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Stakeholders seek medical research council establishment

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Stakeholders in the health sector have called for the establishment of medical research council to fund research works peculiar to the country.

The stakeholders made the call on Wednesday at a meeting held in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

According to them, the council, if established, will fund health research for all health researchers in the country.

Speaking, the Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Prof Babatunde Salako, said most modern successful countries are functional through research and development which is anchored by a health research funding agency.

“In most African countries, only a few do have this kind of body providing specific funding for health research. For us in Nigeria, research has not been adequately funded, even though the government is funding research through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund.

“TEDFUND is restricted to the universities and it covers all forms of research works.”

“Health research has been shown to contribute to human development in ensuring higher life expectancy and good health indices. The health indices are poor in Nigeria and the main reason is inadequate funding for health research for the health system.

“The best thing that can happen to Nigeria is for Nigeria to create its medical research council to fund health research for all health researchers in the country.”

Salako said the establishment of the council would aid the provision of local solutions through funding of peculiar health challenges in Nigeria.

“We might also be able to develop our drugs. Research can provide new knowledge and new evidence, and more importantly, for decision-makers, research can provide evidence for a policy that will have a significant positive impact,” he said.

Also, the Chairman of the House Committee on Healthcare Services, Yusuf Sununu said it is high time research works took the front burner in the country.

“One of the essences of this meeting is how to improve our research conduct and documentation and how to get the acceptability of the international community to have a body that can stand for the country and attract resources.

“We have to look into transforming NIMR into a medical research council that can be more effective and can coordinate research funding. With this research council, there are many modalities of funding that will be put into the council which can be shared with other organisations,” Sununu said.

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