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Havard Scholar to educate Nigerians on epidemic management

Lagos – Nigeria’s health practitioners will enhance their knowledge of handling and managing epidemic diseases when a Havard University School of Public Health Scholar delivers the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Pro-Chancellor’s Distinguished lecture.

A picture taken on July 24, 2014 shows staff of the Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse putting on protective gear in the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia. An American doctor battling West Africa’s Ebola epidemic has himself fallen sick with the disease in Liberia, Samaritan’s Purse said on July 27. AFP PHOTO /

The lecture, billed for July 23, with the theme, “Responding to Nigeria’s Disease Outbreak and Epidemics: Ebola, Zika and HIV’’, will be delivered by an outstanding virologist from Havard, Boston, U.S., Prof. Phyllis Kanki.

The Vice-Chancellor, UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, told a news conference to herald the lecture that Nigeria’s knowledge in healthcare services would get a boost and benefit the populace.

According to Ogundipe who was represented by the institution’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics and Research, Prof. Oluwole Familoni, Kanki, is an outstanding virologist whose research work focused on virology, molecular epidemiology of HIV in Africa and the implementation of scientific works to improve HIV outcomes.

The vice-chancellor noted that Africans die from most diseases as a result of poor response in the handling and management of such diseases coupled with lack of information.

He added that Kanki had been working in West Africa since the 1980s and in 2000s, when she established the AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria (APIN), with a 25 million dollar grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Ogundipe said that already, the lecturer had mentored more than 50 doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows in the U.S. and from various countries in Africa.

According to him, alongside her Nigerian colleagues, Kanki’s research efforts have addressed varying health topics, including “HIV Co-Infections’’, “Determinants of ART Efficacy’’ and the Evaluation of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) Interventions.

“We are set for this maiden Distinguished Pro-Chancellor public lecture as Kanki’s immense work towards promoting public health in Africa has been recognised and impacted tremendously on the continent and globally.

“In 2008, she was given the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Public Health in Africa by the University of Ibadan, as well as awarded the Honorary Doctorate of the same university.

“It is therefore, our conviction that with the delivery of this lecture, it will go a long way to add considerably to Nigeria’s corpus of knowledge on the subject of the disease outbreaks and epidemic management,’’ he said.

Ogundipe lauded the efforts of the Pro-Chancellor of the institution, Dr Wale Babalakin, in expanding the frontiers of knowledge. (NAN)

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