A leading Environmental Epidemiologist in Africa, Dr. (Mrs) Adetoun Mustapha has charged African scientists and researchers to embrace Translational Science as a way to make maximum impact with their research efforts. She gave the charge at the Opening Session of the 6th International Medical Geologists Association Nigeria (IMGA) Conference which was held on Tuesday, August 22 at Arthur Mbanefo Digital Research Centre (AMDRC), University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka.
Delivering her Keynote Address, titled: “Closing the Research and Policy Gap to address Environmental Health Challenges in Africa”, Dr. Mustapha shined the spotlight on Africa’s developmental challenges and the little done by way of research to address the nexus between environmental activities and health outcomes.
“Poverty seems to be the main environmental challenge in Africa. It is a painful reality that ensures that little attention is paid to the health outcomes of environmental activities. Less than 1% of GDP in Africa is committed to research and that is indicative of the very low research outputs in environmental health on the continent.”
Dr. Mustapha, who is also a Researcher at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, advocated for an increase of researches that explore the connection that exists between the environment and public health.
“Africa is now facing a double tragedy of communicable and non-communicable diseases, as it has now been found out that 23% of the disease burden carried in Africa is caused by environmental stressors. The solution to that is for African researchers to embrace Translational Science in order to make meaningful and maximum impact. African researchers must collaborate across disciplines, sharing expertise and resources in order to be able to produce the kinds of research that can shape policy and promote development”.
Environment and Mankind’s Wellbeing
In his Goodwill Message, President of the Nigeria Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), Prof. A.S Olatunji, commended the way that the IMGA-Nigeria Conference has become “a veritable platform for sharing research and exploring the connection between Geology and the human health condition”. He further stressed that “the health of mankind is a product of human interaction with the environment; and the earlier we acknowledge that, the better for all of us”.
Congratulations on Finding the Nexus
The Chairman of the Conference, Distinguished Professor B. Alo congratulated IMGA and MMGS for their promotion of the nexus between the environment and human health.
“I congratulate IMGA and MMGS for bringing to the fore the nexus between human health and the environment. The way forward is that in global environmental agreements, allowances must be made for health data. Health data should inform national environmental plans and actions”, he said.
A Well-Attended Event
With the theme: Discerning the Unknown: Establish the link between Health and the Environment, the 6th IMGA-Nigeria Conference was well-attended by professionals and students from across the country.
Head of the Department of Geoscience, UNILAG, Professor Mary Odukoya, is the Chair of International Medical Geologists Association, Nigeria Chapter. IMGA-Nigeria is host of the three-day conference which is scheduled to end on Thursday, August 24, 2023.