NIMR tasks government on research prioritisation



• Conference addresses challenges of vector borne diseases
Deputy Director Research at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Yaba, Lagos, Dr. Sam Awolola, has called on government to prioritise research in the country.

Speaking at the just ended third annual conference of the Pan – African Mosquito Control Association (PAMCA) in Lagos, he said funding was not the major challenge of research in Nigeria, but lack of government will.

Awolola noted that until government identifies the role of research in nation development, the appropriate funding would not be forthcoming.

According to him, a nation who doesn’t accord the right importance to research might not be able to get enough information to develop.

He added, “It is only when government recognizes the significance of research, then they can create an enabling environment to build both human and infrastructural capacities for research and only then international bodies can duly collaborate with us to make the due impact.”

Addressing the theme of the conference, “Control of Mosquito Vectors: Opportunities and Challenges in the 21St Century,” Awolola remarked that the choice was informed by the necessity to build capacity towards the control of vector borne diseases in the sub region.

The conference, he said was a platform to discuss issues confronting Africa in respect of challenges of curbing mosquitoes borne diseases, as well as opportunities.

He however observed that the opportunities out weights the challenges because “we are looking beyond mosquitoes vector borne ailments to transmitted viral infections like Zika and Dengue also are caused by mosquitoes.”

In his keynote address, the immediate Coordinator of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Vector Control Unit, Dr. Abraham Mnzava highlighted poor policy implementation at country level and lack of human resource capacity and right infrastructure as major challenges to controlling mosquito vector in the sub region.

He explained that often time policy recommendations are made by the WHO, but implementing them at the country level requires the right skills to translate to action most of the policies which bores down to lack of capacity and infrastructural building. “So it is one thing come up with a policy and another to implement,” he added.

Mnzava, an Entomologist further stated the need to raise new vector control tools and programmes because existing ones though still in use are faced with biological threats such as increase in spread of resistance in some insecticide, and outdoor resting of mosquitoes.

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