Specialists in medicine have called for more funding for research and development to advance medicine in Nigeria. According to an embryologist Prof Oladapo Ashiru, more awareness and support for medical education are required to move the country’s healthcare forward.

Ashiru spoke at the 14th Annual Scientific Conference of the Society of Experimental and Clinical Anatomists of Nigeria (SECAN), Lagos. It had as theme: Current trends in biomedical research; the sub-theme was: the anatomist: catalyst for medical education.

He said funding research, especially in anatomy will move health care forward because “anatomists serve as a mechanism for promoting medical education.” The reproductive expert said there is need for advances in anatomical teaching and research to take Nigeria to the next level. This, he said, would lead to improved understanding of human system, and as such ensure longevity and better treatment outcome.

Professor of Anatomy at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Abayomi Okanlawon said the Federal Government needs to provide more funding for research. He said the discovery of new medicine and therapies require careful scientific experimentation, development and evaluation.

Okanlawon said research is a prerequisite for medical advances, adding: “It ensures that health services support improved delivery, access and cost.” He called for public-private partnership (PPP) to promote biomedical research and as such ensure medical education. The anatomist advised the government to set up research centres across the country to develop the healthcare industry. “The Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has been promoting responsible and qualitative research to develop medicine,” he said.

The future, he said, is for biomedical research to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems, adding that the knowledge will be applied to enhance human health, lengthen life and prevent illness and disability. SECAN President, Prof Hakeem Fawehinmi said anatomy as a discipline has faced a crisis of identity and purpose, adding that this has raised educational concerns.

He said the approach to teaching of anatomy and medicine as a whole is shifting from its traditional methods to self-directed problem based or the integrated system oriented learning. “It is, therefore, taking advantage of E-teaching and learning,” Fawehinmi added.

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