Why AstraZeneca is funding local medical research – Abonu



L-R: Country Manager, AstraZeneca Nigeria, Jude Abonu; Chair, Scientific Review Committee, AstraZeneca Research Trust, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola; Chief Medical Director, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Prof. David Oke; Business Unit Lead: Oncology SA & SSA, Willem Prinsloo and Grant Recipient of  N5, 000, 000, Dr. Sylvester Nwokediuko at the event.

The quest to improve the health status of Nigerians and other Africans as well as halt the increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases, particularly cardiovascular/metabolic, respiratory and oncology conditions, prompted the decision of AstraZeneca to launch a not-for-profit Trust Fund to support local academic medical research, Pharm. Jude Abonu, country manager, Nigeria, AstraZeneca, has said.

Pharm. Abonu disclosed this while speaking at an event held in Ikeja last December to celebrate the initiative through which AstraZeneca disbursed funds to support local medical research in Nigeria.

He noted that while inaccessibility of health care, as well as chronic deficiencies in the health  care system, were contributing to the poor health status of Nigerians and other Africans, insufficient research was aggravating it.

He disclosed that AstraZeneca made an initial commitment of three years to distribute $350,000 annually to the qualifying researchers in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, adding that the study selection and grant apportionment was administered by an independent Scientific Review Committee (SRC) consisting of highly respected academics from various local institutions.

The AstraZeneca Research Trust, he said, had made a positive impact in stimulating local research after two years in operation which had resulted in 46 studies being funded – 27 of which were non-communicable disease studies, while 19 were on communicable diseases.

He noted that the hope of AstraZeneca was that the grant would help to meet the huge area of unmet need and ensure the re-prioritisation of health care initiatives. He also disclosed that the Research Trust was awarding four additional funds for interventional and non-interventional studies in Nigeria which would help to generate significant data currently not available in Africa.