Coronavirus – Nigeria: Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora inaugurates National Health Research Committee

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The Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora has remarked that despite the development of the National Health Research Policy and Priorities in 2014, health research in the country has largely been uncoordinated with lack of synergy between the various research institutions, the academia and policy makers.   He went further to say that 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. These are some of the reasons adduced by the the Honourable Minister of State for putting a health research committee in place to fill the yearning gap.

The Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora therefore inaugurated the National Health Research Committee (NHRC) Friday, 8th May, 2020 comprising of erudite researchers who had made their marks in the field and could only bring their experience and expertise to bear for the benefit of the nation at this time of COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Mamora announced Dr. Babatunde Salako, the Director General (DG) Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) and a renowned Nephrologist to chair the National Committee with the Director of Health Services in Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Mrs. Adebimpe Adebiyi, mni as the Secretary to the Research Team.

Apart from the Chairman and the Secretary to the Committee, members 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 include 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.

The Honourable Minister of State lamented that the “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.”

Dr. Mamora therefore charged the NHRC members to see their appointment to this Committee as a challenge for them to ensure that the research findings are collated and made ready to solve the nation’s health challenges.  The Honourable Minister of State 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 charged.

The Honourable Minister of State further charged 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.”  He added that “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.

Dr, Mamora 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.  “Nigeria shouldn’t be an exception.”

The Minister urged 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.

Dr. Mamora further charged the Committee 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.

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

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