Health Minister Endorses Use Of Herbal Medicine

Minister of Health-Issac Adewole

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has ordered that henceforth, all mosquito nets used in the country must be locally produced.

He also endorsed the use of herbal medicines, and recommended that the drugs be produced in the country under the supervision of Nigerian Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), and National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Prof. Adewole said this at the presentation of “NAFDAC Guidelines 2016” on Tuesday in Abuja. He disclosed that billions of “hard-earned” monies were being used by the nation to import mosquito nets and other drugs that could be produced in the country, adding that the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, a body of drugs and related products manufacturers in the country, could produce mosquito nets, as the products are part of medical devices.  

Speaking further, the minister urged NAFDAC to partner with Universities of Zaria, Enugu, Ibadan and Jos to enhance research into local production of drugs.

The Minister said: “When we came on board, what we were mandated to do was to develop health agenda for the nation. Doing so, we work on delivering health to the Nigerian citizens. The APC manifestoes documented a new commitment to health, but we needed to build on this.

“We will make essential medicines available; make sure that we have self-sufficiency in local production and clinical practice. We will also ensure that we keep substandard products out of Nigeria. I saw a challenge with Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria. I believe that many of the key products that we use in this country can be labeled as medical devices, including the Long-Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets, LLIN.

“Please, ensure that these are produced in Nigeria. There is actually no reason why we should spend billions of our hard-earned money on importing nets from other countries when they can be produced in this country. For other agencies, I think this is the time to go into local production. We are prepared to give an undertaking that these be produced locally.

“In addition to this, we should also invest in local products. We call them traditional medicine. But, I want to call them Nigerian medicines. I think NIPRD will partner with us to research with your products, making sure that local preparations are available for Nigeria. I am sure NIPRD is aware of some of the commodities from Middle Belt such as the one that when taken can prevent Nigerian women from getting pregnant for the next one year. This should be made available.

Speaking on the guidelines, the Minister said: “Guidelines can only work when people work with guidelines. Without people, the guidelines will never work. So, my admonition is that you need to work with your manuscripts, improved guidelines and welfare of your staff. I will also say that you effect promotion arrears, and then, the demand from the staff is strike-free NAFDAC. It is going to be give and take.”

He charged that NAFDAC must become a reference point with regards to regulatory activities worldwide.

In her remark, Acting Director-General NAFDAC, Mrs Yetunde Oni, said the guidelines for the agency’s regulatory activities were developed through the support of World Health Organization, PATH 2 and UK AID.