By G9ija

A retired medical doctor, Dr John Awodiji, on Thursday called for collaboration by the nation’s pharmaceutical companies, pharmacists and engineers for industrial production of COVID-19 vaccine and other equipment.

Awodiji made the call at the 12th Ralph Alabi memorial lecture and induction of new members organised by the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in Lagos.

He called on the nation’s engineers to ensure that all the inventions and researches carried out on the COVID-19 pandemic were mass-produced locally to serve citizens’ need and curb capital flight.

Awodiji who was the guest lecturer at the programme tagged “A Bold Vision of a Post-Covid World: the Imperatives for Professionals,” said Nigerian engineers could not afford to stay back and leave everything that could help mankind.

He urged scientists and engineers to put heads together towards merging knowledge of anatomy and machines to produce local COVID-19 vaccine and other equipment to serve the needs of Nigerians.

“Engineers have tried to develop respirators or ventilators but I don’t know how many of them have been deployed for use in our health facilities. They have been produced, tested and found to be good.

“Let our engineers and other professionals fabricate all these things that can be quite useful for our own society, and ensure they are mass-produced,” he said.

He listed some local COVID-19 inventions during the pandemic to include Oximeters, Ventilators and PPEs, adding that, the NSE should ensure synergy with other professionals for successful production.

The octogenarian who retired from the services of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital in 2003 gave a detailed history of the COVID-19, its causes, symptoms, prevention and what to do in the event of an attack.

Participants at the 12th Ralph Alabi memorial lecture and induction of new members organised by the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) on Thursday in Lagos
Participants at the 12th Ralph Alabi memorial lecture and induction of new members organised by the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) on Thursday in Lagos

The chairman of the Ikeja Branch of NSE, Mr Olutosin Ogunmola, challenged local engineers to take the lead and come up with innovations that would resolve post-COVID-19 challenges.

He described late “Ralph Alabi as an enigma, a leader and a builder of men” who raised a generation of vibrant engineers distinguished in various arms of the profession and leaving behind legacies still being celebrated.

An octogenarian and oldest member of Ikeja NSE, Mr Lanre Adewolu called for the development of homegrown herbal COVID-19 vaccines.

Adewolu said herbal medicine was globally recognised but the Nigerian Medical Association had continued to oppose it.

“If you look at bitter leaf they are now making it into capsules and import to us, what is wrong with us?” he said.

Mr Ademola Agoro, a former Chairman of Oluyole Branch of NSE Ibadan, who donated N1 million for the commencement of biomedical engineering researches stressed the need for professionals to become proactive.

Agoro urged government at all levels to always engage the engineers in project designs and encourage researches into the biomedical engineering sector.

The combined physical/virtual event was attended by children of Ralph Alabi, elders of the engineering community and past chairmen/exco of the Ikeja branch, including former president of the NSE, Mr Isaac Olorunfemi.

17 new members were inducted into the NSE, Ikeja.