UNILAG and NIHR Seek New Partnership Pathways

The need for those in the academia to work in partnership with health institutions and medical research institutes, to deliver world-leading health and social care solutions that will improve people’s health and well-being as well as promote economic growth was the thrust of discussions when a team of researchers visited the Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Folasade T. Ogunsola, OON, FAS on Tuesday, July 27, 2023. 

The body of researchers from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), United Kingdom, was accompanied by a Professor of Paediatric Surgery at the Faculty of Clinical Sciences, Adesoji Ademuyiwa.

According to him, the visit was to discuss ways to intensify efforts with the university to attract, train and support the best researchers to tackle complex health and social care challenges.

His words, “The NIHR as UK’s largest funder of health and social care research training will provide career pathways for clinical academics and non-clinical scientists and offer opportunities for nurses, midwives, and allied health professionals to integrate research with clinical practice”.

With a total of seven (7) hubs across Africa currently running under the aegis of the Institute, Professor Ademuyiwa explained that the choice of Lagos as one of the selected sites for their ongoing research was informed by the quality of top faculty members.

Dr. Ogunniyi and Professor Dauda during the visit

He posited that Professor Risikat Dauda and Dr. Mathew Babatope Ogunniyi of the Department of Economics are representing the University of Lagos on the research team that will create health economic modules to extrapolate outcomes of interest beyond the duration of a clinical trial.

Prof. Ademuyiwa, who is also a Director of the NIHR Funded Center on Global Surgery at CMUL, UNILAG added that “When the results of these researches are out, it is necessary for the populace to enjoy it, it has to be translated to practice, and to translate it to practice, it means that government must make it into a policy.

So, there is this cycle of research, evidence from research, policy formulation, and changing practice, and that is the cycle that makes development happen anywhere.”

A member of the NIHR team and leading colorectal surgeon at the University of Birmingham, Professor Dion Morton expressed delight at the opportunity that lies in wait for the team. He said embedding a research culture will improve the university’s excellent ratings and its remarkable peculiarities as a cosmopolitan citadel.

According to him, the Institute invests in world-class expertise, facilities, and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services. He noted that investment has transformed the health system’s ability to turn scientific discoveries into new or improved treatments and services.

He then disclosed that the plan is to run a postgraduate programme in Medical Surgery that will increase knowledge economy and also build the research capacity and capability needed to respond to health and social care challenges.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, (Management Services) Professor Lucian Chukwu who received the team on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor welcomed and described their vision as apt. He, however, challenged the team to also consider collaborating with other Centres of Excellence domiciled within the university. He opined that such collaborative efforts will break barriers and push new frontiers which would aid the promotion of multidisciplinary training to raise well-rounded graduates.

Prof. Chukwu assured the research team of the university’s goodwill and support. He stressed that the research collaboration will help correct the wrong notion about Nigeria as well as foster a more robust relationship between ivory towers in Nigeria and their global counterparts.

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