As part of the continued search for long-standing solutions to the malaria scourge and in commemoration of the World Malaria Day (WMD), the winners of the 2017 edition of The Nigeria Prize for Science today in Lagos presented their winning work on Malaria to members of the medical and pharmaceutical wing of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
The forum was part of initiatives by the Nigeria LNG Limited, sponsors of the prize, and the LCCI to bridge the divide between scientific research, patents and production to bring value of winning scientific works to the benefit of Nigerians.
Joint science prize winners, namely Ikeoluwapo Ajayi, Ayodele Jegede, Bidemi Yusuf, Olugbenga Mokuolu and Chukwuma Agubata, engaged the medical and pharmaceutical representatives in robust discussions on eradicating malaria through innovations.
In his remarks, designate Manager, Communications and Public Affairs at NLNG, Andy Odeh, stated that NLNG was committed to helping find solutions to malaria, in line with its vision to help build a better Nigeria.
He said “For two years, we persistently featured Malaria as the theme for The Nigeria Prize for Science titled “Innovations on Malaria Control”. There was no winner in 2016 but we were relentless in trying to contribute to the body of knowledge of scientific works that will, one day, eradicate Malaria globally. Nigeria has taken ownership of finding this solution through the prize and we hope the search doesn’t end with the science prize. Malaria has remained one of the deadliest diseases in the country and Nigeria still records unacceptably high number of casualties; hence, the need to translate research to actual benefits.”
The President of LCCI, Mr. Babatunde Paul Ruwase, who was ably represented by his deputy, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, said the partnership between NLNG and LCCI was the bridge the gulf between research and reality. He remarked that one of the banes of scientific endeavours in the country was that scientists end up being unsung heroes, without any real benefit to the society. He expressed hope that the presentation of scientific works to LCCI members will sustained to bridge the gap.
The joint science prize winners were in 2017 awarded a prize cash prize of $100,000, split evenly.
The joint winning entries for the science prize were “Improving Home and Community Management of Malaria: Providing the Evidence Base” by Ikeoluwapo Ajayi, Ayodele Jegede & Bidemi Yusuf; “Multifaceted Efforts at Malaria Control in Research: Management of Malaria of Various Grades and Mapping Artemisinin Resistance” by Olugbenga Mokuolu; and “Novel lipid microparticles for effective delivery of Artemether antimalarial drug using a locally-sourced Irvingia fat from nuts of Irvingia gabonensis var excelsa (ogbono)” by Chukwuma Agubata.
The Advisory Board of the Nigeria Prize for Science is chaired by Professor Alfred Susu, himself a distinguished past winner of the prize and includes other distinguished Nigerians, namely Professor Michael Adikwu, another past winner of the science prize; Professor Elijah Mshelia, a nuclear physicist; Professor Barth Nnaji, renowned scientist and former Minister of Power; and Chief Dr. Nike Akande, former President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Nigeria Prize for Science has also been awarded to science laureates such as Professor Akii Ibhadode (2010); the late Professor Andrew Nok (2009); Dr. Ebenezer Meshida (2008); Professor Michael Adikwu (2006); and joint winners Professor Akpoveta Susu and his then doctoral student, Kingsley Abhulimen (2004).
The Nigeria Prize for Science was established in 2004 by Nigeria LNG as part of its broader corporate social responsibility initiatives targeted at helping to build a better Nigeria, and comes with a cash prize $100,000.