The Director of Research, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Dr. Nkiruka Odunukwe has said achieving success in the elimination of malaria requires adequate funding and investment into research.
She said progress would be made if all the necessary equipment were made available as well as the implementation of the intervention policies.
Odunukwe who stated this as the institute marked its world malaria day in collaboration with the Malaria Society of Nigeria, decried the government’s inability to fund research activities that would enable scientists’ come up with solutions to eradicate the disease in the country.
She said, “We haven’t really done anything on vaccine, we have the man power on ground to do every kind of research, but our challenge is funding, if we can get funding and get our labouratories, especially, the malaria research labouratory for molecular biology and immunology, with all the equipment needed in it, chances are that we will make more progress than what we have made so far.
“Research needs money, to eliminate and stop malaria for good, we need research work, innovations, and for you to get that research that would affect policy positively, you need money, but Nigeria funding research is like we are not yet attuned with it.”
She noted that the institute’s malaria research competitive advantage, in the last couple of years, has been on drug efficacy therapeutic test and research on mosquito vector control, adding that the institute has expanded its malaria research portfolio with a Unit for malaria diagnosis.
She further stressed that the use of the already preventive measures such as treated mosquito nets, insecticides and others are not enough to prevent the disease, adding that vaccines are urgently needed to totally eliminate it, which only research can provide.
The Director further said that NIMR would continue to collaborate with the National Malaria Elimination Programme, World Health Organization (WHO) and other development partners in the implementation and actualization of the sustainable Development goals.
Also speaking at the event, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti who was represented by WHO South-West Coordinator, Dr. Tolu Arowolo said, with commendable progress made in the fight against the disease, it still remains a major public health and development challenge in Africa, as major gaps in programme coverage remain, adding that the pace of progress must speed up to reach the global target of at least a 40 per cent reduction in malaria cases and deaths by 2020, compared to 2015 levels.
Moeti, however, called on malaria-affected countries and their development partners to boost investments in malaria prevention, implement concrete actions across sectors, strengthen cross-border collaboration and allocate resources to end malaria.
Source: The Guardian