Professor Georgina Odaibo who stated this in her inaugural lecture titled “The Same Enemy, Different Consequences” at the University of Ibadan.
Odaibo, Head, Department of Virology, University of Ibadan, quoted a new study that retested blood samples passed as good for transfusion using a rapid test device that when analysed using the PCR machine found some were infected with HIV.
“We must make sure that blood that is to be transfused is safe. So, there is a need for us to make sure that we have ELISA-based testing for all blood that will be transfused and that trained manpower is available in various hospitals.
“In developed countries, they use PCR which is a more sensitive technique to pick HIV even if it is present in the very minute quantity. That is the level we should move to in Nigeria if we really want to control the level of HIV in this country.”
Professor Odaibo said although the majority of the epidemic prone viruses have been effectively controlled in the developed world, the same viruses remain serious health problems in developing countries.
The don stated that this challenge is compounded by additional factors of low investment in research funding and management, poor governance, weak health care infrastructure, lack of commitment and discipline that is required for surveillance and disease control.
Professor Odaibo stated that “With viruses accounting for over 70 per cent of infectious diseases and epidemics in Nigeria and other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, the need for strengthening of training, research and surveillance in virology in Nigeria is very urgent.
“The vaccination coverage is unacceptably very low in many parts of Nigeria. It requires research to understand the reasons, and use of results to understand the reasons and use the results to plan appropriate intervention programmes.”