A Professor of Parasitology and Entomology at the Federal University Lokoja, Jacqueline Badaki, has urged researchers to market their research findings towards boosting the fight on control of Tropical Diseases ravaging lives across Africa.
She gave the charge in her inaugural lecture, titled, ‘The Endless War Between Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and Overlooked Populations, held at the university’s Adankolo Campus in Lokoja.
“It’s not enough for researchers to publish their research works in journals, but they should endeavour to go the extra mile to market their research products through digital marketing.
“Interested researchers in infectious diseases can explore World Health Organisation Training Grants and stop overload Tertiary Education Trust Fund,” she advised.
Prof. Badaki said that as of 2020, WHO raised an alarm that 863 million people were at risk of Lymphatic Filariasis with 25 million men living with Hydrocoele and over 15 million people with Lymphoedema.
She disclosed that Nigeria has been the highest contributor to these estimates, adding, “yet, NTDs receive only 0.6 per cent health fund of official development assistance unlike HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis that collectively receive above 50 per cent”.
The professor, however, said that a lot of the diseases could be controlled with improved sanitation and hygiene, urging Nigerians to maintain good and accessible sanitary facilities and safe water supply.
The inaugural lecturer called for the establishment of a Centre for NTDs with a focus on improved disease management in areas of diagnostics, preventive treatments, research and capacity building.
“Government must be sensitive to health condition of the citizens and have the political will towards financing, as well as institutional commitment and enabling working environment,” she added.
Prof. Badaki said in spite of the tremendous success Nigeria has recorded in the elimination of some NTDs, there are threats from parasitic diversity and resilience, especially among the rural populace.
“We should, as a nation, begin conversations and research around what is going on in the world of the parasites so that we are not taken unawares in the future.
“This is because in 2015, WHO recognised 20 NTDs and two years later, the Federal Ministry of Health, recognised nine diseases as NTDs of public health importance in Nigeria.
“These include Trachoma, Burult ulcer, Trypanosomiasis, Dengue Fever, Schistosomiasis, River Blindness, Lymphatic Filariasis (LF), Onchocerciasis and Soil Transmitted Helminthes (worm infections),” she said.
Speaking shortly after the lecture, FUL’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Olayemi Akinwumi,
commended the inaugural lecturer for doing justice to the topic which, he said, has qualified her as a professor of FUL and jokingly declared: “She is discharged and acquitted”.
He also thanked the Governing Council of the university for the opportunity granted the professor to prove her worth as a lecturer in the institution.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Badaki, an Adamawa born professor of Parasitology and Entomology, has 22 years of community interactive research experience and had served on several WHO/APOC missions in different capacities such as technical adviser, independent monitor and Program Evaluator, Consultant Evaluator and Scientist for several NTDs in different countries.