The decision of the Vice chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University to create an independent Grants Development and management Office has started yielding fruits. The Grant office coordinated by Dr Obinna Ekwunife has assisted 5 academics including himself to obtain international and reputable grants. TETFund grants impacted by the office are not included in this list. The Vice Chancellor implores all staff of the University involved in various types of research to take advantage of the various resources available through the Grant office, including the grant opportunities frequently disseminated by the office, to enable them obtain necessary funding for their academic research. This he said will enhance their visibility and that of the university in the international stage. See below for the list and short descriptions of the grants.
RSTMH Small Grant 2020 awarded to Mrs Ifeoma B. Umeh
Mrs Ifeoma Blessing Umeh of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Management, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka Anambra state was awarded RSTMH Small Grant 2020 in August 2020 by the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene(RSTMH) the UK. The grant which is worth 4,980 GBP is to enable her to conduct an aspect of her PhD study titled ‘Cost-benefit analysis of a Community-based Prostate cancer screening in Anambra State’. The major aim of the project is to generate evidence for the demand and assess the economic viability of the introducing an annual community–based prostate cancer screening in the state as a blueprint for other states in Nigeria. The ultimate aim is to enhance early detection of the disease and better treatment outcomes. She is supervised by Dr Obinna I. Ekwunife.
The International Foundation for Science (IFS) Research Grant awarded to Dr Chukwuebuka E. Umeyor
Dr Chukwuebuka Emmanuel Umeyor is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. In July 2020, he was awarded the International Foundation for Science (IFS) Research Grant for 2019 worth $9,000. The grant was awarded for a research work titled – Development and quality evaluations of nanoemulsions of Moringa oleifera seed extracts for water purification. The grant is funded by International Foundation Science (IFS), Stockholm, Sweden. The study will be carried out in collaboration with Dr Uche Eunice Ekpunobi, a Reader in the Department of Pure and Industrial Chemistry, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. IFS funds basic research in the three thematic areas: Biological Resources in Terrestrial Systems, Water and Aquatic Resources, and Food Security, Dietary Diversity and Healthy Livelihoods, up to $15,000. IFS Research Grant is committed to funding individual early career researchers (either enrolled in a PhD programme or have completed a PhD programme within five years) in both the natural and social sciences to undertake research that is innovative and/or relevant to local or national development needs and problems, and that aims to generate fundamental and/or applicable scientific knowledge. For more information on the next call for the grant, visit www.ifs.se.
WHO TDR grant awarded to Prof Obioma Nwaorgu
In April 2020, World Health Organization (WHO) awarded a grant to Nnamdi Azikiwe University and School of Public Health, University of Ghana (both new generation hubs) to collaborate with Makerere University (a first-generation hub) to disseminate social innovation in health in Africa. Till 31 December 2021, Nnamdi Azikiwe University will (1) conduct University-wide Workshops and crowdsource for innovations to engage leadership and students on the role of social innovation in health, (2) conduct a nationwide call for social innovation solutions, and (3) conduct a national dissemination workshop for the identified innovations in Nigeria. The grant worth is US$140,000. The Principal Investigator for the SIHI Nigeria hub is Prof Obioma Nwaorgu (FAS). Other members include Dr Obinna Ekwunife (Project Manager), Prof Chinyere Stella Okunna, Prof Chinyelu Ekwunife, Dr Ukamaka Onubogu, Dr Oge Aribodor and Mr Kingsley Anigbogu. More details about SIHI Nigeria can be found at https://socialinnovationinhealth.org/nigeria/
EDCTP-AREF Joint Preparatory Fellowship awarded to Dr Peter M. Eze
Dr Peter M. Eze is a lecturer and researcher at the Department of Environmental Health Science, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria. On March 25, 2019, Dr Eze received the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership-African Research Excellence Fund (EDCTP-AREF) Joint Preparatory Fellowship Award [Grant amount: 30,038 GBP; Grant Reference: MRF-157-0034-F-EZE(A)/C0763] through which he enjoyed a 15-month research placement (July 2019 – September 2020) at Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf. As part of his Fellowship, Dr Eze sought to identify and exploit endophytic fungi of Nigerian plants with the ability to produce novel biologically active compounds with antimicrobial and anticancer potentials. During his placement at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology and Biotechnology, Heinrich Heine University (HHU) in Düsseldorf, Germany, Dr Eze worked with Professor Rainer Kalscheuer who provided laboratory space, guidance and research materials. At the end of the placement, Dr Eze’s home institution, through Professor Charles Esimone and Professor Festus Okoye, provided the platform for his re-integration, including the support needed for further experimentation or analyses of results, reporting and publication of findings.
EDCTP Career Development Fellowship awarded to Dr Obinna I. Ekwunife
Dr Obinna Ekwunife, a senior lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Management was awarded EDCTP Career Development Fellowship worth 148,000 Euros in June 2018. For this fellowship, Dr Ekwunife conducted a cluster-randomized trial titled ‘Adolescent Retention and Adherence Trial’ (ARA Trial). The trial aimed to improve the retention in care and adherence to antiretroviral therapy of adolescents living with HIV. The trial evaluated an incentive scheme to improve their retention in care and adherence to antiretroviral therapy. The scheme comprised a cash incentive conditioned on meeting the viral load target in combination with motivational interviewing. Motivational interviewing helped to sustain the demand for care and adherence to therapy aiming for attitude change.
The cluster-randomised, controlled trial was conducted in selected HIV treatment hospitals in Anambra State, Nigeria. Based on sample size calculation, twelve HIV treatment hospitals from Anambra were selected and were randomised to either intervention (six) or control arm (six). The control clinics provide routine HIV care without the intervention. The trial successfully recruited 251 HIV adolescents (126 in the intervention and 125 in the control arm). The 24 months trial was in its twenty-first month as at September 2020. The research protocol was published in an international journal –Trials – and the ARA team has presented two abstracts in international conferences. Preliminary work was presented at the 13th INTEREST conference in Accra, Ghana and the trial protocol was presented at the 9th EDCTP Forum in Lisbon, Portugal.
As part of the grant requirement, a PhD student was trained and a training workshop on the design and implementation of a clinical trial will be held at Nnamdi Azikiwe University at the end of the trial. More details about the trial can be found at https://bit.ly/3mqnzRT.