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Ex-minister calls for partnership to advance health research, innovations

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Cross section of participants at the 2022 Annual International Conference on Health Advances, Innovation and Research (ICHAIR), organised by the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR)

By Kemi Akintokun

A former Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has called for collaboration that will provide sustainable investment and resources to advance health research and innovations in Nigeria.

Adewole, who was the Chairman at the 2022 Annual International Conference on Health Advances, Innovation and Research (ICHAIR), organised by the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), made the call in Lagos on Tuesday.

He said: “One of my core messages today is the need to transcend, to adding value and high quality homegrown research innovation to address our national health needs.

“Nigerians and Africans are known for their resilient, creativity and determination to succeed when given an enabling environment to thrive.

“I’m optimistic that the government, private sector, research community and the health industry will provide sustainable resources to advanced health innovation in the country and Africa.

“This will also provide translational solutions for health and development. ”

He commended the NIMR for its immense contribution through various researches to proffer solutions to health issues peculiar to Nigeria and Africa at large.

Adewole, also a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, urged young participants at the conference to utilised knowledge acquired at the event to expand their scope in their various scientific field.

Also, Prof. Akin Abayomi, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, said government must enable NIMR to consentualise research ideas and translate them into innovations that would help advance health delivery.

Abayomi, a special guest at the conference, noted that NIMR was endowed with both physical and human resources needed to carryout it’s mandate as the quaternary research institute in the country.

“NIMR is the quaternary institute and this is equivalent to the National Institute of Health in the U.S and I hope the federal and state government will recognise NIMR for what it is.

“Government must do more to support NIMR in the areas of research that will proffer solutions to our health problem as a nation.

“Most of the grant attracted to the institute are foriegn grants and their are string attached to these grants but if they are internally generated, it will focus more on our problem,” he said.

Speaking earlier, the Director-General of NIMR, Prof. Babtunde Salako, said the conference which was initiated in 2011 and reposition in 2021 had become a meeting for bio-medical professionals and stakeholders within the country and beyond.

Salako said the institute had made good progress in developing diagnostic kits which include COVID-19 and rapid molecular test kits, yellow fever and monkeypox test kits among others.

“This year ICHAIR marks our expansion in reach and scope and content, despite the advances, innovations and public health outlook made in the containment of COVID-19 there have been other health concerns globally.

“One key expectations before the end of this conference is to identify pocket of excellence in the country and deliberate on how research innovations and output can enhance health .

“We hope the government will initiate policies that can catalyse the market uptake of homegrown innovations,” he said.

The D-G commended the Federal Government for improved funding to the Institute, while appealing to the government for more funding through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Prof. Alani Akanmu, Chairman, National Task Team on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), gave a keynote speech on the topic ”The Future of HIV”.

He said that the ray of hope for HIV cure was possible with ARV.

Akanmu also said that advances were made through research to reduce the viral load of HIV over the years globally.

NAN reports that a newly built Bio-Bank facility was also inaugurated in the institute. (NAN)

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