African Centre of Excellence for Drug Research, Herbal Medicine Development and Regulatory Science (ACEDHARS) is a research and education Centre established to improve quality, quantity and development impact of postgraduate education through regional specialization and collaboration.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, and injuries are responsible for 43 million deaths each year. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted at the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development in September 2015, recognizes noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) as a major challenge for sustainable development. The support of research and development of vaccines and medicines for NCDs that primarily affect developing countries and providing access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines for NCDs are amongst the national responses to the overall implementation of 2030 Agenda as agreed by Heads of State and Government.
In this light, ACEDHARS is poised to play a role in the objective of the third Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 3) which is to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by one third through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being by 2030. The Centre is focused on developing human capacity through postgraduate programme to develop medicines from the rich biodiversity of the region and to improve access to affordable medicines for NCDs. The Centre is unique because it is centred on developing treatment for NCDs using natural products.
Coursework studies are presented through a problem-based modular delivery to ensure the development of transferable and employable skills that will improve communication, team spirit, processing of information and analytical expertise. Work based learning are integrated into the curricula to allow students the opportunity of industrial field trips or internships for real-life work experiences to aid learning and improve employability. The education package also include workshops and symposia for stakeholders as a platform for forging regional and international collaboration and harmonization of issues concerning medicines, herbal products and their regulations.
The teaching tools include audio-visual and lecture materials and hands-on laboratory practical sessions. Online deliveries are available for the few courses required to be taken by postgraduate students. The objective of the postgraduate programmes is to train individuals in the act of discovering natural products for treatment of NCDs with opportunity for drug development. Adequately furnished laboratory facilities are provided such that at least 85% of postgraduate research can be achieved within the University of Lagos while 15% are achievable with partner institutions in the country and abroad.
Graduates of the Centre possess the following competencies: ability to source for raw materials (natural and synthetic) for drug development; skills on regulatory science, drug control and quality assurance of finished and crude drug products; ability to manage effective drug logistics and supplies; knowledge of surveillance procedures aimed at minimizing misuse and abuse of drugs; knowledge of herbal medicine standards and regulations; skills on provision of professional information on drugs at various levels of health care delivery; drive for advocacy on health issues to policy makers and stakeholders; and potential to organize educational activities through seminars, workshops and enrichment trainings aimed at enhancing knowledge in health matters.
The Centre offers full scholarship to REGIONAL candidates admitted into postgraduate programmes in the Centre: Full scholarship – this covers all expenses of the students throughout the programmes such as application fee, visa fee, a return ticket, full tuition fee, accommodation fee (on campus) and a monthly stipend of $150 (in naira equivalent) for a maximum of 18 months for Master’s candidates and four years for a PhD. The Centre supports ALL students in their postgraduate research through free bench spaces (equipment and consumables), internship (placements and moderation) and dissemination of research output through publications, conferences and commercialization. All students in programmes of the Centre have free access to all Centre facility including Centre office.
Besides, ACEDHARS is in University of Lagos, the University of first choice and the nation’s pride; the only University in the country that is by the Lagoon. Lagos is the commercial nerve of the country; the two campuses of the university are on the mainland, making it easy to connect any part of the state.