– Partners Access Bank, Dangote Foundation to raise N5 billion
To facilitate collaborative research that will curb diseases such as HIV, TB, malaria, cancer and other non-communicable diseases, the Institute of Human Virology (IHVN) is poised to raise five billion naira to build a state-of-the-art International Research Centre for Excellence(IRCE) in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
Speaking with journalists about the project during a media parley held in Victoria Island, Lagos, recently, Dr Patrick Dakum, chief executive officer of IRVN said the research centre will host an ultra-modern laboratory to cater for research into all kinds of diseases, as done in developed countries.
The IRCE, Dr Dakum stated, will be a centre of excellence in prevention, treatment, care and research into infectious and non-infectious diseases, adding that the centre is planned as a combination of laboratories, offices, training and lecture auditoriums on a 2.5 hectares of land that IRVN has acquired and fenced along Airport Road in the Federal Capital Territory.
The IRVN boss disclosed that the institute was partnering with Access Bank and Dangote Foundation to raise the N5 billion required to build the centre which will be under the leadership of Professor Alash’le G. Abimiku, a distinguished scientist.
Also speaking on the project, Alhaji (Dr) Umaru Mutallab, chairman, IHVN Adhoc Committee for the building of the centre said that with the establishment of IRCE, scientists in Nigeria will be provided a world-class infrastructure and nurtured to collaboratively conduct research on diseases of relevance to the local community such as HIV, TB, malaria, cancer, non-communicable diseases and emerging infectious diseases.
He flayed the current dependence on international donor organisations for efforts to eradicate many communicable and non-communicable diseases in Nigeria.
In his words: “We cannot continually depend, lock-stock-and-barrel, on the big-heartedness of the international community for all our health needs and those of our children; neither should we travel outside the shores of this great nation when we can build sustainable capacities for collaborative researches into the diseases that affect our wellbeing and of the whole world.”
Also speaking at the media parley, Mr Victor Etuokwu, executive director, Access Bank, while pledging the bank’s support for the project, said that the ultra-modern research centre will go a long way in helping to tame diseases in Nigeria.
Etuokwu, while noting that Access Bank has always been a force for good in the environment, said that the true essence of life is relationship with others, adding that Access Bank is involved in the IRCE because it believes it is a worthy cause that will benefit the people.
Also speaking on the project, Ms Zouera Youssoufou, managing director/CEO, Dangote Foundation, said the Foundation was partnering with IHVN on the project because it is in line with its strategic objectives.
She noted that the other components of the Foundation’s objectives – education and socio-economic development – are also dependent on good health care; hence the decision of the Foundation to support the laudable project which, she stressed, will provide opportunities for health promotion and disease prevention.