THE Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Babatunde Salako, has called on the Federal Government to amend the NIMR Act to improve healthcare delivery in the country.
Speaking at a dialogue session with a delegation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) on Wednesday, January 25, Salako stated that medical research will improve the health sector significantly.
Noting that health research is poorly funded in the country, he stressed the need to establish direct funding for the program through a committed Medical Research Council.
“The impact of the Medical Research Council will be felt in the better health indices, number of direct grants to Nigeria, number of locally funded projects and use of policy briefs from research evidence/innovations, as well as homegrown solutions to challenges in drugs, vaccine development and the health system.
“The best thing that can happen to Nigeria is to have its Medical Research Council, which is specifically to fund all health research in the country from universities to research institutes and other institutions,” he said.
Salako noted that most successful countries have functional research and development programs funded by health research funding agencies.
According to him, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) is restricted to tertiary research and is specifically for universities and not the health sector.
The NIMR boss stressed that almost 90 per cent of medical research in Nigeria is funded by donors.
Salako added the creation of a Nigeria Medical Research Council, with allocated federal funding, will strengthen, coordinate and improve healthcare research in the country.