…Receives Sierra Leonean Ambassador to Nigeria…
The Africa Centre of Excellence in Reproductive Health and Innovation (CERHI) recently welcomed the Sierra Leonean Ambassador to Nigeria, Major-General Nelson Williams (rtd), who visited the Centre to explore possible collaborations between the governments of Sierra Leone and Nigeria, in the fields of education and reproductive health.
Welcoming the Ambassador, the Centre Leader, Professor Friday Okonofua, expressed delight at the prospects of a partnership between both governments. He gave a brief history of the University of Benin as well as a presentation of the goals of CERHI. The Centre Leader lamented the poor reproductive health indicators in the West-African sub-region, in comparison with industrialised nations.
Speaking about CERHI’s efforts at improving the region’s reproductive health indices, as well as programmes offered by the Centre, Professor Okonofua informed the Ambassador that CERHI had national, regional and international partners. He appealed for a greater collaboration between the Sierra Leonean government and CERHI, in the areas of training and research. He assured the Ambassador that scholarships would be given to a specific number of Sierra Leonean citizens who applied to the Centre. He also expressed optimism for a possible staff and student exchange between both countries.
In his remarks, the Ambassador expressed appreciation for Nigeria’s role in the stabilisation of Sierra Leone, during its period of civil unrest. He stressed the importance of education and reproductive health in the development of any society and thanked CERHI and the Nigerian government for the proposed collaboration with his country.
A highpoint of the visit was a courtesy call on the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Faraday Orumwense, during which the Ambassador expressed gratitude at the University’s hospitality, citing cultural similarities between his country and Nigeria. Present during the courtesy call were the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), University Registrar and Librarian, while the visit to the Centre was attended by the members of the Project Management Committee (PMC).
…Visits School of Public Health, Ghana…
As part of efforts geared towards ensuring that the Disbursement-Linked Indicators (DLIs) of the Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) project are met, the Africa Centre of Excellence in Reproductive Health and Innovation (CERHI), at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), has embarked on a drive to strengthen partnerships with relevant stakeholders in reproductive health. One of such partners is the School of Public Health, University of Ghana, which the Management of CERHI visited, recently, for a reaffirmation of the collaboration between both institutions.
Giving a brief history of CERHI, Centre Leader, Professor Friday Okonofua, recalled the grant won by the University of Benin to establish the Centre. He stated that CERHI was established as a possible solution to addressing the poor reproductive health indices in the West African sub-region, adding that the main goal of CERHI is to build capacity in research and training in four key areas: fertility, unsafe abortion, maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS, in line with its mission and vision.
Professor Okonofua however noted, with dismay, that CERHI was not optimising its resources in the area of regional partnerships, thus limiting its reach and impact within the West African sub-region and beyond. This, he said, necessitated talks with CERHI partners, to improve commitment on the part of all stakeholders as well as expedite action, to ensure the achievement of Project goals.
In his remarks, the Dean, School of Public Health, Professor Richard Adanu, commended Professor Okonofua for his passion for the improvement of the reproductive health indices in the West African sub-region. He pledged the College’s commitment to hosting short courses, in the near future, which budget and proposal would be submitted to CERHI within a week of the meeting. He gave the assurance that the School of Public Health would solicit for Ghanaian students to enroll for Master’s and PhD programmes in CERHI, as a means of fostering collaborations between both countries.
…Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
Yet another partner visited by the CERHI Management was Co-Nigerian ACE in Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biotechnology (ACENTDFB), at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where the team was received by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ibrahim Garba, represented by the DVC (Academic), Professor Ezra Bako Anans.
Welcoming the CERHI delegation, led by the Co-Centre Leader, Profesor Obehi H. Okojie, the Vice-Chancellor commended the team for the progress so far recorded by the Centre. He acknowledged the importance of the project, especially in northern Nigeria, to help to reduce the high indices of maternal mortality. He reaffirmed his University’s commitment to the Project and charged the Centre’s faculty to work hard to ensure its success.
The Co-Centre Leader explained that the main objective of CERHI was to build capacity in research and training, in four key areas, namely, fertility, unsafe abortion, maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS.
Presenting an updated Implementation Plan for the Project, Professor Okojie noted the need for a Liaison Office in ABU and urged the Vice-Chancellor to provide a space for same. She observed that the Memorandum of Understanding signed by both ABU and UNIBEN had expired and pledged that a new version would be sent to the University.
Also in attendance at the meeting were the representative of the Director, Academic Planning and Management, Professor T. Ause and the CERHI Programme Coordinator, Dr. Peter Sede.
During the meeting, the Centre Leader remarked that CERHI had achieved remarkable feats through its partnership with local, regional and international institutions. He acknowledged the support of partners in facilitating internships for students and emphasised the need to improve collaboration for research and training, particularly among partner institutions within Nigeria. Professor Okojie reiterated CERHI’s interest in improving research output of students and staff.