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NAFDAC canvasses for more support for herbal medicine development

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The Director-general of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has advocated for more support and funding for herbal medicine.

The call was made in a statement signed by the Director-General (DG) of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, which was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

The statement said that the DG made the call at an inaugural symposium and launching of the Africa Centre of Excellence for Drug Research, Herbal Medicine Development and Regulatory Science (ACEDHARS) at the University of Lagos.

Its theme was “Drug Development from African Medicinal Plants: Opportunities, Challenges and Regulatory Approach”.
Adeyeye said that the support for research by way of funding and development of herbal medicine would help to meet the desire for universal health coverage for all.

Adeyeye said that investment in herbal medicine research and development would positively impact the economy of the pharmaceutical and traditional medicine industry.

According to her, herbal medicines are very important to healthcare delivery and can contribute significantly to universal health coverage in the country.

“Despite the widespread use, traditional medicines have not yet been integrated into the national healthcare system of many developing countries, including Nigeria.

“The increasing use of herbal medicine despite general lack of research on some of these products is a call for concern.

“Investment in herbal medicine research and development is needed from all stakeholders, including the government, so we can benefit from whatever God has given to us freely,” she said.

Adeyeye said that ACEDHARS is very important to Nigeria because of the focus on the development of herbal medicine for the use of the people.

The DG said that the centre would function to ensure that adequate research was conducted and clinical trials done on herbal products before usage.

According to her, some herbal medicines get to the market without adequate research and clinical trials to confirm their safety and efficacy.

Adeyeye advised herbal medicine practitioners to take advantage of the centre to increase their knowledge in the practice, saying that herbal practitioners must have continued education, even where they had it before.

She said that the centre would be of immense benefit to those who don’t have knowledge in the practice which would as well expand their horizon.

She also called on those who don’t have the knowledge to embrace the programme in order to acquire basic education requirements to practice.

The statement also quoted Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, as saying said that there is the need to tap into the indigenous knowledge of herbal practitioners. Ogundipe was represented at the event by Prof. Obinna Chukwu, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Management Services.

Ogundipe described the symposium as timely in examining the challenges, opportunities as well as regulatory approach for drug development from Africa medicinal plants.

“We must appreciate the fact that the herbal medicines we have are quite efficacious and there is the need for us to tap into the indigenous knowledge.

“Some herbal medicine are quite useful in addressing a number of ailments but the problem is that some of these medicines had been seen as a cure for all ailments which the Yorubas call “gbogbo nise”.

”The issue of quality control, proper identification of medicinal plants, standardisation of active ingredients and chemical compounds in herbal medicine need to be addressed.

“We are also looking forward to a period where modern technology will be applied in herbal medicine research,” he said.

Also in an address Omobolanle Ade-Ademilua, Director/Centre Leader, said ACEDHARS, which was a World Bank approved centre of excellence, was established to train skilled manpower.

Ade-Ademilua said the training includes quality assurance, standardisation of dosages, reproducibility of herbal preparations and safety monitoring of drugs in West and Central African region.

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Media professionals move to curb apathy towards HVP vaccination

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From Daniel Abel Lafia

Media professionals under the auspices of Sustainable Media Advocacy Foundation (SMAF), on Wednesday promised to intensify media campaigns against the negative public perception of Vaccination against Human Papilloma Virus among young girls between the ages of 9 and 14 years in the state through intensive campaigns.

The foundation Chairman, Mr. Kalu Idika made this known at its advocacy meeting organized to review its activities in Lafia.

According to the SMAF Chairman, the objective of the organization is to promote media engagement for sustainable development.

“We are available to partner with any group to create every necessary awareness for people at the grassroots level.

“We are registered professionals ready to partner with any interested organization to sensitize, promote, and reach out to the nooks and crannies of the state in any field of endeavor.

The chairman, however, recalled that the foundation had undergone several trainings and have also engaged in sensitization in the area of safe sex among adolescence, maternal mortality in partnership with local and international Non Governmental Organizations, (NGOs).

Mr. Kalu noted that the foundation is currently partnering with the National Primary Health Development Agency, (NAPHDA), to ensure girls between ages 6-14 receive vaccination against the Human Papilloma Virus, HPV launched by Governor Abdullahi Sule.

Kalu, however, stated that the Foundation has undertaken many activities in the past as well adding that they enjoyed technical support from International organizations and Nasarawa State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NAPHDA),

Mr. Ishaya Amegwa, who represented the state’s health educator, commended the foundation in ensuring adequate awareness against the myth and misconceptions about the vaccine.

With the help of the media engagement, more people are coming out even as parents are bringing their girls within the age bracket to receive the vaccine.

‘The media came to our assistance and created the necessary awareness that we needed at that time to encourage the young girls to avail themselves for the vaccination.

In a remark, the Research Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Support Lead of The Challenge Initiative, Taco, Oluwafemi Timothy Rotimi, commended SMAF for the collaboration commencement and implementation of its programme in the state.

Rotimi also noted that the Foundation had reached out to various communities and the public through its media platforms in order to communicate the positive outcome impacted on the wellbeing of the people of the state.

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Malnutrition: USAID doles out RUFT worth 3.5 million Dollars to Nigeria

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The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has donated 60,000 cartons of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUFT) to Bauchi, Kebbi, and Sokoto States to mitigate severe acute malnutrition in Nigeria.

USAID in a press statement made available to journalists after the official handover of the RUFT in Abuja on Thursday, said the approach became necessary as millions of Nigerian children are being affected by malnutrition.

The agency stated that the approach is in collaboration with the Nigerian government, to strengthen local RUTF manufacturing, as well as incorporate RUTF into state health systems such as health insurance, drug revolving funds, and health budgets.

The statement reads in part, “The United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), donated over 60,000 cartons of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF)-valued at $3.5 million to the governors of Bauchi, Kebbi, and Sokoto states in Nigeria. The handover is part of USAID’s bid to expand access to treatment for severe acute malnutrition.

“In Nigeria, severe acute malnutrition remains a significant public health concern, affecting 3.6 million children. With challenges of food insecurity, limited access to quality healthcare, and inadequate nutrition interventions, multisectoral collaboration and innovation is needed. Expanding sustainable local access to affordable, life-saving nutrition commodities is essential to address severe malnutrition in Nigerian children.”

The agency added that the approach also  improves the quality of groundnut inputs for manufacturing RUTF, to strengthen the quality of nutrition health services and to integrate humanitarian nutrition services more sustainably.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, USAID Mission Director, Melissa Jones said, “Reducing malnutrition is a critical component of improving health, education, and inclusive economic development.

“We commend Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health for including RUTF and other nutrition commodities in the list of essential medicines. Doing so allows this life-saving essential food to be procured and made available at all health facilities.”

Bauchi State Deputy Governor, Hon. Mohammed Auwal Jatau, commended USAID for its interventions in Bauchi.

Jatau gave the indication while receiving 17,500 cartons of RUTF donated by the USAID to the Bauchi State government.

The Deputy Governor said to reciprocate  the gesture, the administration of Governor Bala Mohammed would continue to fulfil the obligations of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU.

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Diphtheria Outbreak: UNICEF Donates 3.1 m Vaccine Dosages

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By Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has donated 3.1 million Diphtheria vaccines as part of the organization’s response to Diphtheria out break in the country.

This was disclosed by the UNICEF country Director, Ms Christian Manduate while speaking during a courtesy visit to the JIgawa state governor, Malam Umar Namadi Danmodi at government house Dutse.

The country Director promised a continuation with interventions and technical support for the improvement of education, healthcare, birth and death registration in the state.

According to her other areas of its intervention included Child Nutrition and other aspects of economic and human capital development

Ms Christian Manduate commended governor Namadi for achieving milestones on child protection and development in the state.

She said JIgawa state is among the beneficiary of the 3.1 million vaccines from the UNICEF.

Ms Manduate appealed to the governor to be part of their advocacy team in northern states, as she promised to provide more technical assistance through training of Jigawa health workers.

According to the country Director, despite effort made by Jigawa government to fight five child killer diseases there are numerious challenges on the high number of malnourished children in the state.

She maintained that, most of the Diphtheria victims are unimmunized children with zero dose record, adding that UNICEF will continue collaborate with the government to improve nutrition and reduce the number of out of schools children.

In his response, the JIgawa state governor Malam Umar Namadi lauded UNICEF, saying that their interventions are yielding fruitful result in almost all the critical sectors in Jigawa.

Governor Namadi promised to timeously release counterpart funds to UNICEF, indicating that the state government has gone far on it’s plan to involve Almajiri system into formal education system, to reduce the number of out of school children.

He commended the UNICEF team for visiting Jigawa and promised that he is opened for more collaboration to save and improve the lives of children in the state.

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