A new model for disease research in Africa

A new model for disease research in Africa

Photo source: Nature

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Abuja, and its director-general, Chikwe Ihekweazu, highlights the fresh energy and strategy the country is applying to fight infectious disease.

Locally led studies on public health are good for the continent and the globe. Scientists, politicians and funders should support it.

The NCDC’s approach to research is also assertive and pioneering. The agency is helping to shape the priorities of international scientists who wish to conduct research in Nigeria. This can mean pushing back against flashy academic studies in favour of meeting basic, pressing needs. Sequencing pathogen genomes and trialling diagnostic tests are indisputably important, but not when health-care workers are too overburdened in an outbreak to save lives, never mind carefully process blood and stool samples and ship them to labs.