A "Giant" ignored….


by guest – Iruka N Okeke

On the 2nd of July, the UK Wellcome Trust announced a new and exciting program, which has the objective of developing biomedical science at African Institutions. Unlike many programs with this objective, the Wellcome Trust’s African Institutions Initiative. is focused on supporting Africa-led consortia, giving African clinical and biomedical scientists the opportunity to drive their academic development.

The maiden list of projects is impressive and offers considerable potential:

By now…I am sure you have got my point. Perhaps you noticed it too…not one of these projects is based in our self-styled ‘giant of Africa’, in the country that houses the most medical schools, trains the greatest number of health care professionals, and serves among the greatest number of patients – Nigeria.

Nigeria will of course be a major player and participant. For example the CARTA program, based in Kenya, includes 8 African universities and 3 research institutes and (thankfully), one of these is our own University of Ibadan. UI is of course one of Africa’s earliest and foremost medical schools and four decades ago was a renowned world center for virology and primary health care research. It however becomes difficult to deny that for health research tomorrow, rather than leading, we are following.

Read more about the initiative at SciDev.net


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

Chikwe Ihekweazu is an epidemiologist and consultant public health physician. He is the Editor of Nigeria Health Watch, and the Managing Partner of EpiAfric (www.epiafric.com), which provides expertise in public health research and advisory services, health communication and professional development. He previously held leadership roles at the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the UK's Health Protection Agency. Chikwe has undertaken several short term consultancies for the World Health Organisation, mainly in response to major outbreaks. He is a TED Fellow and co-curator of TEDxEuston.

Discussion2 Comments

  1. Really true! We have been left behind in many spheres. Was at a conference last year and all the grants and programmes were based in Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, South Africa, None was in Nigeria though we had the largest contingent of participants:)

  2. The simple fact is that the rest of the world is ignoring us and making fool of us via our politicians who move around the world disgracing themselves while thinking they are important.

    The only reason any country in the world still think about Nigeria is the oil.

    This is a country that has refused to move on with the rest of the world. It is not hard to notice and it is a shame unfortunately.

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