Mr Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing, says the country cannot continue to depend on other nations for vaccines during outbreak of pandemic.

Fashola, who is the Chairman of the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Foundation, made this assertion virtually during a news conference organised by the foundation on Tuesday in Lagos.

He noted that there was need to develop human capacity in medical research to proffer solution to existing diseases of public health concern and other eventual pandemic like COVID-19.

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The former governor of Lagos State said the NIMR Foundation, a non-profit organisation, was initiated to raise and mobilise funds to promote medical research work that would be of benefit to Nigerians.

Fashola said: “We cannot continue as a nation to depend on other nations of the world for vaccine during outbreak of pandemic.

“NIMR was founded in 1977 with the vision to lead medical research, while her contemporary in the U.S, Uk, India and other parts of the world are undertaking groundbreaking, farsighted development via research work in biosciences and biotechnology.

“NIMR has been limited due to funds, but it might surprise you that NIMR has demonstrated clearly to come up with research works despite this challenge in the areas of diagnostic kits for COVID-19, sickle cell, therapies and remedies that are life changing.”

According to him, the target of the foundation is to raise N10 billion to kick-start the programme that will be channeled  into critical areas of research.

Speaking also, the 14th Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, and also a member of the NIMR Foundation Board of Trustees, said it was time for the country to have that sense of urgency to improve access to education and healthcare.

Sanusi added that the foundation had engaged the service of UTL Trust Management Ltd., a leading asset management company, to handle funds that would be raised for critical areas of research

“For us to appreciate what is going on here, we have to look beyond statistics and look at the number of human behind most of this statistics of people dying or suffering from diseases that are peculiar to people in this part of the world.

“Some of these deaths are avoidable if we have the right mechanism in place to address them, that is why an advisory board is already in place to provide direction on the research work that will be embarked on.

“The foundation will also publish its reports on a yearly basis in line with global best practice,” he said.

Vanguard News Nigeria


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