service perspective. The differentiating factor is that the Foundation will use resources mobilized primarily from the private sector rather than relying on government funding as NIMR does. Furthermore, the Foundation will not seek to own laboratory, research or training facilities, but will leverage the use of facilities at NIMR and other partner institutions.
He said that given the source of funding and the need to demonstrate value for money, the NIMR Foundation will prioritize the development and implementation of mechanisms to elevate research, innovation and development of health care products/services as a viable business, which can respond to human suffering in the form of diseases and other health problems and become an important source of revenue contributing to the economic productivity of our country .
Fashola urged the government to invest in research, especially in the medical sector, as all human activity depends on good health.
Also speaking at the event, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (Muhammadu Sanusi II) called for translating and implementing research into usable products in real time, stating: “Supporting local researchers is essential for more innovation and development. We call for proper management, administration and accountability of human and material resources and transparency. »
A Member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) – NIMR, Prof. Oni Idigbe, assured that the NIMR will focus on innovations and product development in partnership with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), higher institutions, institutes research and other renowned medical researchers. . “We will provide an enabling environment and incentives for health researchers,” he reiterated.
The Chief Executive Officer (DG)/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NIMR, Prof. Babatunde Saloko, said sustainable funding over the next decade as well as careful administration and management are imperative for NIMR to fulfill its mandate.
According to him, basic, applied and operational research must be advanced for the benefit of Nigerians. “Nigeria needs to do more in medical research. We will train young doctors, mentor, promote innovation, academic research and every Nigerian will benefit from the products of our work,” he assured.
Salako said the NIMR would work in synergy with the private sector to translate research evidence into tangible products, noting that it would sponsor staff and projects and award prizes nationwide, provided that these efforts promote the public health.
A professor of psychiatry at the University of Ibadan, Oye Gureje, who is also a member of the BoT, said that the NIMR is ready to meet the future challenges of the medical profession, as it gives top priority to capacity building. through learning, training and retraining.
He said: “We don’t want to be caught off guard in the future. So many countries prepared for expected and unexpected contingencies and contingencies like the global pandemic, but countries that did not prepare were caught off guard.
“We want to be proactive and wait for any eventuality, which is why we need to dig deeper into these diseases that are not yet known. Drug discoveries, road and water accident management, early diagnosis and detection, drug addiction control, building an accountable health system, global competitiveness and innovation, fair and just treatment for every Nigerian, development and nutritional food security, non-communicable disease management among others are priority areas for the NIMR,” he said.
Ms Moji Makanjuola, a veteran broadcaster and science and research advocate, who was also present at the event, said, “Research is very important in ensuring that we have a healthier ground on which Nigerians can access and demand health care.
“What is most important is that we have certain idiosyncrasies as black people that, until now, are not addressed by many Western medical interventions.
“We need to start doing that, using research as the main way forward.”