Top pharmaceutical chieftains and eminent personalities, in the health sector will converge, this month, to discuss innovative strategies to accentuate the battle against substandard and adulterated drugs at a webinar.
The virtual conference, which is billed for Saturday, November 28, 2020, is tagged: ‘Intensifying the fight against fake drugs in Nigeria.’
Key speakers include Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria(PSN), Mazi Ohuabunwa and his predecessor, Amb. Ahmed Yakasai.
The programme is being executed, under the aegis of the Coalition of Development Advocates and Health Journalists(CODAHJ) to promote social and economic reforms in society.
The advocacy group was established by Mrs Adeze Ojukwu, a Fellow of Hubert H Humphrey Fellowship and publisher of Devcomradar.org magazine, and Dr. Godwin Uwaoma, a public health physician and founder, Association for Peace and Development Initiative (APDI).
The awareness campaign, supported by NAFDAC and Safe Medicines Foundation, will be moderated by accomplished broadcaster, Soni Irabor, as well as Managing Director of Evans Baroque Pharmaceutical company, Mr. Onyeka Onyeibor.
‘The exercise is in line with our commitment towards improved access to basic amenities and health care for all citizens, crucial for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) in Nigeria.’
‘In our estimation, this webinar will contribute significantly towards the war against production and distribution of adulterated pharmaceutical products.’
‘Our health professionals and media arsenals are working, concertedly, with policy makers, regulatory authorities and industry players to promote more public interest about the dangers inherent in patronizing these substances, through this discourse.’
According to the World Health Organisation(WHO), one in 10 medications sold in Africa are either fake or substandard, with a high prevalence in Nigeria.
The global health agency’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said ‘substandard and falsified medicines particularly affect the most vulnerable communities.’
‘Imagine a mother who gives up food or other basic needs to pay for her child’s treatment, unaware that the medicines are substandard or falsified, and then that treatment causes her child to die.’
‘This is unacceptable. Countries have agreed on measures at the global level – it is time to translate them into tangible action,’ he stressed.
‘Indeed consumption of adulterated products devastates the health of citizens and damages the image of the country and its pharmaceutical manufacturing sub-sector.’
‘It also undermines the excellent work being undertaken by genuine pharmacists and drug manufacturers in Nigeria.’
‘This menace is a major public health concern in Nigeria, despite efforts by NAFDAC, because of the sophistry applied by the merchandizers and peddlers of these illicit medications which can kill, maim, or even prolong the illness.
Several research findings have revealed that some of these products contain little or no active ingredients, thus prolonging illness.
As a result, people inadvertently, take medicines that are not only deficient but life-threatening conditions, in some instances.
‘The economic losses, engendered by this vice are quite huge, as these phony drug manufacturers use spurious tactics to sell their lethal wares to unsuspecting individuals and health systems, causing organ failure, mortalities and morbidities.’
‘Substandard or falsified medicines not only have a tragic impact on individual patients and their families, but also are a threat to antimicrobial resistance, adding to the worrying trend of medicines losing their power to treat.’
‘In 2018 alone, data from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, revealed that the agency destroyed fake foods and drugs worth N4.7 billion in four exercises in Abuja as well as three states including Ogun, Kaduna and Gombe.’
‘The phenomenal health and economic impact of this dangerous trend on society are devastating, requiring a multi-sectorial approach.’
‘Undoubtedly, the fake drug syndrome, can be tenaciously addressed, through a renewed media and mass sensitization campaign, to boost public awareness about current regulatory policies and enforcement efforts by NAFDAC and allied organizations.’
‘This conference is therefore timely and strategically, positioned for policy makers, pharmacists and health experts to address these numerous challenges and enunciate practical steps towards eradicating these unwholesome products.
‘For effective delivery of the outlined objectives of the summit, the coalition is collaborating with several online and mainstream media organizations to ensure adequate coverage and promotion of the recommendations.’
The sensitization project targets the general public as well as chemists, dispensaries and health centers, particularly in rural areas.
Further details, partnerships and updates, about this confab can be obtained from www.devcomradar.org a magazine specially devoted to health and development trends.
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