AstraZeneca awards grants to support health research in Nigeria

NIG-HEALTHCARE-CopyIn a bid to boost health care research in Nigeria, AstraZeneca Research Trust has stimulated local academic research across therapeutic areas. The AstraZeneca Research Trust in South African and Sub Saharan African has had a positive impact in stimulating local research interest to solve local challenges in its two years in operation.

Chairman, Scientific Review Committee, AstraZeneca Research Trust, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, made the call a press conference and award ceremony held at Protea Hotel, Ikeja Lagos. The event witnessed the huge presence of medical personnel, stakeholders, academics and the public.

Ogunsola pointed out that the health challenges in Africa are increasing at an alarming rate but the health status of Africans remains far worse than that of people in many other developing regions. Although a lack of access to health care and serious health system deficiencies are important reasons for this phenomenon, other elements aggravate it.

One of them being insufficient research and development aimed at addressing Africa’s unmet health needs. Conscious of the need for funding that will develop research capacity and facilitate academic advancement in Africa, AstraZeneca South Africa &Sub-Saharan African launched a not for profit Trust for the disbursement of medical research funding in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa in 2014.

The trust fund supports local academic medical research in areas of non- communicable diseases, focusing particularly on cardiovascular/ metabolic, respiratory and oncology conditions-She stated.

Some of research challenges include lack of data, single–centred research, lack of funds among others in Nigeria; these projects would assist us local and international to have accurate data from research without relying on the foreign data/ statistics.

In our next research would be multi-centred nature in order to beneficial to the larger society-she disclosed.

She maintained, after two years in operation, the AstraZeneca Research Trust has made a positive impact in stimulating local research. To date: 46 studies have been awarded funding 27 non-communicable disease studies 19 communicable disease studies. This month the Research Trust will be awarding an additional four funds for interventional and non- interventional studies in Nigeria and are currently finalising the South African awards for 2015.These studies will generate significant data currently not available in Africa.

The four Nigerian recipients that have benefited from grants were: Dr. Akaninyene Otu, with research title on Seroprevalence and correlates of Dengue fever in Cross River State, a population-based cross-sectional survey with grant award of N3, 500, 000; Dr Sylvester Nwokediuko of University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu State, with research title on gastroesophageal reflux disease in Nigeria; a population-based study, which was granted N5, 000, 000.

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