By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA—The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC has offered to generate short Code to enhance the operation of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, NIPRD.
The short code, when established will enable people call and get desired information from the NIPRD in carrying out its research and development mandate on drugs and other pharmaceutical products.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta made the promise on Thursday when the NIPRD management team paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
Danbatta said the Commission is currently constrained to make financial commitment on the institute, but assured that it would generate the code to enable the institute entertain enquires from the public.
‘‘Though the commission has invested heavily in ICT interventions in schools and organizations, it has budgetary constraints at the moment as the finance meant for such projects has been effectively put to use.
‘‘I advise you to generate a shortcode which people can call and get desired information. The NCC will gladly give you a shortcode to entertain enquires from the public as its own intervention effort in realising your mandate.’’
On his part, the Director Public Affairs, NCC, Dr. Henry Nkemadu advised the institute to align with Nigerian Universities Commission research body to help it create database. He also called on the NIPRD team to work with the ministry of health for effective dissemination of health-related information on emergency medical treatment.
Earlier, the Director-General of NIPRD, Dr Peter Adigwe said the visit was to seek specific collaboration and partnership facilitation in project that will ensure ICT innovation and investment to ensure maximum optimization and usage.
He said the institute also came to seek help on development of online database of relevant research in Nigeria, arguing that, ‘‘it is a waste of energy for different researchers and experts to be working on the same project.
‘‘We need engagement with people in telecommunication sector to disseminate information on health matters. We need in creating a modem for validated interventions during health emergencies just like the outbreak of Ebola. The fourth one is institutional ICT infrastructural support. The support from NCC in terms of installing a robust ICT infrastructure like internet server will greatly increase access to the staff of the institute.
“Over the last three decades, we have focused on developing local capacity to help improve access to medicines as well as help to ensure that Nigerians start to take cognisance of the natural resources we have. We are also involved in the processes of getting those natural resources to finished products that can help them improve health care as well as other social-economic variables, job creation, capacity building, knowledge transfers and income generation.
‘‘We have been world recognized for medicine development, our therapy is used in over 44 countries for sickle cell anaemia. We are also well known for drug quality analysis. We seek specific collaboration and partnership facilitation in project that will ensure ICT innovation and investment is promoted to ensure maximum optimization and usage.
‘‘We need a research database freely accessible by researchers so that people know who is working in what area and there are functionalities in the database that will enable people who are interested in that area to see the key actors and people who want to invest’’
According to him, NIPRD has been developing plants over the years that if harnessed in an online database will help farmers and other people in the field get into traditional and conventional medicine.