THE Global Health Network, an NGO, has recommended clinical research as a panacea in curtailing the menace of infectious disease outbreak in the country.
Dr Oluwagbenga Ogunfowokan, Lead, Global Health Network, Regional Faculty of Nigeria, University of Oxford, UK, disclosed this at a clinical research capacity building programme organised by the network for Pharmacists, Nurses, Laboratory and Social Scientists on Wednesday in Abuja.
The theme of the capacity building is “Strengthening clinical research capacity of Nurses, Pharmacists, Laboratory Scientists and Social Scientists in Nigeria”.
Ogunfowokan noted that the nation was still affected by infectious diseases and as well as having a double burden of disease where non-communicable diseases were almost competing with communicable disease blamed this on lack of research.
He further decried that a lot of people are dying and the average lifespan of Nigerians have dropped however described this as unacceptable.
Ogunfowokan who identified some of the disease outbreak in the country as Ebola, Lassa fever and Cholera, further attributed such outbreaks and associated mortality rate to lack of research.
Ogunfowokan, who is also a Family Physician at the National Hospital, Abuja, emphasised that through research vaccines for prevention of such diseases and treatment could be discovered.
Speaking on a sideline interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) he said that the general healthcare delivery was an embodiment of research.
He explained that nothing could be achieved in the general healthcare delivery system without research.
He said: “Clinical research is very relevant to our daily health because it brings about the discovery of interventions and solutions to health problems.”
He emphasised that everything done in health was based on the output of research, be it disease diagnosis and medication for treatment, among others.
“The various diagnostics that we have such as ultrasound scan, X-ray, taking blood samples, among others, are through researches conducted by people and have solved various health challenges in the country.
“To stem the tide and address the nation’s health problems we must take the bull by the horn, do research that can help leverage on all the resources to provide real-time solutions to our own problems with our own people using best practices and global standards,” Ogunfowokan said.
He said the capacity building was aimed at improving the skills, knowledge of the clinicians in order to be able to conduct clinical research that would help to resolve health problems of the citizens.
He specifically identified clinical research as an aspect of human development in the health sector that was lacking among pharmacists, nurses, laboratory and social scientists.
“It is obvious that this segment of health sector lack capacity for clinical research considering the number of time, the quality, quantity, the impact, relevant of the various work of clinical research that has been done in our health institutions.
“We are far in between research geared toward solving real-life problems and we believed this gap can be bridged by developing the capacity of various roles that are saddled with the responsibility of conducting research of world standard to meet the needs of our people.
“Through these efforts, they can also be able to generate answers to relevant questions in our health sector,” he said.
Mrs Ruth Adamu, a participant at the workshop, commended the group for building their capacity on research, describing it as timely.
Adamu, Chief Nursing Officer, National Hospital, Abuja, noted that nurses were lacking behind in the area of clinical research.
According to her, they deserve the workshop in order to be at par with other health practitioners.
Similarly, Mr Chubiyojo Stephen, another participant and Head, In-patient Pharmacy, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), emphasised that the workshop would assist them in resolving some health challenges in their various localities.
Stephen explained that there are some health problems peculiar to a certain group of people in a particular geographic location.
According to him, with the knowledge acquired he would be able to conduct research that would address such problems without depending on already made research or research output from developed countries.
“Depending on research from developed countries may not exactly fit our local problems,” he said.