In its continuous effort to strengthen healthcare infrastructure and research capabilities across Nigeria and the African continent, leading healthcare and pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Nigeria Ltd, has partnered with seasoned researchers and stakeholders in the nation’s healthcare sector to chart ways to improve the practice of research in Africa.

The GSK Pharmaceuticals Nigeria’s forum on research and collaboration in Africa, which held in Abuja recently, had in attendance over 75 renowned researchers, scholars, scientists, healthcare professionals, regulators and Government representatives who presented and shared cutting-edge expertise and research experiences that will positively impact and improve the nation’s healthcare sector.

The Managing Director, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Nigeria Ltd, Bhushan Akshikar, while explaining the importance of the event, said that the forum provided an important opportunity to engage esteemed and seasoned researchers in Africa. He added that the engagement will help to chart a course for improved healthcare provision and posterity in the area of research and innovation.

“Our mission at GSK is to improve the quality of human lives by enabling people do more, feel better and live longer. We can only continue to achieve this by ensuring that everything we do is based on science. This is underpinned by our over billions of pounds’ investment in Research and Development as well as our partnership with 1,500 scientific and academic organisations and other companies,” he said.

The forum also paraded winners of the GSK’s Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Research Grant who shared both their experiences and expertise and also discussed future researches. Commending GSK for its immense commitment to improving the practice of research in Africa, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, applauded the initiative describing it as laudable, “I am very pleased to be here at the GSK forum on research and collaboration in Africa and would like to offer my support to the continuing work of GSK in Nigeria. Africa is learning to cope with new medical diseases as well as major infections e.g. Malaria and HIV where GSK is recognized as a world leader.

Arkwright also assured the Nigerian researchers of the support of the British High Commission “The United Kingdom has long been a supporter of investment in health in many countries overseas and will continue to be. I am greatly encouraged by events such as these for encouraging development of research in the medical field.

Two recipients of GSK Non- Communicable Disease Research Grant, Dr. Dike Ojji and Dr. Dennis Shatima presented their studies and shared their experiences with other researchers. While Dr. Ojji presented The CREOLE study which is the Comparison of three combination therapies in lowering blood pressure in black Africans, Dr. Shatima who is a member of the team researching “Pneumonia Hospitalizations and Mortality in Children 3 months to 2 Years Old in Nigeria 2014 to 2019: Impact of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Ten Valent (PHiD-CV-10)” presented the work done far on behalf of the lead Principal Investigators – Professor Falade and Professor W.N Ogala.

The two researchers and winners of the research grant provided detailed and reasonable answers and clarifications to the numerous questions asked by the other researchers and delegates present at the event.

The event was chaired by the Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja, Professor Michael Adikwu who commended GSK for its continued focus on local research in Africa. The Honorable Minister of Science and Technology who was represented at the event by the Director General of the Raw Material Research and Development Council, Dr. Hussaini Doko Ibrahim also buttressed the need for more local research especially in the areas of raw materials for drugs manufacture.

Dr. Sally Gatsi, GSK’s Clinical Research Director who addressed researchers at the forum explained that the forum was borne out of GSK’s commitment to encourage innovation by sharing expertise resources, intellectual property and know-how with external researchers and the scientific community.

The GSK Non- Communicable Disease Research Grant, sponsors high quality research proposals from African scientists based in research institutions or universities with scope covering Cardiovascular, Oncology, Chronic respiratory diseases, CKD and Diabetes. The Research focus include, Mechanisms, Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, Aetiology, Prevention & treatment together with associated complications.