NCRC: $500m Required for Research as Covid-19 Lingers in Nigeria
From Usman Bello Balarabe, Kano
The Nigeria Covid-19 Research Coalition (NCRC) has said the Nigeria Health sector needs at least $500 million for research and development to generate research evidence for the understanding the covid-19 pandemic.
It also said the money would enable the country to support the response to the outbreak.
The coalition, which was established by Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Federal Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund), Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) and National Universities Commission (NUC), noted that the Health sector is facing paucity of funds, inadequate manpower and infrastructure, among others, and called for more domestic funding for R&D.
Speaking at a briefing on the research colloquium, in Abuja, the NCRC National Coordinator Dr. Chinwe Ochu, said from the outset when the first case of COVID-19 was identified in Nigeria in February 2020, the NCDC decided to convene a coalition involving scientists coming together with policy makers and working with the industry and consumers to define a pathway on research in order to help understand the COVID-19 pandemic and how to respond to it.
“The NCRC was set up because of the understanding we have of the challenges we had in the country on health research; the fact that we have paucity of funds for research, inadequate, trained human resources, inadequate research infrastructure, limited indigenous research protocols and silos activities of different research groups, as well as suboptimal quality of routine data to aid understanding of health issues.”
On his part, the NCRC Project Manager, Dr. Popoola Mustapha Ayo, pointed out that the requirement, in terms of funding for research in the country, is about $5 billion.
He further added that: “If you look at the requirement and proposition by the African Union (AU) for countries in Africa, it is to make sure that they have one per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a contribution to R&D while our national GDP is trending at around $450 billion to $500 billion. If you look at one percent of that, it will give you around $5 billion. As at present, TETfund, which is holding the highest grant portfolio for the country in terms of research, is trending at around $20 million”.