FMoH Leads Nigeria’s Push For Medical Research Dominance In West Africa

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The Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa.
The Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa.

The Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has taken the reins in a bold initiative aimed at establishing Nigeria as the premier hub for medical research in West Africa.
The Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa announced this groundbreaking effort on Tuesday during the inauguration of the Nation Health Research Ethics Committee (NHREC) in Abuja.
The NHREC, comprised of highly qualified individuals from diverse research backgrounds, will serve as the apex body responsible for providing and ensuring adherence to guidelines governing health research. Alausa emphasised that this initiative seeks to drive innovation, attract investment and foster collaboration in the medical research field.
Highlighting the paramount importance of ethical considerations in health research, Alausa stressed the need to protect the rights, dignity, and well-being of research participants. He underscored the commitment to building a healthcare system rooted in integrity, transparency, and ethical conduct. The establishment of the NHREC aligns with the 2014 National Health Act, aiming to enforce standards and protocols for conducting ethical pre-clinical and clinical trials in the country.
This strategic endeavor aims to elevate Nigeria’s status in medical research, propelling the nation to become a regional powerhouse in advancing healthcare and scientific breakthroughs. Alausa emphasised that the NHREC’s responsibilities align with the four-point agenda and overall objectives of the Nigeria Health Sector Renewal Initiative (NHSRI).
The permanent secretary of the ministry, Ms. Kachollom Daju highlighted the importance of ongoing research in the country, covering various aspects from disease control to health system enhancement. Daju emphasised the commitment to protecting participants in research through the strengthening of the NHREC, underlining its role in advancing health research with a focus on ethical considerations.
In his acceptance speech, chairman of NHREC, Prof. Richard Adebola expressed the committee’s dedication to upholding the highest ethical standards in medical and health-related research. Adebola positioned NHREC as a guardian of ethical principles, emphasising the delicate balance between advancing scientific knowledge and safeguarding the rights, safety and well-being of research participants.
Drawing on his extensive experience across continents and diverse sectors, Adebola stressed the committee’s commitment to understanding the ethical requirements and scientific standards crucial for government-supported studies. He called for collaboration with the recently inaugurated committee, emphasising the need to streamline processes with scientific rigour before reaching the ethics committee.
All members of NHREC are appointed by the National Health Act of 2014, which outlines the criteria, roles, and responsibilities of the committee. Their appointment aligns with the commitment to achieving excellence in medical research and ethical considerations. The NHREC’s inauguration marks a significant step toward positioning Nigeria as a leader in medical research in the West African region.

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