As the pandemic continues to evolve across Africa, and the mortality rate is rising, most African countries have set up measures to respond to this rampaging and highly virulent disease. However, these efforts are not without challenges.
Despite the outlined actions of the Federal and State governments in the fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic, the fragility of healthcare infrastructure across all spectrum throughout the federation as a result of decades of underfunding by all tiers of government in the country has remained an Achilles heel.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security publication reported African continent is least prepared to respond to health emergencies, treat the sick and protect health care workers. The weak healthcare system and high prevalence of malnutrition, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis are further challenges.
Additionally, African countries are experiencing a double burden of diseases. Thus, even though the continent has relatively lower cases, efforts need to be augmented to ensure that spread is placed under control.
This, in essence, calls for the deployment of a unique approach as part of ensuring a proactive response. In Nigeria, the Center for Disease Control(NCDC) has demonstrated a great grasp and control of the situation through early isolation, effective knowledge sharing, contact tracing, good reporting and surveillance system, parallel testing, collaborations and cooperation within and outside the continent, sustained community engagement and diseases prevention and control measures, including physical distancing and proper hand and respiratory hygiene.
In response to this call, Nigerian academic, entrepreneur and inventor, Professor Gregory Ibe, has endowed $1 million for the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Ibe will also help facilitate the research via his Abia-based Gregory University Uturu, which announced the move in a statement on January 19.
According to Rosemary Igboekwe, Registrar of Gregory University Uturu, the endowment fund, which will be available to Scientists and Researchers within the bounds of southern Nigeria as grants, will be channelled through Gregory Iyke Foundation, the philanthropic organ of Prof Gregory Ibe.
The move will put Nigeria, which has been heavily reliant on foreign scientific aid, high on the ladder of COVID-19 research globally.
A letter addressed to Vice Chancellors of federal,state and private universities in southern Nigeria signed by the Registrar therefore requests, “Interested Research Scientists to submit their proposals to the secretary of the COVID-19 Research Fund Committee, Dr Prince Nkemakolam Okoroh of the Department of Biochemistry, Gregory University Uturu, on or before February 28, 2021.”
The statement adds that, Gregory University Uturu has all the required instruments and equipment that will aid smooth conduct of the research exercise.
Applicants can submit proposals via the following emails:
They can also reach out through the following phone numbers:
This is not the first time Ibeh, who is also the Chancellor of Gregory University Uturu and chairman of Association of Owners of Private Universities, will be joining the fight against COVID-19. Previously, he donated 850 bags of(50kg) rice to the Abia State government food bank for distribution to the needy in the 17 LGAs of the state during the period of lockdown. He also released over 10,000 cartons of noodles to the 17 local government areas and groups in the state, while also providing two ambulances to assist the state’s inter-ministerial committee on COVID-19 to convey blood samples to Abakaliki for testing.
All the donations were channelled through Gregory Iyke Foundation