- Emefiele: We’ve financed 82 health projects with N85.89bn
Five out of 268 proposals that bided for the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme (HSRDIS) have secured research grant valued at N245.54 million.
This is as the bank confirmed financing 82 health care projects with total value of N85.89 billion. Grants’ recipients – five all from the academia – are deploying the funds for development of vaccines and drugs against the spread of other communicable and non-communicable diseases. CBN, last year, at the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, launched HSRDIS grants to provide researchers and healthcare institutions to develop vaccines, drugs and herbal medicines, which could help curtail the spread of COVID-19 and any other communicable or noncommunicable diseases.
Speaking at the presentation of award grants to recipients yesterday, CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, described grant awards as a testimony to the significant role research and development in healthcare could play in supporting economic growth, particularly as growth is highly dependent on a strong and healthy workforce.
According to Emefiele, “Meeting our need for a strong and healthy workforce with better safety profiles is a task that can only be addressed through a healthcare sector that provides for significant investments in Research and Development.”
He said a vibrant and innovative health care system was also vital for the national security, noting that “we all witnessed how a number of countries and territories adopted stringent and immediate export restrictions on critical medical supplies and drugs that were specifically meant to help countries respond to the spread of the virus.”
The CBN governor recalled that responses by advanced and developing nations vary in the face of COVID-19 pandemic. Emefiele said currently, 82 projects valued at N85.89 billion had been financed through the scheme. The projects financed, according to him, comprise 26 pharmaceutical and 56 medical projects across the country.
The governor admonished recipients of the awards to judiciously utilize the opportunity offered to them by the CBN and strive to achieve the purposes of their research by ensuring that their projects meet the set targets, aims and objectives of supporting the development of vaccines and drugs in Nigeria.
Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, said though COVID-19 came with adverse effects, it nevertheless provides the opportunity for the country to fix her healthcare system. He said the modest achievement demonstrated by CBN through research grants will translate to making Nigeria be in a good position to confront future epidemics.
He lauded CBN for initiating research grants towards developing vaccines, noting that the country can’t continue to depend on imported vaccines. In an interview with journalists, CBN Director of Development Finance, Mr. Phillips Yusuf Yila, said anybody interested in related areas of research is free to apply for the grant. “Anybody who is interested in a research, who has a topic related to the health care industry; who feels that he can contribute to national development is eligible.
“The DG of NAFDAC is the chair of the body of experts and she is the one leading the team that are doing the evaluation of the proposals we receive,” Yila said. The five recipients of the grants are: Dr. Garba Uba, N42 million; Dr. (Mrs) Otega Ejofodomi, N40 million; Prof. Olufemi Babalola, N50 million; Prof. Okoli Ikechuwu, N50 million and Dr. Odili Ogedemgbe, N50 million