By ZACHERY PER
THE Goroka-based PNG Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR) and Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) in Melbourne, Australia, have agreed to collaborate on more medical research.
This follows a signing of a memorandum of agreement (MoA) between the two institutions in Goroka last week.
The signing was entered at the PNGIMR head office in Goroka last Tuesday and was witnessed by the staff of PNGIMR .
According to PNGIMR director Prof Peter Siba, there had been a number of collaborative studies with WEHI especially in malaria, and it is only fitting that this MoA was signed with a long time partner.
“The MoA doesn’t only focus on malaria but on things like training, staff exchange and student exchange.
“The betterment of future research work between these two institutions depends on the signing of this MoA,” Prof Siba said.
WEHI director Prof Doug Hilton said that this was a special agreement because the two institutions are the top malaria research institutes in their respective countries which had a relationship for more than 30 years.
“We (WEHI) plan to grow a little bit larger in the near future and we hope that part of that growth will see a much stronger and firmer relationship with PNG.”
“We’re very excited about it and we hope that we can learn a lot from the scientists here and also help them here in PNG.”
“So it’s a two-way relationship like all good friendships always are ,” Prof Hilton said.
The head of infection’s and immunity section at WEHI, Prof Alan Cowman, who set foot in PNG for the first time recently, said the relationship with PNGIMR was an important one.
“We want to develop further and with respect to malaria, we really want to build that within WEHI,” he said.
Also present during the ceremony were the two deputy directors for PNGIMR, Dr Ivo Mueller and Mr Samson Akunaii and Dr Louise Scofield, an Immunologist from WEHI.