The Director General, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Professor Babatunde Salako, has called on the Federal Government to establish a Medical Research Council in the Country.
According to him, Nigeria would have solved its health challenges locally if such a council is established.
Prof. Salako made the call at a stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja, noting that the council would also address the fundamental obstacles of funding research activities in the health sector.
“The advantage is that countries with Medical Councils can focus on the variance of health challenges and provide solutions,” he added.
The NIMR DG, noted that health research contributes higher than any sector of human development worldwide.
“If you take care of health, you have probably taken care of all Social development Goals indices because health is central. A nation with good health and high life expectancy is likely to have a good healthy workforce that will improve the economy in all ramifications,” he said.
Prof. Salako said that 70 per cent of medical research in Nigeria was funded by donor agencies, while only 30 per cent came from local stakeholders.
“Inadequate funding is responsible for our poor indices in maternal mortality, and under-five mortality rate,” he added.
He said that unless the council is established and well-funded, the country would not have direct focus on health challenges.
Speaking in the same vein, the Chairman, House Committee on Health, Dr. Tanko Sununu, said medical research was a multi-billion investment globally, adding that Nigeria would benefit more if government invests in the sector.
Similarly, WHO representative, Dr Nkiru Ukor, said the call to establish the council was in line with WHO’s mandate to encourage research in the health sector.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the objective of the meeting was to provide an input on the proposed council and present a five-year strategic plan to guide the activities needed to achieve the goal of the MRC.