A Professor of Pharmaceutical Science, Peace Chinedum Babalola, says Nigeria requires about $2 billion to detect, diagnose and develop drugs to fight Coronavirus, Ebola, Lassa fever and other epidemics in the country.
Babalola, who is the Vice-Chancellor of Chrisland University, Abeokuta, Ogun state, spoke while addressing newsmen on Wednesday, said Nigeria must not wait until the outbreak of an epidemic but ready and be alerted to battle the health challenges.
The Vice-Chancellor, who just won the African Union (AU) Kwame Nkrumah Awards for Scientific Excellence at the recently concluded 33rd AU Summit in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, called on the federal government to increase funding for the health sector.
The Pharmacist stressed the need for the provision of adequate funding of research centres and scientists in the development of new drugs to tackle diseases in the country, lamenting that Nigeria had become a dumping ground for all sorts of foreign developed medicines.
Prof. Babalola, who commended the federal government for taking preventive measures at the various ports of entry to ensure that Coronavirus does not enter the country, added, “We should show more commitment and we should spend more.”
“It will cost about $2 billion (dollars) to develop one medicine to fight a disease; so Nigeria needs to think seriously about funding researches on the development of new drugs. For scientists to discover drugs and vaccines is not an easy task. To produce one medicine, it can take us 10 to 15 years.
“And if the federal government has promised N36million for the discovery of drug or vaccine for Coronavirus treatment; for me, that may just help in doing the checks and balances or they (federal government) can inject that into a laboratory to help us to detect and diagnose a disease.
“Even when you are detecting and diagnosing a disease, one of the equipments you need may cost N36million. But let us appreciate them (federal government) for starting with something.”