The Federal Government will increase investments into research and healthcare development as part of efforts to boost the health sector, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, Minister of State for Health, said on Friday in Lagos.
Mamora gave the assurance at the inauguration of Oligo-Synthesis Laboratory donated by MTN Foundation to the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research ( NIMR), Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the machine is an equipment capable of making short synthetic copies of an organism’s genetic materials called oligonucleotide perimeters.
It is used for research and development of vaccines and drug development, nutrigenomic, local design and development of diagnostics.
Mamora expressed gratitude to the Foundation for its swift response and particularly commended the partnership with the institute toward bringing higher research in health development,
“We are specifically aware of the large number of corporate social responsibility activities undertaken by MTN in various locations in the voluntary.
“We are aware of the numerous projects the MTN foundation has executed toward improving the lives of our people in diverse ways,” he said.
He commended the efforts of the management team of the institute toward ensuring that its mandate and responsibility to the public were met even beyond expectations.
“As the Minister of State for Health whose mandate includes supervision of NIMR, I urge you all to support projects like this to promote equity, promptness and better access to healthcare for all Nigerians,” he said.
He further encouraged the continuous use of face masks and adherence to other COVID-19 protocols.
“We know that the vaccine does not give absolute prevention; we need to appreciate that even after your vaccination, you still have to comply with the interventions.
“Use of face mask should be compulsory. Remember that it is not chin mask or pocket mask. We still have to wash our hands with soap and water, use hand sanitiser and avoid crowded places by maintaining social distancing.
“Today, I am very proud to say that NIMR is surpassing our expectations as the foremost medical facility in West Africa.
“Many thanks to the MTN Foundation for partnering with NIMR in bringing the Oligo-Sythesis machine to the country to improve the lives of our people,” the minister said.
Prof. Babatunde Salako, the Director-General of the institute, in a remark, stated that the institute was facing challenges in procuring and importing molecular biology, especially oligonucleotide perimeterand probes, in the effort to contribute to the control of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These are the key requirements in our scientific invention pipeline. They are required by all scientists and researchers in the field of molecular biology and biotechnology in the country.
“We approached a number of private organisations in the country, including MTN Foundation, presented our challenges and requested for the donation of Oligo-sythesizer to NIMR to ease this major challenge.
“An equipment like this will put Nigeria researchers in the foremost front of experimental vaccines, diagnostics and drug development.
“These advancements will help to continue the ground- breaking research that Nigeria needs to make our population healthier, cleaner and safer,” Salako said.
The MTN Foundation Chairman, Prince Julius Adelusi Adeluyi, in his remark, said the foundation was working with the public and private sectors to provide solutions to problems in the communities across the States.
“As an organisation, we embark on projects with a clear goal – to improve the quality of life of Nigerians. In line with this, we are pleased to partner with NIMR in establishing the new laboratory.
“It is a cutting edge solution that allows for local development of primers to be used in the indigenous production of test kits for COVID-19 and other diseases, making test kits more accessible and affordable,” Adelusi- Adeluyi said.
He said the foundation would continue to establish and sustain such partnership for the betterment of the country.