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UK firm boosts local disease research

24 February 2014, 09:45

Abuja - Atrazeneca, the United Kingdom based pharmaceutical company, says it is investing about $300 000 in disease research in Nigeria.

The company said that the fund would be spread over the next three years with $100 000 yearly grant for a variety of disease research projects in the country.

It also said that the fund would help to build medical capacity in the country, providing support to both experienced medical academics as well as medical academics embarking on a career in research.

Karl Friberg, AstraZeneca’s country president for South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, said his company's intention was to fund 5-7 projects each year.

Friberg noted that the prevalence/epidemiological, pharmaco-economic and health outcomes data are vital if the disease burden in Africa must be understood.

He said that the fund would make possible the studies needed to provide such data.

“The focus in Africa on infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria is now broadening to include cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases for example hypertension and asthma. We know these conditions are increasing rapidly in Africa, but we’re unable to quantify the extent of the problem.

"We need local data to know what we are dealing with – so that we can partner with governments to address matters earlier in the disease process and avoid the higher downstream costs that come with treating advanced disease states,” he said.

Friberg added that the AstraZeneca Nigeria Research Grant was a reflection of the company’s commitment to the country and to Africa as a whole.

“When all is said and done, it is about making a difference to the patients themselves. I have great hopes and expectations that this initiative will produce many high-quality research projects that will provide crucial insights into Nigeria’s disease profile,” he said.

He said that once the right disease information was available, AstraZeneca would continue to work together with the Nigerian government to tackle the ailments.

– CAJ News


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