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Why Nigeria should tap into $24.8trn clinical trial market, by Ifeoma Okoye


Prof. Ifeoma Okoye

A cancer expert and radiologist at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu, Prof. Ifeoma Okoye, has given reasons why Nigeria should urgently tap into the $68.9 billion (N24.8 trillion) clinical trial market.

Okoye, who is also the pioneer director of the University of Nigeria Centre for Clinical Trials (UNNCECT), told The Guardian: “It has long been said that the Nigerian economy needs to be drastically diversified. One of such ways has been identified under me as improving Nigeria’s clinical trial attractiveness index.

“According to the Grand view Research Inc., the clinical trial market size is expected to reach a market cap of $68,900,000,000 (N24.8 trillion) by 2026! How do we tap into this huge market potential?”


Okoye said that the key drivers of this includes an increasing prevalence of diseases and the continued emergence of new diseases due to complex multi-factorial genetic and environmental evolution.

She said with an estimated 11 per cent of global population and 24 per cent of the global disease burden in sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria being the largest economy and country in sub-Saharan Africa is exceptional poised to be a giant in conducting clinical trials for her population and Africa by extension to improve drug development and access by her populace with an end aim too improve quality of life and economy on the African continent.

Okoye said the vision has been seeded at the UNNCECT, under her governance. She said in preparation for the aforementioned achievable goals, UNNCECT has invited Prof. Delva Shamley from the University of Cape Town Clinical Research Centre (UCT CRC) on a high impact three-day visit to UNNCECT to help actualize this vision.

Her high impact three-day visit is tailored to giving her a tour of the existing infrastructure, meeting with key stakeholders at UNNCECT and giving experienced insight into getting into the clinical trial market.

Shamley is a South African graduate and has been in academia for 26 years, 13 of which were spent in the United Kingdom (UK). Her training and experience of clinical research comes from Oxford British National Health Service (NHS) and the Centre for Medical Statistics, Oxford University, UK. Shamley has been training and supporting clinicians in research methods for many years. She returned to Cape Town in 2011 and started as Deputy Director of the UCT CRC in October of 2013. She has since been appointed as the Interim Director for CRC.

Shamley currently works at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town. Shamley does research in latent effects of adjuvant therapies in breast cancer survivors.

Current projects include: Development of integrated treatment pathways for the upper limb after treatment for breast cancer; association between biomarkers of inflammation and angiogenesis with shoulder pain and disability; and pharmacogenetic contributions to the development of chronic pain after treatment for breast cancer.

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