Isa Marte Hussaini

Martins Ifijeh

A world renowned cancer researcher, Professor Isa Marte Hussaini, has called for greater commitment on the part of the government to the funding of research and development in the country.

Stating this during the induction of six distinguished professionals at the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy in Lagos recently, he said inadequate funding was still a big challenge for research and development in Nigeria, as well as lack of constant power supply and non- availability of reagents which are often bought from the United States or the United Kingdom.

“We need more research grants in our country; it is not about the personnel but the tools to work with. All over the world, there are Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in the field of medicine,” Hussaini lamented.

Hussaini whose cancer research is exploring the use of local herbs in cancer therapy reminded the audience that “cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, the first being cardiovascular diseases with 8.2 million deaths reported worldwide as at 2012. Sadly, a lot of the research grants in Nigeria are focused on deaths arising from preventable diseases like Malaria, TB when we should really be funding ground breaking research on cancer. We have seen fruitful evidence of the use of local herbs in the management of cancer in Nigeria.”

The President, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyion his part, noted that those who were being inducted at the programme were people with strong passion for scientific research. “These are tested professionals who appreciate the value of research in fast-tracking the social and economic progress of societies.”

On his part, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, (PSN), Ahmed Yakasai, said the body was committed to making Nigeria the hub of pharmaceutical production and research in Africa.

“Through a well-tailored plan which we have broken down to short, medium and long-term plan, we are looking to promote pharmaceutical manufacturing in Nigeria and examining the possibilities of producing about 70 per cent of what the industry needs especially the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients while importing the remaining 30 per cent.”

Yakassai also announced the establishment of the PSN Foundation which would be launched in Abuja on the 17th of October 2017 while noting that the 90th celebration of the PSN scheduled to hold in Umuahia would be a grand, epoch making occasion for all pharmacists.

Those inducted include Director-General, Nigerian Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, NIPRD, Prof. Karniyus Gamaniel, former deputy provost, University of Lagos, Prof. Herbert Coker; one-time national pharmaceutical advisor, World Health Organisation, Dr. Ogori Taylor; first African woman to bag the fellowship of American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) in the US and Professor of Pharmaceutics, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye; Pharmacy Residency Director, Mercer University College at Atlanta Medical Center, Dr. Teresa Pounds and communications management consultant and CEO XLR8, Calixthus Okoruwa.