Leader of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) Centre of Excellence in Reproductive Health Innovation (CERHI), Professor Friday Okonofua, has reeled out achievements of the Centre under his watch as Leader, while setting plans and naming projects of the CERHI for the new year 2022.
This was at a press conference organised by the UNIBEN CERHI over the weekend in Benin City, to review activities of the CERHI for the year 2021. Okonofua, a Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, said the Centre has been most productive despite the unexpected COVID-19 difficulties.
He listed some of most recent accomplishments of CERHI to include: Successful data analysis leading to the development of new manuscripts, several of which have been accepted for publication in international peer review journals; Contributions of CERHI staff to the special editions on COVID-19 published by the Proceedings of the Nigerian Academy of Science, and the African Journal of Reproductive Health; Admission of a new cohort of regional students; Successful negotiation with Harvard University for the establishment of a high-fidelity simulation laboratory at the University of Benin currently on sea being delivered to the University, The donation of high quality laboratory equipment to CERHI laboratory by Seedling Lab, USA and the Development of a new proposal leading to the award of a $11 million (eleven million dollar) grant for the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Procurement, Environmental, and Social Standards (SSPESE) at the University of Benin – CERHI currently mentors this new Centre.
Others are: Receipt of a grant from the Association of African Universities (AAU) to coordinate a research network in Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal and Child health (REMCHAN) Receipt of a grant from Harvard University to research biological issues related to antibiotics resistance in neonatal sepsis; All CERHI programmes have received international accreditation from the Agency for Public Health Education Accreditation (APHEA) based in Belgium. In addition, two of our short courses were given international accreditation as a Continuing Training & Education Event (CTEE). CERHI also received international accreditation from the High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (HCERES), France for Masters programmes in Nursing, Reproductive Health and Health Economics. All CERHI programmes have had national accreditation from the National Universities Commission (NUC) of Nigeria; The award of an African Book project to the University of Benin through CERHI for the provision of online books to ALL departments of the University by Imano; and The submission of two research proposals to relevant agencies for which CERHI has passed the first phases of assessment.
Prof. Okonofua listed some ongoing projects of the UNIBEN CERHI for 2022 to include: Securing International Accreditation for the University of Benin with the Quality Assurance Agency, UK; Attracting more international staff and students to the University; Assistance in supporting UNIBEN to achieve higher global ranking; Intensive Research in all fields of reproductive health, and Widespread public health dissemination to bring the Centre and the issue of reproductive health to public
CERHI at the University of Benin has truly come of age. Founded in December 2014 with funding from the World Bank and under the tutelage of the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Association of African Universities (AAU), it was one of the initial 22 such centres established under the African Centers of Excellence 1 (ACE 1) project of the World Bank that was aimed at promoting quality tertiary education for development in the West and Central African Region.
The program has acquired some of the most up-to-date pedagogical, research and laboratory facilities that compete favorably with some of the best in any part of the World, and has graduated its first set of students. The program particularly invites applications from students in other African countries, as CERHI has excellent training facilities that will meet their needs, including a fully air-conditioned international students’ hostel with 24-hours internet access and a wonderful receptivity by the University community throughout their stay.
Some of the Programmes offered at the UNIBEN Centre include: MSc and PhD in Reproductive Health; MPH and PhD in Public Health with specialization in Reproductive and Family Health; MSc and PhD in Nursing Sciences; MSc and PhD in Health Economics; MSc and PhD in Maternal and Child Health Nursing, and Short Courses.