By Chioma Obinna
Scientists at the just concluded 5 – day Molecular Biology and Biotechnology workshop organised by the department of Molecular Biology Division of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) have posited that for Nigeria to achieve its vision 20:2020, health research must be taken very seriously and accorded priority in funding, encouragement, recognition and utilisation of research findings.
The scientists pointed out that health research in Nigeria is thoroughly neglected, poorly funded and unappreciated as the driver of national socio economic development.
Speaking at the workshop with the theme; â€œMolecular Biology: The Backbone of Evidence – based Medicine,â€ Deputy Director (Research) and Head of Division Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of NIMR, Dr. Stella Smith said molecular biology offers faster techniques and efficient methods of diagnosis and is cheaper on the long run.
Citing the recent controversial birth of a white baby by a Nigerian couple in England, Smith said the true situation can be determined only by genetic studies using molecular biology.
Her words: â€œOur lectures and practical sessions are aimed at broadening our knowledge, improving our research skills and equipping our participants with modern day technology in evidenced – based medicine and reduce the challenges of millennium development goals for the people of Nigeria.â€
Director General NIMR, Prof. Innocent Ujah said â€œThrough research findings, it is possible to introduce new genes that could fight cancer, create new cells to replace the ones that known to cause cancer. It therefore means that the molecular biologists may simultaneously be finding both the cause and cure of cancer. If and when research outcomes can overcome such dreaded pathology, then the world will have a sigh of relief following such feat in human technology.â€
Chairman, Board of NIMR, Dr. R. W. Ejifoma, announced that the management of the institute has adopted six research programmes including, malaria, HIV/AIDS, TB, maternal and reproductive health and childhood disease, non communicable disease and neglected tropical diseases.