Institute of medical research to develop vaccine for coronavirus ― Health ministry

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health, Sen Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora, on Monday, announced that the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) has determined the genetic sequencing of coronavirus causing COVID-19.

According to him, NIMR is the first research institute in Africa to record such feat which he said would help scientists in the country to develop the vaccine to combat the virus.

Mamora made the announcement at the 34th anniversary of Healthcare magazine, award presentations and innovation conference themed “improving health with innovations, technology and sustainable financing” held at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos on Monday.

He said: “Hope is not lost on the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research. There was a time the institute produced vaccines. But along the line, it went into recline. But as I speak, efforts are on-going to resuscitate all these.

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“Coronavirus is fast assuming the status of an epidemic. I was at the NIMR earlier today (Monday) for an event and I can confirm to you that the genetic sequencing of the Coronavirus causing Covid 19 has been determined by the Institute. And that is the first in Africa. This will help in the development of a vaccine to combat the virus.”

Commenting on the dearth of medical doctors in the country, Mamora lamented that it costs the Federal government the sum of N70million to train one medical graduate to become a fellow.

He said it was not to the advantage of the country to see them emigrating.

He, however, assured that the government is making efforts to stem the tide of brain drain.

Representing Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, at the conference, Permanent Secretary of the State’s Ministry of Health, Dr Olusegun Ogboye, said quality healthcare delivery is one of the priorities of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s administration.

Dr Ogboye, who received the 2020 Healthcare Outstanding Personality of the year award on behalf of the governor, said Gov Sanwo-Olu is poised to improving healthcare service delivery standard in Lagos State which was why he is building and renovating hospitals and healthcare centres across the State.

In her speech delivered by Dr Oladipo Odebowale at the conference, Chairman, Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said diasporans have an important role to play in the development of the country’s healthcare sector.

She disclosed that it is not a secret that the healthcare sector in Nigeria needs strengthening as it is confronted with the lack of adequate personnel who have migrated the country to a more favourable environment.

She, however, informed that many of the healthcare professionals in the diaspora are engaging in various projects to complement the Federal Government’s efforts to developing the health care sector of the country.

The Founder of Healthcare magazine and convener of the innovation conference, Dr Bola Olaosebikan, opined that information dissemination, communication and education are also required as doing things in traditional ways cannot take the country healthcare sector to the desired height.

“I am challenging the pharmaceutical companies and the rich to support and invest in medical researches and technologies to enhance quality healthcare service delivery,” he said.

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