The institute is made up of four research divisions namely Public Health, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Genetics. There are also research support divisions, which include the Administration, Library, Maintenance, Accounts and Audit. In addition there are other research support facilities like the staff clinic, Animal Colony Unit, Central Laboratory Unit, Medical Illustration Unit.
The mandate of the Institute stipulates that it shall conduct research into human health problems in the country generally and in particular research into: –
(a) Parasitic and infective diseases prevalent in the country
(b) Major non-infective disease prevalent in the country, especially sickle-cell diseases, malnutrition, hepatocellular malignancies etc.
(c) Disease incidental to environmental pollution including industrial and urban health problems;
(d) Basic applied and operational research for the prevention and control of diseases endemic in the country in cooperation with the Federal and State Ministry of Health.
(e) Health Care delivery systems;
(f) The public health problems arising from the construction of dams and the resettlement of people around man made Lakes and
(g) The Production of human vaccines and sera; (h) Traditional and all allied fields and
(i) Any other related matters as may be determined from time to time;
(j) The Institute shall also provide facilities for research in medicine in cooperation with medical schools, Universities and other Institutions in and outside Nigeria as well as in collaboration with the Federal and State Ministries of Health and other Medical Research Units.
(k) Disseminate the results of medical research to the Federal and State Ministries of Health, and other relevant bodies.