Former Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has asked the National Council on Health (NCH) to create a forum that will allow all landmark research findings in the national health sector to be domesticated.
Prof Adewole said this during the first distinguished lecture for Emeritus Professor Oladipo Akinkugbe at the University of Medical Sciences, (UNIMED) Ondo, Ondo state.
” The National Council on Health (NCH) should urgently create a forum that will allow all landmark research outputs from investigators and research institutions to present their research findings to policymakers and domesticate the evidence.
He called on the agency to collaborate with other agencies of government to strengthen the health system in Nigeria.
The former minister listed the agencies to include the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), National Health Insurance Scheme (NIHS) and National Institute for Pharmaceutical and Development (NIPRID).
According to him ” the agencies would go a long way to strengthen the health system through research and innovation.
“Health systems research is useful at each level in the management hierarchy of the health system: not just at the macro-level of policy and planning, but also at the programme and operational levels.
“The complexity of the problems dealt with at the respective levels ranges from highly complex at the policy level, to fairly simple at the operational level.
“Much of the information needed at the operational level can be obtained through simple studies. Such studies can be designed and conducted by health personnel at different levels within the health system.
“Health systems research in all its aspects, including capacity strengthening, must become a more integral part of national health system development. It should contribute strongly to ongoing evidence-based health system
“A broader and more comprehensive view of institutional research capacity strengthening is needed. More innovative applications of the knowledge management revolution should be considered.
“The health systems research community should challenge itself to explore problem-oriented alliances with other disciplinary and topic-based groups who share the same concerns of strengthening health systems”
“Nigeria is bequeathed with a lot of potentials from her large population size to her diversities as well the unique material and non-material resources.
“What is lacking is our optimal ability to plan and design a strategic framework to harness and utilize these God-given potentials in all facets of life including the health sector for our National Development”
Adewole maintained that health priorities should be based on local research findings and not by political necessity or preferences, saying that Nigeria has witnessed some improvement in the health sector since the advent of the current democratic dispensation.
He, however, noted that the improvement is being championed largely by the Federal Government with very little effort by the states and no appreciable activity at the Local Government level, which is regarded as the closest arm of government to our people.
“No wonder, while some of our health indices are still “crawling” to improve. The current government was investing in primary healthcare to demonstrate to other tiers of government that a functioning primary healthcare service can bring an enduring health system for a nation.
“Research on health provides direction for appropriate policies and programmes that bring enduring solutions to our health needs.
“Importing health intervention without local hard evidence often waste resources and investments. For example, health priorities should be based on local research findings and not by political necessity or preferences”
He also called on the National and State Assemblies to see funding of research as a national priority to solve some of the problems through research while he called on Tertiary Institutions to encourage multi disciplinary research that has translational effect on local environment.
“No nation can seriously make a significant breakthrough or innovation through external funding alone We cannot continuously depend on external donors for all our needs.
“Our medical scientists should concern themselves with work that is relevant to our environment and to situations in which local cultural values and traditional characteristics can be made to relate our scientific efforts to the inevitable modern world of rationalistic empiricism. That is our only durable passport to creativity and intellectual empowerment”
The Vice Chancellor of UNIMED, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi, said the lecture became necessary to honour the founding Pro-Chancellor of the institution who contributed immensely to the development of his immediate community while alive.
Fatusi said “from his base in Nigeria, he impacted the world at large and was a leading figure in the fields of medical practice, research, and education at the global level, serving, among others, as a Member of the Advisory Committee on Health for Research for the World Health Organization.
“He was a man totally and thoroughly devoted to service and Nigeria. As he once remarked at an interview on his 80th birthday, “Right from the time I qualified, I made up my mind that my parish will be my own community, that is Africa. So, no matter what temptation, across the Atlantic, Middle East, that has never dazzled me.
“To us in UNIMED, Emeritus Akinkugbe lives on. As an institution committed to excellence in medical education, research and services, Prof Akinkugbe is not a historical note in our developmental trajectory, but a continuous inspiration and evergreen symbol for all we stand for and aspire to be … “Excellence or Nothing”.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu who spoke through the Secretary to the State Government SSG, Princess Oladunni Odu appreciated the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi for deeming it fit to celebrate Prof. Akinkugbe.
The event was graced by the Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom, Oba Victor Adesimbo Kiladejo, ; the former state governor Dr Olusegun Mimiko and the wife of the late icon of medicine, Prof. Folasade Akinkugbe.
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