October 3, 2023

The Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria, Dr Patrick Dakum has said that the institute is planning to create a modern platform that will help enhance health research.

The platform, the virologist said, will help improve capacity building and research at internationally recognised standards for Nigeria and Africa. Dr Dakum stated this on Friday at a press briefing to announce the commissioning of the IHVN Campus coming up on Tuesday, June 6, 2023.

He said that the campus will support the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 3, which emphasises having healthy communities.

“We have found through evidence-based research and implementation programmes that only countries, especially in resource-constrained ones such as Nigeria, can combat diseases if it has multidisciplinary resources, institutions, and facilities dedicated to providing excellent healthcare delivery services. The conception, building, and commissioning of the IHVN Campus remain a bold step to providing a state-of-the-art platform for building capacity, implementation, and research at standards that are globally recognised for Nigeria, and Africa.

“For over 19 years since our establishment as a non-profit and non-governmental organisation, we have addressed the HIV/AIDS crisis in Nigeria by developing infrastructure for treatment, care, prevention, and support for people living with and affected with HIV/AIDS. We have, over time, expanded our services to cover other communicable and non-communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, cancer, COVID-19, and other emerging diseases.”
The public health expert said the institute has provided support to improve the quality of life for People Living with HIV through treatment, care, and support.

“The cumulative achievements of IHVN in HIV/AIDS programmes include counselling and testing over 15 million individuals for HIV and over 3.7 million pregnant women who have been tested and received results for HIV. Over half a million people have been initiated on anti-retroviral therapy, and over 20,000 children have been initiated on ART. IHVN has also provided TB treatment to more than 49,000 clients. From 2019 to 2022, IHVN has engaged 24,445 private healthcare providers, including 497 faith-based organisations, 2,743 private-for-profit organisations, 203 private laboratories, 14,196 community pharmacies, and patent medicine dealerships to provide TB services.

“IHVN’s key technical and funding partners include the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, and the United States Agency for International Development,” he said.

Also speaking, the Executive Director of the International Research Centre of Excellence of the IHVN, Prof Alash’le Abimiku stated that the research activities done by the centre are targeted at addressing challenges relevant to the people.

“The research that we do is not in a vacuum. It is to address some of the challenges that have been seen by the centres that provide services. We have done a lot of work on HIV, TB, emerging diseases, and NCDs but those are the focus of IHVN. Our research is highly targeted because we have to be relevant to the local challenges within the country.

“It is not unusual that a lot of research activities are focused largely on HIV, TB, malaria, NCDs, and emerging diseases, but it is also important to point out that the research we do must inform better management of these diseases.

“What we have on the research is what we call our clinical trial unit as well. So, if anything is being introduced into our population that we really don’t know how it works, whether it is HIV vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines, or drugs, we can conduct clinical trials that specifically say in our population, this is how it works, these are the adverse effects and this is what we have observed so that that information goes back to the policymakers and the government,” Abimiku said.

The PUNCH reports that IHVN established the IRCE in 2015 to promote public and private partnerships for quality health services, capacity building, and research in West Africa.

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