Salako Heads National Health Research Committee

National Health Research Committee

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Director General of Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Mr Babatunde Salako, has been appointed as Chairman of the National Health Research Committee inaugurated on Friday by Minister of State for Health, Mr Olorunnimbe Mamora.

The renowned Nephrologist is expected to bring his experience and other members on the panel to bear for the benefit of the nation at this time of COVID-19 pandemic.

At the induction, the Minister explained that the committee was constituted because of the lack of synergy among the various research institutions, the academia and policy makers despite the development of the National Health Research Policy and Priorities in 2014, rending health research almost useless in the country.

According to him, health research has often been dictated by the preferences of the researchers and institutions, without recourse to the priority health needs of the country as documented in the National Health Research Policy.

“Excellent research findings are probably gracing the shelves of libraries in the various institutions without having the desired impact on the health system due to this disconnect between the institutions and policy makers,” Mr Mamora lamented.

However, he expressed optimism that with Mr Salako and his team, things should start to get better, urging the committee to quickly develop a COVID-19 Research Agenda for the country, adapting the WHO Research Roadmap to our local situation and commence the aggregation of all COVID-19 researches in the country.

The Minister further charged the panel to swiftly identify and source for funds, within and outside the country to carry out relevant research, pledging that Federal Ministry of Health on its part will give all the necessary support.

He added that even when the expectation from this committee is great, given the calibre of professionals in it, he will be awaiting clear deliverables in the next couple of weeks.

He also charged the body to “collate the researches from the respective institutions and translate the same to policy for evidence-based health interventions.”

“We are counting on your wealth of experience evident in your individual accomplishments at your various research domains over the years,” he further charged.

Mr Mamora also asked the committee to note that, “The World Health Organisation (WHO) is currently supporting the Ministry to develop a National Research for Health Strategic Plan (NRHSP) which should form the basis for the implementation of prioritized research activities to strengthen leadership, coordination and funding for health research in the country.”

“A team comprising stakeholders in health research was constituted to work with WHO and the Ministry to develop the NRHSP and charged the newly inaugurated National Health Research Committee to collaborate with the team to actualise this strategic plan as well as the Operational Plan,” he added.

The Minister declared to the inaugurated committee members that their job is enormous “and this becomes more so now that we are faced with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He said that the global community is involved in research to find the most effective strategy to slow down and eventually halt the spread of the virus and stressed that, “Nigeria shouldn’t be an exception.”

Chairman of the inaugurated NHRC accepted on behalf of members to serve diligently, thanking the Minister for giving them the opportunity to do so.

Business Post reports that the Director of Health Services in Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs Adebimpe Adebiyi, was appointed as Secretary to the research team.

Members of the committee include Professor Abdulrazak Habib, Department of Medicine; Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH); an Infectious Diseases expert; Professor Lawal Bulbis, the Vice Chancellor, Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, a Biological Chemist; Professor Onwujekwe Obinna, Department of  Health Administration/Management & Pharmacology/Therapeutic; University of Nigeria, a renowned Health Economist; Dr Obi Adigwe, the Director-General National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), a Pharmacist; Associate Professor Peter Oladosu, NIPRD, also a Pharmacist; Professor AMS Oduola,  the Director, University of Ibadan’ Research Foundation, Ibadan, Nigeria, a Public Health practitioner; Dr Reuben A. Ocholi, the Chief Executive of the National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom, Plateau, and Veterinary Medicine expert.

Others are Dr Clement Maseko of the National Veterinary Research Institute, Vom, Plateau State, a Veterinary Medicine Practitioner; Professor Haruna Yusuph of the Department of  Medicine, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, a Clinical Immunology/Infectious Disease; Dr Musa Garba of the Department of Medicine, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, an expert on Infectious Disease; Professor Ogoina Dimie, the Chief Medical Director of the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital,  Okolobiri, Bayelsa, also an Infectious Disease expert; and Prof. Asogun Danny of the Department of Community Medicine, Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo, who is a Public Health expert.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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