The Dangote Foundation and Access Bank are collaborating with the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN) to raise N5 billion for the building of a state-of-the-art International Research Centre of Excellence (IRCE) in Abuja, as part of efforts to promote public - private partnership for quality health services, capacity building and research in West Africa.
The centre which was established in 2015 is one of the major fulcrums of the vision of IHVN as a local non-governmental and not-for-profit organisation established to bring quality health services within the reach of millions of Nigerians and nationals of the West African region.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lagos yesterday, Access Bank Executive Director, Mr. Victor Etuokwu said the ultra-modern research facility by IHVN will go a long way in helping to nip diseases in the bud. According to Etuokwu, Access Bank is not just focused on making profit, but is also a responsible corporate organisation.
“The true essence of life is relationship with others. It’s the real reason we are here. When we sit back and watch diseases take over while we do nothing, we stand to lose everything. I think it’s a really worthy cause. So here is a call to you to come, join hands with IHVN and help restore hope. Like we say in our sustainability framework, we are a bank that is not just focused on profit, but also on people and the planet,” Etuokwu said.
On his part, the IHVN’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Patrick Dakum said the IRCE as a Centre of IHVN would be directed under the leadership of Professor Alash’le G. Abimiku, a distinguished scientist herself, IHVN will use the center to create an enabling environment for creative thinking and innovation in science to address Nigeria’s and global health priorities. He described Access Bank as a worthy partner in the project.
“We have a vision as an institute to continue to carry out qualitative research. The institute is expected to provide a platform for the implementation of research and clinical trials of international standards at IHVN as part of global networks; and foster collaborations and synergism between Nigeria’s finest researchers and their counterparts at international research institutions and universities,” he added.
Also, the Chairman of the IHVN Ad-hoc Committee for the building of the Center, Alhaji (Dr.) Umaru Mutallab, said with the establishment of IRCE, the Institute foresees a future in which scientists are nurtured and provided world-class infrastructure to research collaboratively on diseases of relevance to the local community such as HIV, TB, malaria, cancer, non-communicable diseases, and emerging infectious diseases.
He said that the current drive to eradicate communicable and non-communicable diseases in Nigeria is driven by international donor organisations, which is not sustainable. Similarly, Managing Director/CEO of Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, noted that the Foundation was partnering with IHVN as part of its strategic objectives.
Initially established in 2004 to address the HIV/AIDS crisis through development of infrastructure for treatment, care, prevention and support for people living with HIV/AIDS, the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria has had tremendous success in its operations and therefore seeks to continue to fight infectious and non-infectious diseases in Nigeria and the West African sub region through this expansion.