By Kemi Akintokun
The Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Prof. Babatunde Salako, has said that the COVID-19 pandemic challenged and improved research capacity in Nigeria and Africa.
Salako stated this on Tuesday at the institute’s 2021 annual retreat in Lagos.
He said: “I indeed believe that COVID-19 has challenged the whole world and reawakened a lot of things in countries, especially Africa.
“For African scientists generally, quite a number of things we wouldn’t have believed we can do or attempt were carried out, including ground breaking research works.
“Especially for Nigeria’s sub-medical research, there were things we didn’t have before that we have been clamouring and one of such is a sequencing laboratory that is not common in Africa.
“In NIMR, we were able to acquire so many instrument in relation to sequencing, in relation to management of viral haemorrhagic fever and others through government interventions.
“We must commend the federal government for their huge support to the Institute. NIMR received N3billion intervention funds that helped us in some of our research and development activities.”
On some of the achievements and grants received by the Institute, the D-G said the institute attracted both internal and external research grants which also aided the institute research works.
“We received our grants in various currencies which include N877 million, US$ 87,000, 57,000 pounds and 142,000 Euros from various foundation and bodies across the globe,” he said.
He said that the institute would use the gains made in the outgoing year to further venture into more research work that would be of benefit to the country.
Speaking earlier, Dr Walter Mulombo, the representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Nigeria, called for continuous effort and solidarity in the continent to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Mulombo, represented by Dr Ahmed Khedr, Head of WHO Lagos Liaison Office, advised scientists to inculcate integrity and dedication when carryout their duties.
“As a continent, it is expected of us to do the needful by contributing towards the fight against COVID-19 through our works.
“We must work as researchers and health workers with integrity in all we do to make the world a better place,” he said.
He advised Nigerians to continually adhere to all COVID-19 guidelines of WHO, adding that prevention was important to survival.
Speaking also, Mr Japhet Udeanyi, the Head, System Study and Review Unit of the Independent Corrupt Practice Commission in Lagos, charged NIMR staff on accountability and integrity.
Udeanyi, a guest speaker at the retreat, gave a lecture on Integrity and Accountability in the work place.
NAN reports that NIMR’s D-G was presented with an award by SERVICOM for some of the strides recorded in the institute. (NAN)