Leaders in the health care sector have admitted that health researchers in the country are not performing up to expectations, resulting in many Nigerians becoming casualties rather than survivors of health challenges.
The experts, who blamed their failings on lack of necessary facilities and conducive working environment, said they were often incapacitated despite their willingness to provide quality care.
Speaking at the official commissioning of the Biomedical Training and Cancer Research Centre by the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) in conjunction with Sysmex Partec, the Pioneer Chairperson of National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA), Professor Ibironke Akinsete lamented how cancer care facilities continued to depreciate in the country, despite the fact that about 250,000 Nigerians are diagnosed with the disease every year.
Akinsete who was the chairperson of the occasion noted the current deplorable conditions of various clinical centres in the country, adding that such centres with limited infrastructure in terms of laboratories, bio-repositories and database, coupled with inadequate finance and personnel have hampered African and Nigerian scientists from conducting rigorous evidence-based research. She therefore urged all stakeholders in the sector to squarely tackle the besetting challenges.
“I sincerely think this is the time for us as players to do a holistic appraisal of ourselves in the health sector, find out what exactly has gone wrong with us, where we have really missed it and then honestly find lasting solutions to how we really should move the health sector from where we are comatose to where we truly should be”, she said.
Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Professor Innocent Ujah, also corroborated the view of Akinsete, noting that the bane of scientific research in the country was lack of professional tools.
“What I can say is that we are not doing enough. We are not doing enough not because we don’t have the knowledge, but because we don’t have the facilities, the tools are not there”, he stated.
He challenged stakeholders in the health sector, governments and private institutions to respond to the huge infrastructural needs in research institutions and invest in this segment of the sector.
The NIMR boss, who expressed his delight over the official launching of the new cancer researcher centre, said the inclusion of the centre to the existing ones would facilitate easy access to cancer care as the centre would focus more on cancer of the breast in women, and prostate cancer for men.
The professor, who called for the creation of more public-private partnership in the health sector, noted that there was still need for the establishment of study institutes for the examination of the liver, kidney, and other vital organs of the body.