From Lateef Dada, Osogbo
The Osun State University (UNIOSUN), has won a $1.4million Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation research grant for the entomological studies on black fly trapping and control in Nigeria.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof Clement Adebooye, disclosed this at a press conference held at the Osogbo main campus on Monday.
He explained that the research is for the development of black fly pheromone baited trap and some entomological studies on black fly trapping and control in Nigeria.
According to the VC, the research team led by Prof. Monsuru Adebayo Adeleke, a Professor of Public Health Entomology and Parasitology in the Department of Zoology, Osun State University, Osogbo, would work on the vector control approaches to reduce blackfly biting rates to reduce transmission of persistent oncho-endemic hotspots in Nigeria.
He explained that river blindness is one of the debilitating diseases of public health importance and it is transmitted by the black flies which are popularly called “amukuru” in Yorubaland and feed on the blood of mammals, including humans.
“According to World Health Organization (WHO), more than 99% of infected people live in 31 African countries, including Nigeria. It has been estimated that at least 220 million people required preventive chemotherapy against Onchocerciasis, 14.6 million of the infected people already had a skin disease and 1.15 million had vision loss,” Adebooye added.
The VC also explained that the Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Zoology and 2016 alumna of the University, Miss Sandra Osamudiame, won the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Early Career Grant just as Miss Toyosi Oyebola, who is also a science researcher, represented the Parasitology and Public Health Society of Nigeria (PPSN) South-West geopolitical zone at the debate competition of the PPSN 2022 Annual Conference, which took place in Abraka, Delta State, and came first place after beating ten other participants from the other five geopolitical zones in the country.
He added that a 400-level student of the University, from the College of Law, Richard Abayomi, was recently appointed a West African Youth Ambassador by the West African (ECOWAS) Youth Council, making him one of the youngest recipients of the award, as well as the Nelson Mandela Integrity Awards.