TETFund: 6 varsities to host COVID-19, other viral research centres

Six colleges of medicine across Nigeria would be hosting Medical Simulation, Research and Training Facilities, a statement from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) said.

The establishment of the facilities is said to have got the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement on Sunday, in Abuja, TETFund’s Director of Public Affairs, Ngoba Briggs, said the facilities would aid the setting up of Molecular Science Laboratories with capacity for testing and diagnosing COVID-19, Lassa fever, and other related viral diseases.

Mrs Briggs said the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had directed the TETFund Executive Secretary, Professor Suleiman Bogoro, to select a university in each of the six geo-political zones, where the projects would be executed.

Her statement did not name any university selected neither did it reveal the value of funding allocated for this research intervention.

She said that TETFund had been mandated to establish 12 Medical Centers of Excellence to be hosted by first, second and third generation universities.

She added that Mr Adamu had emphasised that, besides ongoing research work in response to COVID-19 and similar diseases through the TETFund National Research Fund (NRF), the Research Community of the ministry should undertake any other sundry contributions.

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This was to support of the commendable efforts of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) in responding to the threat of COVID-19 in Nigeria, she added.

Mrs Briggs said the centres of excellence, according to the directive, should be distributed in such a way that two must be sited in each geo-political zone.

In a similar statement, Buhari Mikailu, Director, Physical Infrastructure Development, Tetfund, said additional centers of excellence would be sited in state universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education in “subsequent years”.

Mr Mikailu said areas of focus of the centers of excellence, in line with contemporary practice and technologies, were mainly in science-based disciplines.

He said the approval was initiated through the recommendation of the fund’s Board of Trustees, BoT, and endorsement of Mr Adamu.

He said the purpose was to signify a major paradigm shift in research and excellence in the universities.

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