The director-general of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Prof Babatunde Salako has justified the establishment of the Medical Research Council (MRC) to fund research work in the country.
Salako made this known at a two-day stakeholder meeting organised by the institute in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to discuss the feasibility and acceptability, as well as organs and functionality of the Medical Research Council for Nigeria yesterday (January 25, 2023) in Abuja.
He said that the Federal Government created a MRC with permanent Federal funding, to strengthen and coordinate health and health-care research.
Salako said that the establishment of the council should be informed by a thorough review of existing research/stakeholders meeting to know where the gaps were.
“A completing funding programme targeting investors at universities, hospitals, and research institutions and complementing other extramural funding systems such as the TETFund.
“One per cent of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BCHPF). Council to identify research areas based on Nigeria’s health research policy and priorities produced by the Federal Ministry of Health and the council,” he said.
He said that the MRC investment impact would increase the availability and use of high-quality research that translates into policy adoption to drive impact towards SDGs and increase return on investment on research in the country.
“Scalable, modular national subnational learning platforms that enable the spread of innovation across the value chain of cost-eMecte, quality research design and execution.
“Ensure that the number of Nigerian universities /research institutes that are successful lead/direct grantees of domestic and non-domestically funded research is increased in the nearest future.
“Ensure an increase in the number of policy briefs emanating from local research evidence and innovation,” he said.
According to him, NIMR started as the West African Council for Medical Research a statutory body established under the West African Council for Medical Research Act, CAP.215 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1958.
“By Decree No 72 of 1966, the then FG established the Nigerian Council for Medical Research which replaced and took over the assert of the WACMR, under the provisions of Section 10 (1) and (2) of the Nigerian Council for Medical Research Decree,” he said.
He said that the Federal Government renamed the Nigerian Council for Medical Research the Medical Research Council of Nigeria by section 1of the Medical Research Council of Nigeria Decree No 1of 1972 and by Section 18 of the same decree, all assets of the Nigerian Council for Medical Research were transferred to the Medical Research Council of Nigeria,” he explained.
The NIMR boss said that the mandate remained to conduct research into diseases of public health importance in the country and develop a structure for the dissemination of research.
He said that this would be while providing the enabling environment and facilities for health and training in cooperation with the federal and state ministries of health and collaboration with universities, allied institutions and organized private sector national and international.
According to him, the National Science and Technology Development Agency Decree, No 5 of 1977 repealed the Medical Research Council of Nigeria Decree No 1 of 1972 and by paragraph 2 of the schedule to the National Science and Technology.
The decree, all rights, interests and obligations concerning the assets of the Medical Research Council of Nigeria were transferred to the National Science and Technology Development Agency.
“The National Science and Technology Act 1 of 1980 later embodied in CAP. 276 Laws of the Federation 1990 dissolved the National Science and Technology Development Agency and established various research institutions through the research institute (establishment, etc.). Order paragraph (1) (c) of the Order established the National Institute for Medical Research. The National Institute for Medical Research was renamed the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research in 1993,” he said.