COVID-19: NPMCN calls for more emphasis on research funding

Management of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN), Ijanikin, Lagos has called for emphasis on the collaboration between the Federal and State Governments to work on policies, guidelines and implementation of mitigating factors, diagnostic methods, and treatment of Covid-19 patients.

The management also called for provision of funds to strengthen research capability in the search for faster diagnostic tools, therapeutics, epidemiological patterns, socio-cultural determinants of spread, and vaccine development.

The College also called for strengthening capabilities of States and Local Government authorities in the epidemiological work for field work in surveillance, active case search, contact tracing, and management of mild to moderate COVID-19 patients.

This was contained in a press release signed by the Governing Board of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria through its Principal Officers – Dr. M. M. Borodo, the College President, his Vice, Dr. A. O. Osibogun, the Treasurer, Dr. A. L. Ladiende, and the Registrar, Dr. Owoidoho Udofia.

The NPMCN also commended actors in the Nigerian private sector who have donated funds, and materials to fight COVID-19 and to mitigate the economic and social impact of the disease.

The College stated that the sudden occurrence of COVID-19 spread globally caught every nation off guard and the resultant rapid rise in number of cases and deaths is a tragedy that is still unfolding and has not fully played out.

“As this unfortunate pandemic unfolds, nations have witnessed health professionals caring for the sick at a great risk to their own health, and other essential workers who risk their lives to bring the needed services to citizens,” the College stated.

The NPMCN recognised the essential need for the global research community to act collectively and for open science to control the spread of the virus.

The College acknowledged the efforts of Nigerian researchers and scientists by joining these global efforts on research for mitigating measures, vaccines and therapeutic drugs production for COVID-19.

The NPMCN also called for strong support for developing countries like Nigeria from the international community in the area of providing testing reagents, testing swabs and other testing materials, personal protective (PPE) materials, ventilator equipment and proven therapeutic drugs and vaccines when they are available.

The NPMCN noted with pride that several of its Fellows are among the healthcare professionals in the frontline leading the fight against COVID-19.

“Several Fellows of the College are serving in different areas of the frontline, either as consultants in Infectious Diseases, Public Health Specialists and Epidemiologists involved in the unveiling of knowledge through research for treatment and in the control measures for Covid-19 among others”

The NPMCN recognised the furious and dangerous nature of this war, and condoles with the families of frontline healthcare workers who have lost their lives or their loved ones in the course of fighting this Covid-19 war.

“The NPMCN Fellows and associate fellows working with other stakeholders can provide the needed expertise and scientific knowledge to respond to this crisis and guard against similar future events. We encourage Governments at all levels to leverage on this pool of experts.

“The NPMCN calls on all its Fellows and associate Fellows to continue to support the war on COVID-19, while playing safe, by making their expertise available for the treatment of severely ill COVID-19 patients, provision of human resource skills for the diagnosis of COVID-19.

“Other areas include involvement in coordinated action by leading scientists, universities, and research institutions in Nigeria to find appropriate cures for and vaccines against the virus.

“Involvement in coordinated action by governments and the private sector to strengthen the health care systems.

“Involvement in the mobilisation of policy makers, civil society and private sector and private hospitals, pharmaceutical companies to collaborate with fellows and scientists to share scientific information to meet societal needs in Nigeria.

The NPMCN further calls on Governments at all levels to adopt a more holistic approach to human, animal and environmental health for the future. This will require more monitoring of potential emerging pathogens internationally and nationally to reduce the risk of such pathogens spilling over from wild animals or from other countries into Nigeria,” the statement concluded.

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