The Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) has recorded another first by successfully completing a study that shows the drug resistance pattern among Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) patients on the National treatment programme.
Director General of NIMR, Prof. Innocent Ujah, in an address on the occasion of the meeting of stakeholders on the analysis of data from the research study on Anti Retro Viral (ARV) drug resistant strains, said the findings from the study will hopefully, have major evidence-based clinical and policy implications for the national HIV/AIDS response both within Nigeria and globally, in addition to contributing to scientific knowledge.
The consultant gynaecologist said: “I wish to welcome our guests to this very important meeting in the New Year. We are glad our colleagues from United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Atlanta and CDC, Nigeria were able to participate in the meeting.
“Today marks yet another effort to further advance knowledge through scientific research on a major public health challenge in the Nigeria and globally – HIV/AIDS and the emergency of antiretroviral drug resistance strains.
“NIMR is an important Institution in the prevention, treatment and control of HIV/AIDS in the Nigeria and being the apex Research Institute in the Country, it has been at the fore front of combating the challenges posed by HIV epidemic through research, training and service
“It is perhaps, appropriate to put on record the leading role the Institute has played and continued to play in the Nigerian’s response to HIV/AIDS epidemic.
“The first case of HIV in the country was identified by the research team in the institute in 1986.
“Researchers led by the Principal Investigator (PI) of the current study, Prof Oni Idigbe conducted the first land mark clinical study in the country that showed that generic ARV drugs are as effective and tolerable as the very expensive branded drug.
“The Institute developed the first training modules for HIV/AIDS in the country and trained hundreds of health workers to support the national programme.
“Today, we are recording another first by successfully completing a study in collaboration with our colleagues from Health Institutions in Nigeria and indeed our partners that will show the drug resistance pattern among HIV patients on the Nigerian National HIV treatment programme. The findings from the study will hopefully, have major evidence-based clinical and policy implications for the national HIV/AIDS response both within Nigeria and globally, in addition to contributing to scientific knowledge.
“Furthermore, the Institute is showing today that human resource capacity exists in the country and all what our researchers and scientists require to perform at the highest level is the provision of state- of the- art equipment and enabling environment to excel. The knowledge, the experience, the commitment and determination abound in Nigeria and can be successfully tapped and refined for maximum output.”
Ujah thanked the people and government of United States of America represented by both CDC Nigeria and Atlanta team for funding the study. He said: “We are appreciative for the sustained collaboration with Harvard and AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria (APIN) and thank them for their continued support and partnership over the years. We must not forget our partners and collaborators of several years at Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), Jos and University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
“We cherish and appreciate their friendship and collaboration. We appreciate the intimate working relation between our Institution and our parent Ministry, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH). We have had tremendous support from their staff. We thank National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) for coming.”
Ujah said as part of NIMR’s mandate, he wants to assure Nigerian’s that the Institute shall continue to conduct cutting-edge research and dissemination their findings in form of policy brief to government and scientific publication as the contribution to global knowledge.
“We believe that our recommendations will contribute to evidence-based policy formulation and implementation by FMoH,” he said.