Prof. Chinedum Babalola, the Vice-Chancellor, Chrisland University, Abeokuta, on Wednesday called for more investment in research institutes and universities to strengthen research capacity.
Babalola made the call at the ongoing Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPHARM) and Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) Media Week in Lagos.
Babalola, a Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Pharmacokinetics, spoke on “Roles of Professionals, Research Institutes and Universities”.
Supreme reports that theme of the week-long event is: “COVID-19: Facts, Myths and Way Forward”.
She said: “The COVID-19 pandemic overloaded and overwhelmed health facilities and care providers globally.
“The critical lessons that Africa has learnt from COVID-19 is the need to build its own capacity and capabilities for manufacturing of medicines and vaccines.
“More investment in research institutes and universities will go a long way to strength Africa medicines and vaccine production.”
According to her, a recent programme put together by some African bodies shows that the continent imports 99 per cent of vaccines administered.
“The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation and African Union Commission recently signed an MOU which aims to strengthen ties between the organisations and the Africa Centre for Disease Control.
“The scope is to strengthen pandemic and outbreak preparedness in Africa, and also to invest in vaccine innovations to enable production of vaccine in Africa.
“Only two per cent of vaccine clinical trials take place in Africa and 99 per cent used in the continent are imported,” she said.
The vice-chancellor, however, tasked professionals, universities and research institutes on the need to be more proactive in the discharged of their duties.
“Our universities and professionals should build human capacity for cutting edge research about issues of public healthcare emergency and encourage knowledge sharing.
“They should also take advantage of the numerous research grants available to enhance their work.
“Advice the government on possible way forward and educate the public when the need arises,” she said.