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Rotary Club Honours Adelusi-Adeluyi, Names Secretariat after Him

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Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi with rotarians and associates at the ceremony.

It was a gracious gathering of well-wishers and distinguished Rotarians in what can be described as one of the most auspicious and iconic honours ever bestowed on one of their own, as District 9110, comprising of all the Rotary Club districts in Lagos and Ogun States, celebrated the invaluable contributions of foremost pharmacist, lawyer and pilot, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi to the organisation by naming the Lagos District Secretariat after him.

Rotary Club Honours Adelusi-Adeluyi, Names Secretariat after Him
Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi with wife, Julia, standing beside the portrait statue made after him.

The well-attended event, which took place at the Rotary House, Ladoke Akintola Street, GRA, Ikeja, on Friday, 9 December, 2022, witnessed the presence of distinguished Nigerians, captains of Industry and fellow pharmacists, among whom were Pharm.(Sir) Ike Onyechi, MD of Alpha Pharmacy & Stores; Prof. Lere Baale,  CEO, Business School Netherlands International, Nigeria, as well as Pharm. Calixthus Okoruwa, award-winning Public Relations guru and MD of XLR8.

Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi (middle) flanked by Pharm.(Sir) Ike Onyechi, MD of Alpha Pharmacy & Stores (left): Prof. Lere Baale,  CEO, Business School Netherlands International, Nigeria (left); Calixthus Okoruwa, award-winning Public Relations guru and MD of XLR8 (right) and another associate (left) at the event.

Unveiling the building, amidst pomp and pageantry, Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi, thanked God for the honour while appreciating all rotarians, especially the Lagos District 9110 for finding him worthy of the honour and recognition. Speaking to Pharmanewsonline, the former Minister of Health said: “I must give gratitude to God. This honour fills me with a sense of humility. Rotarians are a special class of people who are very objective, who stand for service. It is a service-oriented organisation which tries to help the community in very many ways, spending millions without counting the cost. They have this National Secretariat here. For it to be named after me, what shall I say? I thank God first and the leaders of Rotary Club who found me deserving”.

Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, unveiling the Rotary Secretariat named after him.

In a congratulatory message also made available to Pharmanewsonline, one of Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi’s associates and bosom friend, Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi, publisher, Pharmanews, extolled the octogenarian’s leadership virtues while praying God to imbue him with more wisdom and strength, as he continues to mentor emerging leaders, while also fulfilling his divine assignment.

“The unveiling of the JULIUS ADELUSI-ADELUYI HOUSE at the Rotary Centre today, in GRA Ikeja, Lagos, marks the climax of Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi’s recognition and honour for his lifetime contributions to Rotary Club. As first District Governor of District 9110 in the eighties, he has consistently maintained his leadership role. He has mentored hundreds of influential rotarians and built his life on the Rotary 4-Wat Test.

“This honour of today has permanently placed his name in the annals of history of Rotary Club in and outside Nigeria. I pray that God will continue to sustain him with His wisdom and strength to fulfil his divine assignments. I also sincerely appreciate his wife, Julia for remaining firmly beside him,” said Atueyi.

The event also witnessed a scintillating Christmas Carols session, as rotarians radiated the spirit of the forthcoming commemoration of Jesus Christ’s birthday.

 

Napharm Honours Afe Babalola, Inducts 20 New Fellows

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R-L: Registrar, Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharm. Babashehu Ahmed; Senator Sodiq Umar; President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, (PSN), Prof. Cyril Usifoh; Napharm President, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi; Napharm Vice President and Publisher of Pharmanews, Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi; Pharm. (Hon.) Gboluga Dele Ikengbolu and Professor Lere Baale at the Napharm investiture programme on Thursday in Lagos.

The Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm), on Thursday bestowed Honourary Fellowship Award on the Proprietor, Afe Babalola University, Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), for his contribution towards the advancement of Pharmacy education in Nigeria.

Afe Babalola University is the first university in Nigeria that established College of Pharmacy with Prof. Femi Mbang-Oyewo, as its provost. The honorary award was conferred on the legal luminary at the academy’s investiture programme held in Lagos on Thursday. Aare Babalola therefore became the second recipient of the academy’s honourary award after the former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon received it about eight years ago.

While justifying the conferment of the award on Aare Babalola, the Napharm President, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi said “I will like to specially congratulate Aare Afe babalola, who is not only a Senior Advocate of Nigeria but also the proprietor of the high- flying Afe Babalola University.

“Anyone who has been to the College of Pharmacy of that University will appreciate why the Aare has been unanimously chosen by this academy as the second ever honourary recipient of a fellowship of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy  after General Yakubu Gowon. In one world, that College of Pharmacy is a world-class. We have no doubt that its products will be no less so.”

Also at the investiture programme, Napharm inducted 20 new fellows into its fold. The new fellows are Pharm. Olugbenga Olubowale; Pharm. (Mrs) Joke Bakare; Pharm. Olakunle Oyelana; Pharm. Olayinka Subair; Pharm. Christopher Ehimen; Pharm. Babashehu Ahmed; Pharm. (Mrs) Christiana Akpa; Pharm. (Mrs) Olubunmi Aribeana; Pharm. Adekunle Tometi and Pharm. (Sen.) Sadiq Umar.

Others are Pharm. (Hon.) Gboluga Ikengboju; Pharm. (Prof.) Ray Ozolua; Pharm. (Mrs.) Talatu Ebune;  Pharm. (Mrs) Abiola Paul-Ozieh; Pharm. (Sir) Valentine Ezeiru; Pharm. (Dr) Kingsley Amibor; Pharm. (Prof.) Gbenga Alebiowu; Pharm. (Prof.) Ene Ette; Pharm. (Dr) Daniel Orunmwense and Pharm. (Mrs) Abolade Sotubo.

While presenting the new fellows to the president of the academy, the Chairman, Membership Committee, Pharm. Paul  Enebeli, explained that the new fellows went through rigorous screening. According to him, there were about 63 nominees from different interest groups in the industry.

“After the committee has received 63 nominees, we put criterial in place and the committee screened all the nominees based on the criteria and at the end of the screening, 20 were selected out of the 63”, the chairman said.

Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi charged the new fellows to start bringing in their unique contributions to enable the academy achieve its objectives.

While examining the development in the pharma world, Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi stated that COVID-19 pandemic has taught Nigeria a big lesson, which is the imperative of medicines security, particularly as it relates to local drug manufacturing, saying Nigeria, as a nation, needs to be committed to production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) rather than relying on importation of the materials.

He also charged pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists and medical professionals in the field of research in Nigeria to tap into the world of big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning, saying the three areas are the drivers of what many analysts have referred to as the fourth industrial revolution.

In his remarks, the President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, (PSN), Prof. Cyril Usifoh, expressed satisfaction that pharmacists are beginning to move from stage of complaining to taking possession of what belongs to them.

“One of the slogans during my campaign was that pharmacists must be made relevant in the sphere of activities, especially in the political arena. When we are relevant in the society, we can make impact and when we make impact, people will know who pharmacists are and when they know whom pharmacists are, it will increase your economic base and make things better for you whether in academia or any area you find yourself”, he said.

Usifoh commended the Napharm president for the role the academy is playing to take the Pharmacy profession to greater height, while promising that PSN will continue to work with the academy for the good of the profession.

In his remarks, the Registrar, Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN), Pharm. Babashehu Ahmed, commended the academy for the good works it’s doing for the profession. He promised that the council will openly and wholeheartedly work with Napharm to ensure that pharmacy regulation gets to the highest level in the country.

While speaking on behalf of other new fellows, Senator Sodiq Umar, said he’s aware that their induction into the academy as Fellows is a responsibility and they will truly rise up to the responsibility, not just for the academy but to the Pharmacy profession. He urged the academy to continue to reposition pharmacy practice in the country.

Study Links Obesity to Heavy Menstruation

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3 Common Causes of Heavy Menstruation: Capital Women's Care: Obstetrics
Photo credit – Capital Women’s Care

An Apple Women’s Health Study has established a link between obesity and abnormal uterine bleeding patterns (AUB), noting that those with higher body mass index would experience a higher prevalence of extended menstruation than those who are not.

The findings, which were published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, collected self-reported cycle-tracking data from 18,875 participants’ from November 2019 through July 2021.

The participants’ average age was 33 and their average BMI was 29.3.

Abnormal uterine bleeding is bleeding between monthly periods, prolonged bleeding or an extremely heavy period. Possible causes include fibroids, polyps, hormone changes and — in rare cases — cancer.

Respondents to the poll attested to the correctness of the data from the prior months, which were then used to certify monthly monitoring.

Participants reported irregular menstruation in 2.9% of cases, infrequent menstruation in 8.4% of cases, protracted menstruation in 2.3% of cases, and irregular intermenstrual bleeding in 6.1% of cases (spotting).

Respondents who reported having polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, hyperthyroidism, or hypothyroidism were more likely to report having abnormal uttering bleeding than those who did not.

In comparison to white, non-Hispanic individuals, black participants had a 33% higher prevalence of irregular menses and were more likely to report having abnormal uterine bleeding. More Asian individuals experienced irregular periods.

Compared to people of a healthy weight, the results of the study showed that those who are obese (with a BMI over 40) are 94% more likely to have extended periods, and 18% more likely to have abnormal uterine bleeding.

“Overall, these findings provide the rate of AUB in a large, digital dataset of confirmed menstrual tracking. In addition to expanding our understanding of AUB across a diverse population, our findings confirm existing literature on the associations between AUB and medical conditions,” the researchers wrote.

The analysis’ shortcomings were highlighted by the researchers. Using an iPhone as a study platform might prevent results from generalising to a bigger population. Additionally, they discovered that research participants were more likely to have a college degree and that the study’s ethnic demographics did not accurately reflect the greater U.S. population.

However, the study’s authors said that the findings broadened understanding of abnormal bleeding among a vast and varied group without being constrained by reproductive objectives, medical backgrounds, or specific clinical settings.

“This study builds on previous cohort data by adding diversity and extends modern datasets derived from menstrual tracking apps by collecting contextual information related to demographics and medical histories,” researchers wrote.

 

 

 

Don’t Let Cough Get you Down: Try these Home Remedies

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Cough remedies you should try – Photo credit: iStock Images

When it comes to our  health, we often take cough and cold for granted. We think of them as minor illnesses that will go away with time. But do you know that cough is actually one of the most common reasons people visit doctors? In fact, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cough is the fifth most common symptom for which people seek medical attention.

So what exactly is a cough?

Coughing is a natural reflex that occurs when our airways are irritated. It helps to clear the throat and airways of mucus, dust, and other particles. Coughing also prevents us from aspirating (breathing in) liquids and small particles.

It is a common symptom of many respiratory illnesses, such as the common cold, bronchitis and pneumonia. It can also be a symptom of other conditions, such as GERD, sinus infections, and allergies.

Scientific studies on cough can be divided into two main categories: etiological studies and pharmacological studies. Etiological studies focus on the causes of cough, while pharmacological studies focus on the treatment of cough.

Etiological studies on cough have revealed a number of important risk factors. For example, a study by the CDC found that smokers are more likely to experience chronic cough than nonsmokers. Other risk factors for cough include exposure to environmental irritants, such as dust or chemicals, and certain medical conditions, such as asthma or GERD.

Pharmacological studies on cough have shown that a number of different medications can be effective in treating this symptom. For example, studies have shown that over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, such as antihistamines and decongestants, can be helpful in treating coughs caused by allergies or viral infections. Other studies have shown that prescription medicines, such as inhaled corticosteroids, can be effective in treating coughs caused by asthma or other respiratory conditions.

If you’re concerned about your cough, it’s important to see a doctor. This is especially true if you’re a smoker or if you have a chronic medical condition. Only a doctor can determine the underlying cause of your cough and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Types of Cough

There are two types of cough: productive and non-productive. A productive cough brings up mucus from the lungs. This is often the case with a cold or flu. A non-productive cough does not bring up mucus. It is often dry and hacking.

Scientific research has shown that both productive and non-productive coughs can be effective in clearing the lungs of secretions. A study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that a three-minute bout of coughing was just as effective as suctioning in clearing the lungs of secretions in patients with pneumonia.

In another study, published in the journal CHEST, researchers found that coughing was more effective than suctioning in clearing secretions from the airways of patients with bronchitis. The study found that patients who coughed up their secretions had less need for rescue medication, such as bronchodilators, and were able to clear their airways more effectively than those who did not cough up their secretions.

These studies suggest that coughing is an important mechanism for clearing the lungs of secretions and that it should not be suppressed in patients with respiratory infections.

What causes coughing?

Most people think of coughing as a minor annoyance. However, for some people, coughing can be a sign of a serious medical condition. Coughing can be caused by a variety of things, including allergies, the common cold, and even some types of cancer.

American Pulmonologist, Dr Jonathan Arden, has seen his fair share of patients with cough. In his years of experience, he has found that there are three primary causes of coughing: allergies, the common cold, and heartburn.

He acknowledged allergies are common causes of coughing. When someone has an allergy, his body reacts to a foreign substance, such as pollen or dust, by producing histamines. These histamines cause the symptoms of an allergy, which can include coughing.

Arden also identified common cold as another frequent cause of coughing. The common cold is a viral infection that causes the body to produce excess mucus. This mucus can irritate the throat and airways, causing a cough.

Heartburn is another possible cause of coughing. Heartburn occurs when stomach acid rises up into the esophagus. This can cause a burning sensation in the chest and throat, as well as coughing.

“These are the three primary factors that contribute to cough, although there are other secondary factors that can also play a role. These include certain medications, such as beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, which can cause a dry cough; Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can cause a chronic cough; and conditions such as COPD and asthma, which can also cause chronic coughs,” he said.

While coughs can be annoying, they are usually not serious and will resolve on their own. However, if you have a cough that is chronic or productive of green or yellow mucus, it is important to see your doctor to rule out any underlying causes.

How to get rid of cough fast using home remedies

While over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be effective in relieving the symptoms of cough, some people prefer to use home remedies. These home remedies can be used to help relieve the symptoms of a cough and even help you get rid of it faster.

One of the best home remedies for a cough is honey. Honey has been shown to be effective in treating both dry and productive coughs. It works by coating the throat and airway, which helps to soothe them and reduce inflammation. Honey can be taken by itself or added to tea or other beverages.

A study published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics found that honey was more effective in reducing cough symptoms than over-the-counter cough medicines. Honey may work by coating the throat and soothing irritated tissue.

Another effective home remedy for a cough is ginger. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to soothe the throat and airway, making it easier to breathe. Ginger can be made into tea by adding slices of fresh ginger root to hot water.

Findings published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that ginger was effective in treating coughing, and that it may work by suppressing the cough reflex.

There are many other home remedies for cough, but there is little scientific evidence to support their use. Some home remedies, such as drinking warm liquids or taking steamy showers, may help to relieve symptoms by loosening mucus. Others, such as using peppermint oil or eating spicy foods, may help to open up the airways and clear out mucus. However, more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of these remedies.

While there are many home remedies for cough, it is important to see a doctor if the cough persists for more than few weeks, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, shortness of breath, or chest pain. If you are concerned about your cough, speak to your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

 

 

 

 

 

Joint Effort Needed to Reduce Out-of-Pocket Health Expenditure — Ehanire

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Dr Osagie Ehanire

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, says joint effort is required to reduce out-of-pocket health expenditure, improve health system efficiency, increase government spending on healthcare and expand prepayment coverage and financial risk protection mechanisms.

This is as N104.1 billion was disbursed under the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) to over 7,600 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) as at November.

Ehanire said this on Thursday in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the 63rd Session of the National Council on Health (NCH).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the five-day meeting which commenced on Monday has “Building Resilient Health and Sustainable Health Systems for Improved Health Outcomes and Universal Health Coverage” as theme.

Ehanire said according to the 2020 National Health Account, total government health expenditure was 14.6 per cent of total health expenditure, with expenditure on primary healthcare accounting for only 4.6 per cent of current health expenditure.

This, he said, was a pointer for more investments in revitalisation of PHCs.

“General health expenditure as percentage of government expenditure increased from 6.2 per cent in 2019 to 8.2 per cent in 2020, a reflection of the increased spending on health relative to other sectors during COVID-19.

“Although general government health expenditure increased, it was not enough to reduce out of pocket expenditure which increased from 71.5 per cent in 2019 to 72.8 per cent in 2020, still far off our target of less than 40 per cent.”

He also said that the COVID 19 pandemic drew attention to vast opportunities for strategic partnerships and investment in health.

According to him, capital flight from medical tourism continues to put pressure on scare foreign exchange reserve but that the government was exploring partnerships that will produce investments in the health sector.

He added that the government was especially taking into consideration existing opportunities in manufacturing including drugs and laboratory and other consumables, medical facilities and super specialist hospitals and even in health technology and infrastructure.

“One of such partnerships is with Afreximbank for which Nigeria won a bid to host the regional center for medical excellence and groundbreaking has been done to kick off the super hospital.

“The African Medical Centre for Excellence will provide specialist care and training of specialist human resources for health.

“A conducive environment for the establishment of more of such super centers across the country is at our fingertips”, the minister said.

According to Ehanire, a strong, resilient health system is the best line of defence against pandemics and any public health challenge, saying the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging.
He said that the key lesson learnt was the continental realisation by Africa that it needed a new public health order that was resilient, adaptable and ready to cope with any disease threats.

He explained the new public health order rested on four pillars which were strengthened continental and national public health institutions, local manufacturing of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, attraction, training, and retention of a public health workforce; and fostering of respectful local and international partnerships.

Ehanire, however, said that Nigeria was making progress toward achieving its targets for COVID-19 vaccination.

“In spite of challenges, including vaccine hesitancy and security concerns in many parts of our country, about 58 million eligible persons have been fully vaccinated while over 70 million have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine so far.

“We can achieve our 70 per cent coverage needed to acquire herd immunity against COVID-19 virus by the end of the year if states and local governments put more efforts in mobilising and vaccinating eligible people.

“Our routine immunisation is showing progress in spite of COVID-19 pandemic, as indicated in the 2022 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey/National Immunisation Coverage Survey results.

“And we are among 10 countries where COVID- 19 pandemic has not significantly distracted from routine immunisation coverage.”

In a goodwill message, a representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Ms Dorothy Ochola, said that theme of meeting reflected a conscious attempt by the government, its partners to renew their collective commitment.

She added that the collective commitment was to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the “Decade of Action”.

She said she hoped that recommendations arising from the meeting would be matched with deliberate actions towards achieving tangible, equitable and sustainable results for Nigerians, especially women and children.

She added this would be in line with the SDGs vision of “leaving no one behind”.
According to her, PHC system strengthening has become an urgent global concern because the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated preexisting weaknesses across health systems.

“Therefore, it is pleasing to note that governments at national and subnational levels have answered the call to action for strengthening PHC systems.

“UNICEF continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with the government in implementing key PHC policies.

“We are supporting efforts to ensure that these policies find practical expression at the subnational level, where the actual health service delivery happens.”

On his part, Dr Olumide Okunola, a senior Health Specialist at the World Bank, said that Nigeria was much delayed in demographic transition such that reaping any dividend from it was almost a challenge.

“The transition where countries move from high mortality and high fertility to the level of no mortality and low fertility.

“So, it means that that this type of meetings is where we need to proffer innovative and real life solutions to make a difference.

“The future of Nigeria is not in fuel and fossils, the future of Nigeria is in the decisions that those of us in this room make for Nigeria’s human capital,’’ he added.

Mr Paul McDermott, the Director of Health, Population and Nutrition at USAID Nigeria, said that primary healthcare access for all Nigerians was one of the most cost-effective approaches to improving the health of citizens.

On family planning, he said that in recent years, there had been growing gaps in funding for family planning commodities in the country.

He added that without those commodities, progress towards SDG Three and attainment of universal health coverage was nearly impossible.

He urged the NCH to propose solutions to addressing the commodities gaps.

“For example, the council can consider the use of “sin taxes”, like the sugar sweetened beverage tax, to offset the additional funds needed to cover it.

“We will also request the council to examine closely ways that family planning and reproductive health can be more explicitly captured in implementation plans for the National Health Insurance Authority Act.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NCH is the highest policy making body in the Nigeria health sector.

It is a platform where council members and stakeholders meet and interact to consider, deliberate on and chart ways forward on health issues of national importance. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Kebbi First Lady, UNILAG, ABUAD VCs, Others Bag EWAH Awards

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…As LWI boss, Bisi Bright gets chieftaincy title

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A cross-section of participants at the event.

It was a moment of glitz and blitz during the 2022 Extraordinary Women Advancing Healthcare Awards tagged “EWAHAFRO2022” when 10 outstanding Nigerian women were honoured in spectacular ways, in line with their numerous attainments and contributions to healthcare and other spheres of life.

At the glamorous event, held at Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, many great personalities from all walks of life, including the Commissioner for Education, Lagos State, Mrs Sade Adefisayo; Prof. Cyril Usifoh, president, PSN; Mrs Bimbo Okoya; Dr Ronke Sodeinde, president, MWAN; Mr Yinka Subair, chief executive officer, Pfizer, among others gathered in a relaxed atmosphere of celebration.

Speaking at the event, Pharm. (Mrs) Bisi Bright, the CEO of LiveWell Initiative and Regional Representative for EWAH Awards Africa, said the main purpose of the Awards was to create national and international recognitions for emerging, dynamic healthcare leaders who are women, adding that the purpose was to celebrate and appreciate the power of women to change the world.

According to Bright, the event which is the first of its kind in Nigeria and indeed, Africa was done to recognise the sterling performance of women in Africa and Nigeria, who are advancing healthcare, as the event aims to give visibility to the work of these leaders.

to help them continue to build invaluable cross-sector networks and partnerships and to encourage them to achieve even further impact and innovation and to inspire others in the healthcare system.

She added, “We have come to celebrate women who defied all odds to contribute to the advancement of healthcare in Nigeria. Although the healthcare system has more women than men working in it, the top roles and recognitions are dominated by men. EWAH aims to help bring greater parity in such leadership, so through EWAH Awards, we want to get more women to the top across all sections of healthcare, and to help them build important cross-sector networks that will be even more impactful in the future.”

Also speaking, Pharm. (Mrs) Clare Omatseye, chairperson, of EWAH’s Advisory Board, and CEO of JNCI Limited, stated that the story of the 10 amazing awardees would be an inspiration for other women out there, adding that #EWAHAFRO2022 is the Premier award across Africa to recognise and bring awareness at a broader level to 10 amazing emerging women healthcare leaders.

In his speech, the Past President of the British Business Group, Sir Stanley Evans MBE stated that the EWAH Awards differ from most conventional awards, as the awardees do not necessarily need to be healthcare professionals themselves, adding it was for 10 women who were impactful, across diverse sections of healthcare, from public health and policy to community health education and leadership, and from academia and research through healthcare industry manufacturing and distribution.

He stated, “For example, we have among the winners a low literacy community health leader, two university vice-chancellors, a low-income healthcare worker from Northern Nigeria, a Nigerian CEO of a multinational pharmaceutical corporation, and a First Lady who is a paediatrician with interest in oncology.”

In her speech, which was done virtually, the EWAH Africa Matron of Honour and Chair of the EWAH Steering Committee in the USA, Barri Blauvelt, said she was pleased that the first EWAH event outside of the USA which was done in collaboration with LiveWell Initiative in Nigeria was a huge success.

A total of 10 women healthcare leaders were honoured at the event, and they were:  Chief (Mrs) Grace Ebun Delano, a seasoned administrator, nurse, and reproductive health advocate, who co-founded the leading NGO in Nigeria, the Association of Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH), in Ibadan; Dr Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu, the first lady of Kebbi State, a philanthropist and paediatrician, who currently sits on the Board of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC); Prof. Elisabeta Smaranda Olarinde, a professor of law and the Vice-Chancellor of the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, who is a founding member of the first Nigerian Interdisciplinary Research Network on Social Sciences and Reproductive Health (SSRHN).

The first female and 13th Vice-Chancellor of the 60-year-old University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Folasade Ogunsola, a professor of clinical microbiology, who has contributed significantly to raising awareness of infection control in Nigeria; Mrs Nkechi Ukaiwe, chief executive officer, Janssen, Johnson and Johnson, who is the first lady to hold the number one position at the multinational conglomerate Johnson & Johnson and its Pharmaceutical Division, Janssen; Cima Sholotan, empathic, purpose-driven sustainability professional with over 15 years of experience in Sub-Saharan Africa, who has also worked with business leaders in the banking, financial regulatory, and telecommunication industries.

Other awardees are Dr Adaeze Oreh, a consultant family physician, senior health policy advisor and director at Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, Nigeria, who has almost 20 years cognate experience in the vast field of medicines and public health; Pharm. Folasade Lawal, a community pharmacist with over 35 years of experience, passionate about the provision of cutting-edge pharmaceutical and preventive care services.

Also, Chief (Mrs) Christiana Adeyemi, the first Iyalode of Sogunro Community, Makoko/Iwaya Waterfront, a low-income community in Lagos State, where she has impacted lives through services to the community and got certified along with members of the community as Women in Hepatitis Africa Champion; Mrs Ajiya Agwom Agyer, a diligent, focused community health worker with the ability to develop strong connection within a targeted population to maximize outreach and services, who has also developed an STD outreach programme in her Local Government Area, Barkin Ladi LGA, Plateau State.

Speaking on behalf of others, one of the awardees and a newly appointed country manager for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, Nkechi Ukaiwe, while revealing how she rose from grass to grace in her chosen life career, admonished young women to be focused and determined, adding that the awardees are not in any way extra-ordinary, but chose to be outstanding in their chosen career.

The high point of the event was the conferment of the traditional title of ‘Yeye Mayegun’ of Iwaya/ Makoko Waterfront, on Pharm. Bright, the convener of the event, by the Baale of Sogunro Iwaya Kingdom, Chief Yusuf Sagra Kumayon.

 

Recognise Pharmacists’ Place in NHIA, Halt Brain Drain, ACPN Urges FG

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A cross section of participants at the Summit
A cross section of participants at the Summit

The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) has tasked the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Health to rejig the new National Health Insurance Authority, NHIA, so as to halt mass emigration of its members from the country, adding that unless community pharmacists right of place is protected in the new NHIA act, assurance of the totality of care for Nigerians may become a mirage.

Speaking recently at the National Summit on Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria, organised by the ACPN, and held at Amber Residence, GRA, Lagos, the National Chairman of the association, Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu, noted that without the inclusion of community pharmacists in the service of prescription under the NHIA, the health insurance has missed it and it’s on the verge of failing.

The number one community pharmacist in the country also noted that community pharmacists are the closest to the people in terms of trained healthcare professionals, adding that they are ideally the heart of primary healthcare services wherever they are as the country currently has about 7000 community pharmacists.

“We are focusing on the new act of health insurance, so if we get it right, the future of community pharmacy in Nigeria is bright, if not, we can as well pass a death sentence to community pharmacy in Nigeria. A lot of my members are leaving the country in thousands, and as a matter of fact, as the national chairman of community pharmacists in Nigeria, I am pleading that my colleagues should remain in the country, and I am planning so that they can have incentives to remain in the country” he said.

He added, so if the national health insurance misses it this time around, practically 90 per cent of my members will leave this country, because, in other countries where they get it right, you would see that health insurance system is what we can call the backbone for the healthcare system in general, both in term of quality of service to the people and accessibility of care, especially for the common man.

Oladigbolu also disclosed that the aim of the summit was to assure the general public as well as fellow healthcare providers that the association has a great interest in universal health coverage as well as equal access to health for everybody, irrespective of the social and economic status of that person. As private providers, we want to partner with the government to make sure that this becomes a reality.

Also speaking at the event, graced by the leaders and representatives of all the interest groups of the PSN as well as ACPN chairmen and secretaries across the country, the PSN President, Prof. Cyril Usifoh, said the summit was timely as it came at a time a decision has to be taken concerning meeting up with the Universal Health Coverage.

“Whatever the resolution made here today will form part of our advocacy tools for us to use in discussing with the stakeholders towards solving the challenges that are facing the practice and that are hampering their delivery to the populace. So, our take is that whatever we have here today would be used by the PSN and form part of our advocacy tools.

The PSN boss who was represented by the Chairman, Lagos PSN, Pharm. Iyiola Gbolagade, said the new health insurance act is good, but it wouldn’t have been good for us if not for the signing into law of our Pharmacy Bill, which has become an act of the parliament.

Addressing participants at the summit, the Chairman of the occasion, Pharm. Anthony Akhimien, former president, PSN, commended the ACPN national chairman and his team for coming up with such a laudable programme, saying the challenges bedevilling community pharmacy practice today were born out of a lack of ideas and innovations.

He added that the programme was very apt as it had to do with a review of the NHIA,  coming under universal health coverage. As you are aware, the UHC focuses on equitable healthcare distribution and bringing healthcare to the doorstep of every Nigerian and the target is 2030. We once had a target of 2000, but it became a mirage, but with 2030 staring us in the face, we feel the only way to achieve that is by bringing everybody together, including the stakeholders to dialogue on the way forward.

“The best way to go is to collaborate, and we have started it. As they say, the journey of 100 years begins with a step, so what you have seen here today is pointing to collaboration as all stakeholders here today are here for the same cause. Others should replicate this, let us dialogue and make the consensus work, all for the patient’s benefit”.

Also speaking, the duo of Dr Ibrahim Akinwunmi Mustafa, permanent secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, and Pharm. Stella Aribeana, director, of Food and Drugs, Federal Ministry of Health, noted that to achieve universal health coverage, collaboration is critical, adding that the agenda of the government is to improve health and it cannot be done in isolation, hence the need for carrying other healthcare professionals along.

The summit themed:  “Strengthening Private Sector Engagement For Universal Health Coverage: National Health Insurance System and the Future of Community Pharmacy Practice in Nigeria”, had in attendance, other eminent personalities in the pharmaceutical industry, including Dr Ernest Okafor, chairman, PWDAN; Pharm. Abiola Paul-Ozieh, chairman, HCPAN, Lagos State; Dr Abiola Idowu, executive secretary, HEFAMA; Pharm. Adeosun Sakirat, DPS, Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board; Pharm. Gafar Madehin, Pharm. Anthony Bola Oyawole; Pharm. Ambrose Ezeh; among others.

 

 

WHO Partners Health Bodies, Commences PHEOC Simulation Exercise in Congo

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Photo credit – WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Africa, in collaboration with other international health bodies,  has launched the largest public health emergency operation centre (PHEOC) simulation exercise in Congo.

The unveiling which took place on Wednesday, 6 December, 2022, was in collaboration with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the West African Health Organisation, the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the UK Health Security Agency, the Robert Koch Institute, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is to increase preparedness to public health emergencies response.

This disclosure was made on Tuesday at the WHO Regional Office for Africa by the health organisation’s Regional Emergency Director, Dr Abdou Salam Gueye.

By simulating the early detection of an Ebola outbreak in a hypothetical nation and its subsequent spread to numerous nations across the region through international travel and trade, the exercise aims to evaluate and enhance the effectiveness of nations’ public health emergency management structures.

“With more than 100 public health emergencies reported in the African region each year, the heaviest burden globally, it is critical to ensure that robust, coordinated structures are in place to respond to such threats.

“This simulation exercise is an important tool in identifying strengths as well as areas that require improvement within such structures and building an action plan accordingly,” Gueye said.

A regional PHEOC network was developed by the WHO Regional Office for Africa in 2015, and the organisation has since continued to assist nations in creating this vital part of efficient health emergency management.

Resolutions of African nations from a conference in October 2017 suggested that WHO and partners perform simulation exercises to evaluate the effectiveness of these institutions, as well as communication and information exchange across countries, during a regional PHEOC network.

The ongoing Ebola outbreak in Uganda served as the setting for the most recent simulation. A total of 164 cases—142 confirmed and 22 probable—as well as 56 confirmed and 22 probable fatalities have been recorded from Uganda, with a total of 78 deaths.

The level of cross-border migrations between Uganda and its neighbours for commerce, social, and cultural reasons was deemed to be a significant factor in the danger of the outbreak spreading to neighbouring countries, according to a WHO evaluation done in November. Additionally, Uganda takes in a large number of refugees who maintain connections with their home countries.

“Past Ebola epidemics, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, have underscored the need to harmonise our mode of operation in the face of increasingly transnational and fast-spreading public health emergencies.

“WHO, its partners and African countries will continue to work together to ensure that the region is ready to respond to future outbreaks in an effective, collaborative and cohesive manner,” Dr Gueye said.

Healthcare in 2023: 5 Digital Trends to Watch

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Healthcare
Healthcare Trends in 2023 – Photo credit: Medical News Bulletin

It’s no secret that the healthcare industry is in the midst of a digital transformation. From patient portals to the use of virtual reality, there’s no shortage of new technologies that are changing the way healthcare is delivered.

In a recent report, McKinsey & Company predicted that digital health would account for a $305 billion opportunity by 2025, and there are many reasons for this.

First, healthcare costs are rising around the world, and digital health has the potential to help contain costs. Secondly, patients are increasingly taking a more active role in their own health and wellness, and digital health tools can empower patients to manage their health more effectively. Thirdly, the digital revolution is enabling the development of more sophisticated health technologies, such as wearables, that can collect data about our health in real-time.

As we move into the next decade, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and understand the digital trends that will shape healthcare in 2023. Here are five trends to watch out for:

  1. The Rise of Telemedicine:

With the increasing demand for healthcare services and the ever-growing technological advances, telemedicine is becoming a more viable option for healthcare providers and patients alike.

What is telemedicine?

Racial Disparity in Follow-Up Appointment Attendance After Hospitalization  Disappears As Telemedicine Adopted - Penn Medicine
Photo credit: Penn Medicine

Telemedicine is the use of telecommunications and information technologies to provide medical care from a distance. This can include consultations, diagnosis, and treatments. It is a growing field that is being used more and more to provide access to care, particularly in rural and underserved areas.

There are many benefits to telemedicine. For patients, it can provide access to care that they would not otherwise have. It can also be more convenient and less expensive than in-person visits. For healthcare providers, it can help to increase patient satisfaction and reduce costs.

As the demand for healthcare services continues to grow, telemedicine is likely to become an increasingly popular option. It is a trend to watch out for in 2023.

2. The Growth of AI in Healthcare:

 

Photo credit: Healthcare Business Club

Another trend that is expected to gain significant traction is the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Healthcare organisations are already beginning to adopt AI technologies in a variety of ways, such as using chatbots to communicate with patients and using machine learning to process and analyse data.

AI offers a number of advantages for healthcare organisations. For example, it can help to improve patient outcomes by providing personalised care, reducing errors and providing recommendations based on data. Additionally, AI can help to improve efficiency by automating tasks such as appointment scheduling and record keeping.

As AI technologies continue to advance, it is likely that we will see even more healthcare organisations adopting AI in the coming years. This trend is one that is definitely worth watching out for in 2023.

3. The Rise of Wearable Tech:

In 2023, the digital world will be increasingly defined by what we wear. The rise of wearable technology will allow us to interact with our devices in new and intimate ways, and healthcare will be one of the most important applications of this trend.

Future Inventions You Need To See In 2020 - Jalb Server
Photo credit – Jalb Server

Wearable tech will allow us to track our fitness and health data in real-time, giving us unprecedented insight into our own bodies. This data will be used to help us make better decisions about our health, and to automate the delivery of care. For example, our devices will be able to detect early signs of illness and alert us to seek medical attention.

This trend will also have a major impact on the way we interact with our surroundings. With the advent of Augmented Reality (AR), we will be able to see digital information superimposed on the real world. This will change the way we shop, learn, and even  socialise .

4. The Growth of 3D Printing:
The most important 3D printing trends | ALSO
3D printing trends | Photo credit: ALSO Holding AG

There is no doubt that 3D printing is a digital trend to watch out for in 2023. The technology has already revolutionised the healthcare industry, and it is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, the global 3D printing market is expected to grow from $6.28 billion in 2018 to $32.78 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 35.5% during the forecast period (2018-2023).

One of the main reasons why 3D printing is such a big deal is because it has the potential to greatly reduce the cost of healthcare. For example, 3D-printed implants are often much cheaper than traditional ones, and they can be customised to fit each patient perfectly. In addition, 3D-printed prosthetics are becoming more and more realistic, and they are much more affordable than their traditional counterparts.

Another reason to be excited about 3D printing is that it is becoming more and more accessible. Mainstream 3D printers are becoming more affordable, and there are now even 3D printers that can be used at home. In addition, the technology is becoming more user-friendly, making it easier for people of all skill levels to use.

So, if you’re looking for a digital trend to watch out for in 2023, 3D printing is definitely one to keep an eye on. Healthcare is just one of the many industries that is being transformed by this amazing technology, and it is only going to become more popular in the years to come.

  1. The rise of digital health records:
Data capture's impact on electronic health records | ABBYY Blog
Photo credit: ABBYY Blog

Digital health records are one of the most important digital trends to watch out for in 2023. This is because they have the potential to revolutionise healthcare and make it more efficient and effective.

Digital health records are electronic health records that are stored on a computer. They can be accessed by authorised healthcare providers, which makes them more secure and confidential than paper records.

NGO to Remove Barriers Women with Disabilities Face in Accessing Healthcare

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Voice of Disability Initiative – Photo credit: Inclusive News Network

An NGO, Voice of Disability Initiative (VDI) has called on stakeholders to push for the recognition and realisation of sexual and reproductive healthcare rights of women and girls with disabilities.

The Executive Director of the NGO, Ms Catherine Edeh, made the call at a one-day workshop for law enforcement agencies and stakeholders.

The News Agency of Nigera (NAN)reports that the workshop that focused on the protection of women and girls with disabilities from violence, held on Wednesday in Keffi, Keffi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.

Edeh said that the challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities in accessing healthcare facilities in the state cannot be mitigated without the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders.

This, she said’, was by coming together to lend their support and voices by prioritising the healthcare needs of women and girls with disabilities.

Participants at the workshop

She expressed hope that the workshop would help to reduce the challenges faced by women and girls with disabilities in the state in accessing healthcare facilities.

Edeh said evidence gathered by the NGO revealed that about 80 per cent of them complained of attitudinal and discriminatory practices meted to them by healthcare providers.

She said: “It is even worse to those accessing public health facilities. Most of them made the same compliants.

“They said that when they experienced such attitudes and discrimination, they tended to seek for alternative healthcare by going to pharmacy ships or using traditional methods, which is most times endanger their lives.

” It is on this premise, that we are all here today to further understand the challenges faced by this vulnerable population.

“We want to have an informed judgement or opinion on how to deal with the issues that will arise as a result of their rights violations as we carry out our daily work.”

Edeh, however, commended Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State for his efforts in ensuring the domestication of the Disability Act in the state.

She added that doing so would facilitate the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.

On his part, Dr Jonathan Isa, a Consultant Gynecologist with the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, said protection of the health rights of women and girls with disabilities against sexual related violence was very necessary.

Isa said: “It is important that these issues are being raised and discussed so that deliberate policies and sensitisation of both health workers and non health personnel take steps to protect to curb the menace.

” We must begin to take into cognisance what we can do in order to protect this category of citizens.

“At the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, for instance, deliberate efforts are being made to ensure that when persons with disabilities come to access healthcare services, they do so without any hitches.” (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Oxfam, Teenagers Advocate Friendly Environment for Girls

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The girl child – Photo credit: Guardian

Oxfam in Nigeria and some teenage girls have advocated a more friendly environment for girls to thrive in Nigeria.

They made the call at the Oxfam in Nigeria’s programme to commemorate the International Day of the Girl-child.

This is part of events to mark the 16 Days of Activism to curb violence against women and girls.

Ms Dolapo Balogun ,a 13-year-old from Champions International School, Magboro ,Ogun, said it was difficult to be a girl.

Balogun, who became the Oxfam IDG 2022 Challenge winner said:  ”A little help from stakeholders around would help in solving the challenges of the girl-child in Nigeria .

She said: “To be honest, it is very tough to be a girl-child ,but now that the world is moving, we have institutions that are helping the girl-child compared to before.

“This has also made girl-child discrimination to reduce although not completely.

“Some of the challenges girls face include discrimination, lack of respect, marginalisation believing that their only role is to come to the world and give birth ,take care of children and the home.

“So, I want the goverments, NGOs and others to help in creating awareness to people to give superiority to girls to make them feel like they are people in the world, it will actually help to build their self esteem.

”Some people believe that girls aren’t supposed to have ambition. In the olden days, girls did not even go to school.”

Balogun added that some girls too do not believe in themselves and the society’s perception about them has weighed them down.

She said: ”That was why most of the old women around were not educated because only the males went to school during their time.”

The student commended Oxfam in Nigeria for supporting the girl-child and for initiating the IDG Challenge.

“I was surprised to have won because I felt there were many people too who must have sent their work , so the chance is very slim for me to win,” she said.

Ms Helen Akinyemi, Programme Manager for Gender Justice Unit, Oxfam in Nigeria, said although the IDG was celebrated on Oct.12 annually, Oxfam decided to celebrate it in December.

Akinyemi said OXfam intentionally integrated it into the 16 days of activism for 2022 to keep the discussion alive.

She said: “So, we want to use this opportunity to look at the views, challenges and experiences of every girl-child in Nigeria and beyond.

“We also want to use this opportunity to bring to the world the importance of empowering the girl-child globally.

“It is also to look at the policies, framework, tools and protocols that protect the rights of the girl-child .”

Akinyemi said that the event was also an opportunity to commend the Federal Government for passing the Child Rights Act.

She said Oxfam also commended the 24 states that had adopted the Child’s Rights Act as well as the 34 states that have adopted the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act.

Aknyemi said that the nationwide IDG competition was to enable girls to talk about their challenges themselves.

She said: ”The announcement for the competition was posted on every social media platform for girls between seven to 17 years old to apply .

“Some of the girls sent in their two minutes recording, telling us what it means to be a girl child in Nigeria and this was sent to our official email created for this challenge and a winner emerged.” (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy to hold AGM, Investiture of New Fellows

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 Investiture
2022 Investiture of New Fellows

The Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPHARM) is set to hold its Annual General Meeting & Investiture of News Fellows on Thursday, 8 December, 2022, at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Ikeja, Lagos.

Themed: “Advancing Pharmacy for Economic Prosperity in Nigeria”, the event will commence at 10am and 1pm respectively.

The investiture will feature Aare Afe Babalola, founder, Afe Babalola University, as Honorary Fellow.

Some of the new Fellows to be decorated are Pharm. Ibrahim Babashehu Ahmed, registrar, Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN); Pharm (Dr. Mrs) Christiana Ekwutos Akpa; Pharm. (Prof.) Gbenga Alebiowu; Pharm. (Dr) Kingsley Chiedu Amibor; Pharm (Mrs) Stella Olubunmi Aribeana; Pharm. (Mrs) Joke Bakare; Pharm. (Mrs) Talatu Uwa Ebune; Pharm.Christopher Eromonsele Ehimen; Pharm.(Prof) Ene Ikpong Ette; Pharm. (Sir) Valentine Ifeabunike Ezeiru.

Review Retrogressive Policies in Health Sector, Nurses Task FG

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Chairman, Lagos State NANNM, Nr. Olurotimi Awojide

Nurses under the aegis of National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, NANNM, have called on the Federal Government to review retrogressive policies in the healthcare sector, which have hitherto made the country emerged among nations with worse health indices, particularly infant mortality rate in Sub-Saharan Africa.

They also charged the government on investment in nurses and nursing profession, absence of which, according to them has led to massive brain drain of nurses, quackery, acute shortage of nurses in hospitals, poor patients outcomes, increase in infant and maternal morbidity and mortality, among many others.

The nurses bared their minds to the government at the 2022 Scientific Week of Lagos State NANNM, held recently at the NANNM Secretariat, Agidingbi, Lagos.

Addressing government functionaries and participants at the conference, the Lagos NANNM Chairman, Nr. Olurotimi Awojide, decried the nation’s woeful health indices among neighbouring countries, describing it as unacceptable for Nigeria to be leading with worse infants mortality rate in West Africa.

Cross section of nurses at the scientific conference.

Citing the Lancet (2022) report, he said “Nigeria has worse infant mortality rate compared with neighbouring West African countries and inadequate or lack of Skilled birth attendants. Matemal mortality and under-5 mortality is still very high. ThisDay newspaper quoted the Hon. Minister of Health as saying that the maternal mortality rate of about 512 per100,000 births is about the worst in the world.

“UNICEF in the report on situation of women and children in Nigeria reported that while the country represents 2.4 per cent  of the world’s population, it currently contributes 10 per cent of global deaths for pregnant mothers.

“The Federal Ministry of Health therefore needs to review some of the policies that are impeding progress in the health sector”.

Speaking on the theme of the conference” Nurses: A voice to Lead, Invest in Nursing and Respect the Rights to secure Global Health”, Awojide noted that nurses as a voice to lead is recognising the strategic position of nurses in the health sector and the need for them to be the mouthpiece for positive changes. “We are the engine room for health system. It also means active involvement in policies development and implementation”.

The Lagos NANNM Chairman further mentioned some of the grey areas in the practice which is inhibiting good healthcare for Nigerians, such as lack of adequate investment, overworking due to shortage of nurses, undervalue and underpayment, which has led many nurses seeking greener pastures abroad. Between 2019 and mid-2022, he said at least 4,460 nurses migrated from Nigeria to the United Kingdom(UK), an increase of 68.4 per cent  from 2,790 in March 2017 to 7,256 in March 2022.

He identified quackery in the profession as a big menace that should be dealt with. The greed by healthcare practitioners in private practice who want to make mega-profits through the use of cheap labour is responsible for the proliferation of quacks. Quackery is discrediting nursing education and soiling the reputation of healthcare  in Nigeria. He media men  to always verify the professional-qualification of an individual before going to the press or on air. “Many at times people that are not our members have been portrayed as nurses”, he asserted.

In restoring an improved healthcare system, he recommended some measures that can be adopted by the government such as incentives to become a nurse and remain in the profession, continuous and specialised training, low interest loans for housing, tax incentives, proper placement of nurses especially GLI0 as entry point as approved by the National Council on Establishment, availability of resources to work with, personalised official vehicles for directors of nursing services and apex nurses.

Speaking with Pharmanewsonline.com in an exclusive interview during the occasion, the association’s Secretary, Nr. Toba Odumosun expressed satisfaction with the theme and choice of speakers for the conference, saying it is time for nurses in Nigeria to demand their rights for adequate care and training, in order for them to deliver a healthy sector.

Also in a chat with the Publicity Secretary of the association, Mr. Adenike Akila, she reiterated the views of the chairman on adequate investment in nurses as the largest healthcare practitioners in the country, as well as the closest to patients, as they are always staying by patients bedside to offer optimum care to them.

She emphasised that if the suggestions put forward by Awojide are embraced by the federal and state governments, definitely there will be significant improvement in Nigeria’s healthcare indices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Groundnut, the Earthnut of Great Value

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Groundnut
Groundnut – Photo credit: Licensed Image

Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), also called peanut, earthnut, or goober, a legume of the pea family (Fabaceae or Leguminosae), grown for its edible seeds, is a delicious and healthy nut. It is called gyada in Hausa, ntu oka or ahuekere in Igbo, and epa in Yoruba.

Constituents

Groundnut is rich in macronutrients, such as protein (the amino acid, Arginine), carbohydrate, fibre and sugars; minerals, like potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, calcium, sodium, iron, copper, biotin and zinc; as well as vitamins E, B1, B2, B3, B6 and folate. It also contains monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, saturated fats, resveratrol, coumaric acid, and phytosterols.

Preparations

Groundnut may be eaten raw, boiled, fried or roasted. It may be available as oil, paste, added to shakes, smoothies, puddings, salads, stir-fried veggies, sliced apples, bread toasts, sauce for meat (in suya and kilishi).

One of the commonest preparations of groundnut is peanut butter, known as “ose oji” or “okwu oji” in Igbo; «epa bota» in Yoruba and «gyada butter» in Hausa.

Pharmacological Actions and Medicinal Uses

The protein-rich composition of groundnut makes it great for people who are either trying to lose weight or trying to gain muscle strength. Groundnuts provide satiety, due to its fibre content, which helps in curbing appetite and managing junk cravings.

Studies reveal that a moderate intake of peanuts daily can help in improving heart health (by reducing bad cholesterol (LDL), preventing blockage in the arteries). It also reduces the risk of strokes and boosts overall immunity.

According to the studies, adding peanuts to diets can improve brainpower and brain functioning, as well as significantly improving ailments like Alzheimer’s disease and boosting memory.

Peanuts also help in reducing depressive symptoms by releasing serotonin; the presence of Tryptophan helps in inducing sleep and improving mental health.

Studies have linked the consumption of peanuts to a lower risk of gallstones in both men and women and lower risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Several studies report that peanut intake is associated with reduced risk of several cancers, such as colorectal cancer, postmenopausal breast cancer, gastric and oesophageal cancers. This anticancer property has been attributed to isoflavones, resveratrol, and phenolic acid found in peanuts.

Studies also suggest that peanuts may serve as a possible treatment for erectile dysfunction because of their rich content of arginine, an essential amino acid; also polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) because they contain monounsaturated fats.

Anecdotal evidence suggest that peanut consumption may protect the skin from sunburn and damage and also fight bacteria and make the skin glow as a result of the presence of vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc.

Adverse Effects

Too much peanuts intake at one time may lead to stomach discomfort. Constipation, diarrhoea and bloating are common issues associated with excessive peanuts intake.

Eating mouldy peanuts can lead to aflatoxin poisoning. It may impair liver function and lead to jaundice, fatigue, loss of appetite, liver damage and liver cancer. Peanuts may also cause allergic reaction or inhibit iron absorption.

Economic Uses and Potentials

During the processing of groundnuts into oil, the groundnut cake can be used as feed for livestock and poultry or as well used in the production of the locally made Nigerian snack, known as kuli kuli, which is very common in the north.

A 100kg bag of raw unshelled groundnut costs about N80,000, while a bottle of deshelled, roasted groundnut costs between N1,000-N1,200. There are prospects for groundnut in cultivation, sales, food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.

References

Koganti S, (2022). Peanuts: 12 Health Benefits, Nutrition, And Possible Side Effects. Available at: https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-health-benefits-of-peanuts/. Accessed October 28, 2022.

Syrup versus Tablet: Which is a Better Option?

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Tablet of Pills and Syrup Medicine – Photo Credit: iStock Photos

Different forms of medication are available to treat different medical conditions. Depending on the condition being treated, the patient’s age, and other factors, the doctor will prescribe the appropriate form of medication. The most common forms of medication are syrup and tablet.

A lot of people don’t know the difference between syrup and tablet medication. So, let’s start with a brief introduction to each.

Syrup is a liquid form of medicine that is taken by mouth. It is usually less expensive than tablet medicine, and it can be easier to take for some people. Syrup is also typically faster-acting than tablet medicine, making it a good choice for short-term relief.

Tablet medicine on the other hand is a solid form of medicine that is taken by mouth. It is more expensive than syrup, but it can last longer in the body. Tablet medicine is also typically slower-acting than syrup, making it a good choice for long-term relief.

There are also other forms of medication, such as creams, gels, patches, and injections. These can be more effective than pills or syrup, but they can also be more expensive and more difficult to take.

Syrup vs Tablet: A Pharmacist View

Meet Our Personality of the Month: Pharm. Kingsley Ekwunife
Pharm. Kingsley Ekwunife

One common question that patients often ask is whether it is better to take syrup or a tablet. While there is no definitive answer, there are some factors to consider that may help you make a decision.

In an exclusive interview with Pharmanewsonline, the Vice-Chairman, Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) Lagos State Chapter, Pharm. Kingsley Ekwunife, said it is not easy to conclude on which is more efficient.

“Syrups are basically oral formulations. What determines if either one is fast is the route of administration. Generally we have about four routes of administration. We have the oral, intramuscular, intravenous, and subcutaneous route of administration, where you apply on the skin. All the oral routes of administration are basically the same timing in terms of effectiveness. So, for syrup and tablet, there’s no difference,” he said.

Speaking on why people prefer one to the other, he said: “People prefer syrup for instance to tablets because of the flavour that is added to its formulations. Children most especially choose these modes of medications as well as the elderly, because they are old and cannot swallow properly. Tablets on the other hand cannot be flavoured.”

He further disclosed that the absorption of either syrup or tablet into a patient’s body has to do with the pharmacokinetics properties of the drug.

“Before drugs are dissolved, they would have to be taken orally and absorbed into the blood streams. After which they would be distributed to the various organs before they get to their targets where they can now exert their actions.

“Some drugs are formulated depending on the binders use. Some have short half-life, while some have long half-lives. So, absorption of the drug into the blood has to do with chemistry of the drug not necessarily the formulation, be it tablet or syrup. For those that have short half-life, they get to their site of action faster. That is what half-life simply means – the time it takes half.”

Scientific Findings on Which is More Efficient

 

Tablet
Photo credit- Arab News

When it comes to syrup and tablet medications, there are both advantages and disadvantages to consider. Some people may prefer one over the other, while others may find that one type of medication works better for them than the other.

A new scientific study has revealed the advantages and disadvantages of syrup and tablet medications. The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of California and published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, found that syrup medications are more effective than tablet medications in treating certain medical conditions. However, the study also found that tablet medications are more convenient and have fewer side effects than syrup medications.

The study looked at the efficacy of different medication formulations in treating three different medical conditions: colds, flu, and sinus infections. The researchers found that syrup medications were more effective than tablet medications in treating colds and flu. However, they found that tablet medications were more effective than syrup medications in treating sinus infections.

The study also looked at the convenience and side effects of different medication formulations. The researchers found that tablet medications are more convenient than syrup medications. They also discovered that syrup medications have more side effects than tablet medications.

Below are some of the key points highlighted by the study :

Advantages of syrup medications

1. Syrup medications are typically easier to take than tablet medications. They can be swallowed without water and don’t need to be taken with food.

2. Syrup medications are often more effective than tablet medications. This is because they are absorbed more quickly by the body.

3. Syrup medications are less likely to cause stomach upset than tablet medications.

Disadvantages of syrup medications:

1. Syrup medications can be messier to take than tablet medications. They can also be sticky and may require a spoon or syringe to take.

2. Syrup medications may not be suitable for people who are lactose intolerant or have other allergies.

3. Syrup medications can be more expensive than tablet medications.

Advantages of tablet medications:

1. Tablet medications are easy to take and can be swallowed with water or taken with food.

2. Tablet medications are less likely to cause stomach upset than syrup medications.

3. Tablet medications are typically more affordable than syrup medications.

Disadvantages of tablet medications:

1. Tablet medications may not be as effective as syrup medications. This is because they are absorbed more slowly by the body.

2. Tablet medications can be difficult to take for people who have trouble swallowing pills.

3. Some tablet medications may need to be taken with food in order to be effective.

The Verdict: Which is the Better Option?

In today’s world, people are always looking for the best and most efficient way to do things. When it comes to choosing between tablet or syrup, there is no clear-cut answer. Both have their pros and cons, and ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference.

When it comes to cough syrup or tablets, there is no clear verdict on which is the better option. It really depends on the person and the severity of their symptoms. For example, someone with a mild cough may find that a tablet is all they need to get relief. Meanwhile, someone with a more severe cough may need the extra help that cough syrup can provide. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide which option is best for them.

 

WHO Cautions against Decline in COVID-19 Protocols Observance

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COVID-19
WHO Director General, Adhanom Ghebreyesus Tedros – Photo credit: The Letterman

Decline in COVID-19 safety protocols adherence this year has created a gap for a lethal new strain to evolve, while infections have increased in regions of China, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has observed.

WHO Director General, Adhanom Ghebreyesus Tedros disclosed this recently, months after he said that the world has never been in a better position to end the pandemic.

“We are much closer to being able to say that the emergency phase of the pandemic is over, but we’re not there yet.

“Gaps in testing … and vaccination are continuing to create the perfect conditions for a new variant of concern to emerge that could cause significant mortality,” Tedros said.

According to the WHO, over 90 per cent of the world’s population currently has some level of protection to SARS-COV-2, either through earlier illness or immunisation.

COVID- 19 infections have reached all-time highs in China and have begun to climb in parts of the United Kingdom following months of decrease.

Recently, the relaxation of COVID-19 testing criteria and quarantine laws in several Chinese towns was welcomed with a combination of relief and concern, as hundreds of millions awaited a shift in national viral policy following growing social upheaval.

“While COVID-19 and flu can be mild infections for many, we must not forget that they can cause severe illness or even death for those most vulnerable in our communities”, Mary Ramsay, director of public health programmes at the UK Health Security Agency, said.

The WHO advised governments worldwide to prioritise reaching out to individuals at risk for immunisation, such as those over the age of 60 and those with underlying diseases.

Why Breast Cancer Patients Need Adequate Information from Oncologists – Expert

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For the battle against breast cancer to be won in Africa, oncologists and radiologists must create avenues for patients to be thoroughly informed about their condition and care plan, as this will position them for better treatment outcomes.

This was disclosed by Dr Joel Yarney, director, National Centre for Radiotherapy Oncology & Nuclear Medicine, Korle-bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana.

Yarney, who made the remarks at the recent Pfizer’s virtual Media Roundtable in commemoration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, held annually in November, said it is the obligation of cancer experts to promote a healthy dialogue between patients and their healthcare teams. This, he said, will enhance their understanding of the condition as well as empower them to participate in their own care.

According to the cancer specialist, “The transformative impact of science on breast cancer is evident within the breast cancer community. While we’ve made meaningful changes for those living with this disease, our work is far from finished. It is crucial for patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer or even metastatic breast cancer to have the right information and expectations.

“It is our duty to encourage patients to have open conversations with their healthcare teams to understand how they can be supported and how they can participate in their own care. Taking an active role in their treatment can help them feel empowered in making the best decisions for themselves”.

Also present at the programme was Consultant Clinical and Radiation Oncologist, NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria, Dr Adewumi Alabi, who emphasised the need for clinical research funding in breast cancer.

Alabi, who highlighted the various challenges encountered by practitioners and patients due to poor funding, also explained restraints faced by practitioners in administering donated cancer drugs to patients because they have not been clinically tested and proven safe for Nigerians.

She listed other factors limiting optimal cancer care in the country to include inadequate infrastructure, shortage of specialists, inadequate awareness creation, late diagnosis, poor diet, global warming and climate change.

Speaking on the significance of the gathering, the consultant oncologist said, “The importance of clinical research in breast cancer care cannot be overemphasized. These forums are critical as they allow us to share our best insights and findings that can support patients in winning the battle against cancer. Breast cancer itself is one of the deadliest diseases with a high prevalence in the area.

“On a positive note, we now have evidence-based updates and real-world data, showing the efficacy of prescriptions in the management of HR+ HER2- mBC patients.”

Fielding questions from journalists at the event, Medical Director, East & Anglo West Africa, Pfizer, Kodjo Soroh, dispelled the notion that using microwave oven causes breast cancer, stating that the device does not have enough energy to cause breast cancer or any other cancer.

Soroh further emphasised the need for early detection of breast cancer, noting that patients with early presentation have a better chance of survival than those with late diagnosis.

In his words, “Microwave cannot cause cancer because it does not have enough energy to distract the DNA. While clinical examination is okay for those that cannot afford mammography, it is recommended for premenopausal women to have annual examination, and post-menopausal women are advised to have breast examination twice yearly.

“Oncology remains a key therapeutic field for Pfizer in which we are working to deliver medical breakthroughs that have the potential to change patients’ lives across the region significantly and we are proud of these achievements.”

Breast Augmentation: Beyond Aesthetics and Esteem

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Breast Augmentation
Photo credit: American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Naturally, a woman’s breasts play very significant roles in creation. Beyond producing and housing the milk  that caters to the feeding and survival needs of infants and children, they also symbolise femininity and constitute a confidence-booster for the average woman.

Even older men are still attracted to the breasts of their spouses. As echoed in the biblical book of Proverbs 5:18-19, the fact that a woman’s breasts remain one of the sources of satisfaction for her husband shows that God Himself had a special purpose for creating them and this purpose transcends the production of breast milk for her babies.

The sophistication of modern life has made many women to begin to find ways of altering the sizes of their breasts, as a response to what they term feelings of inadequacy or the desperate hunger for a better physique. The religious would readily interpret this to mean that such women are not satisfied with God’s creation and, so, are trying to reshape what He has endowed them with. Beauty enthusiasts, however, strongly disagree with this viewpoint.

There are many reasons women engage in what is universally known as breast augmentation. One is the need to look youthful, beautiful and fully feminine. Such women believe that the fuller the breast, the more beautiful and attractive they become to the opposite sex.

Another reason women augment their breasts is to restore firmness or volume, following months of breastfeeding their babies. This is usually the case with women who jealously and passionately guard their physical beauty. They do not want anything that would give them away as people depreciating in appearance. There are also those who undergo breast augmentation in order to correct flaws created by a previous surgery, while others who have undergone mastectomy as part of their breast cancer therapy also embrace breast augmentation.

One thing that is glaring in all this is that women attach so much significance to their self-image, of which their breasts play a prominent part. However, despite the many good reasons women engage in breast augmentation, there are also risks involved. This is where cosmetic surgeons and others involved in the process must come open to their patients. Risks such as infection, rupture, capsular contracture, breast implant illness, and, in rare cases, cancer, are common.

For Dr Andy Wongworawat, a board-certified plastic surgeon and owner of Advanced Institute for Plastic Surgery, it is important that patients understand that breast augmentation is surgery and therefore prone to risks. “All surgeries, regardless of how common they seem, come with risks,” he said.

Statistics however indicate that there is only about one per cent risk of complications due to breast implants, with the most common being pain in the breast, changes in nipple and breast sensation, scar tissue formation, rupture and deflation. Dr Alexander Zuriarrain, a double board-certified plastic surgeon with Zuri Plastic Surgery, believes that warning guidelines on breast augmentation are very necessary in order to improve patient education, while taking cognizance of the risks associated with the process.

“All patients should understand the risks of breast implants to include additional surgeries, capsular contracture, implant rupture, and possible infection,” he said, adding that it is important for all patients to discuss breast augmentation with a board-certified plastic surgeon who has extensive training in the field.

Essentially, women must draw the line between beauty-seeking and their health. It is not profitable to incur dire health consequences in the quest to alter the size or shape of one’s breast. This is especially important, as the World Health Organisation and the US Food and Drug Administration have identified a connection between breast implants and a rare form of cancer called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

Universal Flu Vaccine Underway, Scientists Suggest

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Flu Vaccine
Universal Flu Vaccine – Photo credit: The Economic Times

A new research has revealed that an experimental flu vaccine that targets all known strains of the flu virus might give wide protection against illness.

The Lead Author, Scott Hensley, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania and his colleagues, published their findings in the journal Science.

According to the findings, the experimental flu vaccine relies on mRNA just like the COVID vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

The vaccine although still in early stages, having only been tested in mice and ferrets, gives vital evidence that a single injection may be used to protect against an entire family of viruses. If the vaccination is successful in humans, the strategy might be used   for other viral families, possibly including the coronavirus.

“There’s a real need for new influenza vaccines to provide protection against pandemic threats that are out there.

“If there’s a new influenza pandemic tomorrow, if we had a vaccine like this that was widely employed before that pandemic, we might not have to shut everything down,” Hensley said.

The vaccine would not replace annual flu injections, but it would give protection against serious illness and death from possible pandemic threats.

The present influenza vaccinations, according to the researchers, protect against seasonal flu but offer little protection against a novel strain that may emerge as a pandemic hazard.

For years, researchers have worked to develop a vaccination that would expose kids to every form of the flu they may possibly come in contact with in the future. However, the complexities of the flu virus and technical barriers have limited the study.

According to the researchers, the new vaccination produced substantial levels of antibodies to each of the 20 flu subtypes in ferrets and mice. This result was both surprising and encouraging, according to various specialists.

If the vaccine behaves similarly in people, “We’ll have a more broad coverage of influenza viruses — not only those that are circulating, but those that might spill over from the animal reservoir that might cause the next pandemic,” Alyson Kelvin, a vaccinologist at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, said.

The promising results from the animal tests have prompted researchers to move forward with human clinical trials. If researchers are successful in developing a universal flu vaccine that is effective in humans, the same approach could be applied to vaccines for other viruses down the line, including the coronavirus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group Decries Scarcity of HIV Test Kits, Consumables in Gombe

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The Civil Society for HIV and AIDS in Nigeria has decried the scarcity of HIV test kits and consumables in Gombe State.

The scarcity of HIV test kits, the group said, is causing strangulation of HIV/AIDS response in Gombe, adding that the target of 95-95-95 status by 2023, and ending AIDS by 2030 could be hampered.

Speaking during a media briefing held at the weekend as part of efforts to commemorate the 2022 World AIDS Day with the theme; Equalise to end AIDS,’ Gombe State Coordinator, Bashama Yusuf, urged the State Government to empower the Gombe State Agency for the Control of AIDS with needed resources to tackle HIV prevalence.

According to him, less than five organisations in the state are conducting HIV screening, stressing that it could be linked to a lack of test kits.

Yusuf said, “HIV/AIDS response starts first with you knowing your status. How do you know your status, you must get tested. How do you get tested there must be test kits, and there must be consumables. Now those test kits are not there, the consumables are not there. 

“The Agency in charge of coordinating the response is strangulated as it can’t deliver on its mandate and responsibilities. If we don’t have commodities how will people know their status, you are targeting 95 per cent of the population by 2023 and 95 per cent of those who know their status to be on drugs, and 95 per cent of those who have their drugs to reach suppression level.”

The CiSHAN Coordinator queried current statistics of HIV/AIDS in the state adding, “The data we are working with how are we sure it is accurate since we are not testing? The more we test people the more we know how many people we have and the need to plan for them. Only 30 per cent of the budget is released at the end of the day to GomSACA.”

“We call on the government to look critically into increased investment in HIV/AIDS response in the state. There should be increased budget allocation, with corresponding releases to ensure that Gombe State reaches and sustains epidemic control as targeted,” Yusuf said.

On his part, Muhammed Sabo, Gombe State Coordinator of the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, commended the State Government for launching the anti-stigma law.

He. however, lamented the challenge of implementation, while also accusing the government of discriminating against his members.

He said, “for the past four years we have been trying for our members to be employed by the government, but they refused to engage them. Government is the one stigmatising us”

Also speaking, North-East zonal Coordinator of CiSHAN Ahmed Yusuf, urged GomSACA to liaise with the government towards the timely purchase and use of test kits.

“Those in the State Agency for Control of AIDS should follow up because there was a commitment from the government that they are ready to support and buy the test kits. I’m using this opportunity to beg GomSACA to go to the government to ensure the test kits are bought and put into use.”

Copyright PUNCH

Pharma Manufacturing Will Thrive with Good Government Policies – Ezebuilo

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Pharm Bankole Ezebuilo

Pharm Bankole Ezebuilo is a consummate businessman in the pharmaceutical industry within and outside Nigeria. As managing director of Kayhelt Pharma, he is passionate about ensuring the availability of quality drugs to all Nigerians. In this exclusive interview with ADEBAYO OLADEJO and PATRICK IWELUNMOR, he talks about what government must do to create the enabling environment for pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria to thrive and deliver top quality medicines. Excerpts:

Who is Bankole Ezebuilo?

Bankole Aminu Ezebuilo is a graduate of pharmacy from the University of Jos. I have a master’s degree in Business Administration and a postgraduate diploma in Conflict Management and peace studies.  I am also an alumnus of the Lagos Business School and Strathmore Business School. I have done marketing and sales training in and out of the country. I am the chief executive officer of Kayhelt Pharma and Promedix. I also double as chairman of Caretec Limited and Everwatch Securities.

In 2018, I was a member of the Conference Planning Committee for the Oluyole 2018 PSN Conference in Ibadan, Oyo State. I was the CPC chairman of the Crocodile City 2019 PSN Conference in Kaduna.

I am presently the 2nd vice-chairman of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP). I am a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants, a Catholic Knight of St. John international. I am married to Engr. Mrs Uzoamaka Bankole Ezebuilo and we are blessed with four beautiful kids.

Can you share with us the vision of Kayhelt Pharma in the Nigerian pharmaceutical landscape?

A tree doesn’t make a forest. Kayhelt’s vision is to build a network of field men and women and together create mutual and enduring value. This will lead us to the ultimate vision which is to be one of Africa’s leading pharmaceutical firms.

Would you say your company is making the desired impact in terms of making quality drugs available to Nigerians?

Kayhelt is synonymous with quality. What we do, we do well. For the past 15 years, Kayhelt has impacted very well in the society in ensuring that patients get top-quality products at affordable prices. Delivering quality products at an affordable rate is also part of the vision of the company.

Tell us about some of your flagship products and how well they are doing in the market.

Some of our flagship products, Zoleric (Esomeprazole), Sflox (Levofloxacin), and Itracap (Itraconazole), can be said to be the second in the Nigerian market after the originator brand. They are widely accepted and are doing well in the market.

In the ophthalmic industry, Kayhelt has made a tremendous impact in providing ophthalmic diagnostics for ophthalmic surgeries that are not readily available in the market.

Pharmaceutical manufacturing in Nigeria is facing a lot of challenges. What do you think should be done by stakeholders to mitigate these challenges?

The right government policy will support the manufacturing sector to thrive. For drugs we can manufacture in Nigeria, government policy on importation of that particular molecule should be in place. There should be easy access to forex to import APIs, equipment, implementation of tax holiday, not overtaxing the manufacturing sector and the synergy of government agencies, such as the Customs, NAFDAC, PCN, NDLEA and the CBN. These will ease the bottlenecks businesses endure working with these agencies, and assuage the stress of accessing loan facilities from the Bank of Industry and commercial banks.

Also, there must be a collaboration between pharma industries in Nigeria, such that there will be local contract manufacturing and coming together to procure APIs in bulk. This also will reduce the cost of procurement which consequently will be more profitable and more affordable to the final consumers.

Despite the efforts of NAFDAC and PCN, fake and substandard drugs still flood the local market. What do you think is the problem and how can it be tackled?

The fake and substandard drug issue is a global menace; it is not peculiar to Nigeria. NAFDAC and PCN are doing their best on the matter, considering Nigeria’s porous borders. Pharmacists must dominate the pharma space, from manufacturing, importation and distribution to dispensing. This will go a long way in mitigating these challenges. Coordinated wholesale Drug Centres should be a top priority that will help tackle this problem.

Brain drain is the order of the day. Nigerian pharmacists are migrating to foreign countries for better opportunities and the promise of a better life. Government and PSN should be working to stop the trend.

If the government creates an enabling environment, professionals can travel to further their education, gain experience and will be eager to come home to practise. Pharmacists in the diaspora will be ready to invest both money and knowledge in the country.

The 95th PSN conference has come and gone. What are your observations in terms of organisation and impact in the pharmaceutical industry?

The conference was well attended, contrary to popular opinion. The CPC and LOC worked very hard to deliver a good conference. Kayhelt also treated pharmacists to the best gala night in the history of PSN conferences.

Our president, Prof. Cyril Usifoh, did so much to see that his first conference was a success. Knowledge was updated, relaxation was achieved and businesses were transacted. I think it was a time well spent for all the attendees.

What is the biggest challenge your company is facing in terms of meeting up with the drug needs of Nigerians and what do you think should be done to help on the part of the government?

Access to and availability of forex is a major barrier to providing essential drugs. Fluctuation of forex and the high debt profile of government agencies to pharma industries also impact on the industry negatively. If we have access to forex, a stable exchange rate, and if the federal and state government hospitals and agencies pay pharma companies on time, it will go a long way to ensure drug sufficiency in the country.

Any advice for pharmaceutical companies in the face of the economic challenges facing the country?

I will advise everyone to remain calm and focused; take the calculated risk and try as much as possible to remain afloat. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Power of Negotiation (2)

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negotiation
George O. Emetuche

Negotiate everything. – Mazi Sam I. Ohuabunwa

Preparation and being in the right frame of mind remain a necessity in the art of negotiation. You should be in control of your emotions. You must prepare adequately. You should do your best to know a little bit of the other party. This helps you at the table. The more you know the other party, the easier it is for you to get a win-win deal with the party.

Developing competency in negotiation helps the individual. Folks fail in their endeavours because they lack basic skills in negotiation. Businesspeople fail in negotiation because of the following reasons:

Inadequate preparation. When you fail to prepare internally, or research about the other party, you may experience poor performance on the table.

Use of intimidating behaviour. This is when you think you are superior to the other party. Mutual respect is a necessity on the table.

Impatience. Patient is a virtue. Don’t be in a hurry on the table. An impatient person is not the best negotiator.

Loss of temper. Negative emotions get a bad deal. Control your emotions.

Talking too much and listening too little. Talk less; talk only when necessary and listen more.

Arguing, instead of influencing. Unnecessary arguments may cause negative emotions.

When I teach the art of negotiation to entrepreneurs and professionals, I usually talk about relevant elements that get good deals on the table. As a businessperson, you need to know them. They are:

Issues: These are the things that are on the table and up for direct discussion.

Positions: These are negotiating parties’ stands on those issues.

Interest. This is the underlying motivation of what people want. It is whatever you care about that is potentially at stake in the negotiation. Interest is what take you to the table.

Knowledge of these three elements helps you to arrive at a win-win deal. Successful negotiators focus on harmonising interests; average negotiators focus on positions. Your duty is to get a solution that shares both interests. You need to understand your interest. You also need to understand their interest. When you do this, the next stage is to find a solution that shares both interests, to arrive at a win-win deal.

In trying to arrive at a win-win deal, you need to find out what the other side wants, and what they really want. What they want is position. What they really want is interest. There’s a difference between what they want and what they really want. You need to explore negotiation tactics to discover the hidden elements.

Let me give examples of “what they want” and “what they really want” questions. At the negotiating table, you could ask the other party: “What do you want in this deal?” The response could be: “We want the sum of five hundred million naira, and one hundred per cent payment within thirty days.” This is what they want, which is their position. But this term may not be okay for your team. So, your next question should be: “What do you really want in this deal?” Now, the other party will know that their first proposal for the transaction didn’t go down well with you, hence the second question.

What do you really want? is a question that usually leads to a conclusion. When the question is asked, the other party will likely come up with a better term that will close the deal. Therefore, you may have something like: “We will take four hundred and ninety million naira and six weeks payment period.” This will likely close the deal, if it is within your zone of possible agreement (ZOPA). Asking the right questions leads to a good deal.

As a sales professional or businessperson who desires to succeed, you must go the extra mile to improve your negotiation skills. the art of negotiation is essential in business. Negotiate everything!

Rheumatologist Lists Swollen, Stiff Joints as Early Signs of Rheumatic Arthritis

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  • As Pfizer Sensitises Patients on the Condition

Prof. Olufemi Adelowo

A Professor of Medicine and Consultant Rheumatologist, Olufemi Adelowo, has raised the importance of patients’ awareness on rheumatic arthritis (RA), saying it will enhance their early presentation for treatment, as there are no preventive measures for the disease.

Adelowo, who works at the Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM) Ikeja, Lagos, highlighted the early symptoms of RA as painful and swollen joints, especially the joints of the fingers, wrist, elbows, shoulders, knees and the peripheral joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disabling disease that affects the joints with pain, swelling, and stiffness. It is an autoimmune condition, which implies that the immune system attacks healthy cells in the body by error.

The World Health Organisation, WHO, has estimated rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases to be the second largest causes of disability worldwide, as measured by years lived with disability. The burden of these diseases is projected to be higher in low-income and middle-income countries owing to limited access to clinical services and treatments.

This explains the motive behind patients’ awareness campaign on the condition embarked upon by multinational biopharmaceuticals like Pfizer, as they seek to enlighten patients on the debilitating effects of the disease and the importance of early presentation for better outcomes.

In one of its recent advocacies, displayed on its official website, Pfizer remarked that RA is a focus of its inflammation and immunology therapeutic area, declaring its willingness to partner with thousands of study sites and tens of thousands of trial participants around the world.

The rheumatologist, in an exclusive interview with Pharmanewsonline,  mentioned other presenting features of RA such as stiffness in the joints, fever, weight loss, excessive fatigue, general unwell and anaemia. He advised patients to seek medical attention immediately they observe any of these symptoms. He however noted that the disease does not affect the joint of the spine.

“Basically, the presentation is that of arthritis, that is, you have painful and swollen joints, especially the joints of the fingers, the wrist, elbows, shoulders, knees and it also affects the peripheral joints. It does not dwell on the joint of the spine.

“Another presenting feature is stiffness in the joint, especially when people wake up in the morning and they are as stiff as wood and finds it difficult to stretch. They may also run a fever, lose weight, and go through constitutional symptoms like excessive fatigue. They generally feel unwell, and they may also come in with anaemia. Those are the common features at the onset and that’s what to look out for”, he explained.

Additionally, he said RA can also affect so many other structures of the body like the lungs, heart, blood, liver and so on, but there is no established cause of the disease.

With the prevalence rate of the disease in Nigeria pegged around 40 per cent, studies suggest that the cause of the condition is not far fetched from environmental infections and human genes.

Affirming this, Adelowo said “We do not know what the cause is, but we think it is an interaction with the environment and something within the body itself. That is, the gene.

“That is why we talk of the shared episode in the gene, particularly manifesting in people who smoke. There have been some bacteria and viruses in the environment that could have been the cause but honestly, we do not know what triggers off the rheumatoid arthritis in the first instance, but we know there is an interaction between something within the environment like some germs and the genes in the body”.

Corroborating the rheumatologist’s view, Dr Ugochukwu Nzeako, a trauma surgeon, at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, identified hereditary as a major cause of RA, stating that once it’s in the gene of parents, there is every possibility that members of the family may come down with the disease.

He said previous studies conducted on the disabling disease have shown that it occurs more in women than men. While risk increases with age, it’s however occurs at any age, as prevalence spans across all age groups.

Differentiating between RA and osteoarthritis, the professor of medicines said while RA affects all age groups, osteoarthritis affects only the elderlies. He further acknowledged the existence of other forms of arthritis, which according to him are more than 100 types, with different types of painful episodes.

 

Arthritis
Fingers of a patient suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

“When we say someone has arthritis, we are not saying much but arthritis is a manifestation of many conditions. As a matter of facts there are more than 100 types of arthritis. The osteoarthritis mentioned earlier, has been known to affect the older people while other arthritis cuts across all age group from the young to the very old”, he said.

Contrary to the propagation of some school of thoughts, that balance diet and physical exercise can help prevent this condition, the rheumatologist categorically stated  that there are no preventive measures, because it is an autoimmune condition. The sure way out is early detection, and effective management.

According to him: “There are no preventive measures as such because there are no diet that you can take or not take, there no medicines you can take or not take to prevent arthritis because it is something that comes by interactions within your gene and the environment. Nobody can predict who is going to have it and who would not.

“It is known to be managed by  specialists called rheumatologist for a start and they know the type of drugs to administer, as they have been trained to manage this condition. They are trained to undergo some investigations, like evidence of inflammation. There are blood tests that should be carried out to detect the evidence of inflammation in the body and one of them is Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and the other one is C-reactive protein (CRP).

“We also do the liver function test because primarily, the drugs we use to manage rheumatoid arthritis affects liver. Due to the involvement of many joints, we do not ask for x-rays of all the joints. What is going on in the other joints will reflect in the x-ray of the hands and the feet”, he disclosed.

The rheumatologist asserted that there is no known cure for RA presently, thus the adoption of supportive and palliative approaches in its management with aim to slow down disease progression, alleviate symptoms and reduce functional limitations, is crucial for patients best outcomes.

Medical Director, Pfizer East and West Africa, speaking during a virtual rheumatology awareness media roundtable, organised by Pfizer in the course of the year, noted that RA remains one of the most common rheumatic and musculoskeletal disease (RMDs) in the region.

He expressed optimism in Pfizer’s advocacy on the disease, which aims to continue raising awareness around treatments options on the condition.

“We want to work closely with the healthcare community to ensure early diagnosis, increased patient access and medication adherence”, he said.

 

 

 

Our Personality for this Month is Pharm. (Mrs) Modupe Adefunke Bakare

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PHARM. (MRS) MODUPE BAKARE

Pharm. (Mrs) Modupe Adefunke Bakare is the director of Pharmaceutical Services, and head of Pharmacy Department, General Hospital, Gbagada, Lagos State. She had her early education at Akoka Primary School, Akoka, Lagos; Lara Day Nursery and Primary School, Ikeja, Lagos; and Maryland Comprehensive Secondary School, Maryland, Lagos. She obtained her bachelor and master’s degrees in Pharmacy from the University of Lagos, in 1990 and 2000 respectively.

Bakare is a highly resourceful professional and mentor, with a strong commitment to making a positive impact on pharmacists, the pharmacy profession, her environment, and the world at large. In line with this passion, she has contributed immensely to the development and advancement of hospital pharmacy practice in Lagos State, as well as the successful implementation of the Sustainable Drug Revolving Fund (SDRF) programme in the state.

Bakare has acquired several professional qualifications, including Fellowship of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP): Certificate in Leadership and Management in Health, Department of Global Health, University of Washington; and Certificates in Supply Chain Fundamentals, Dynamics, and Analytics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston. She is also a certified supply chain analyst, as obtained from the International Supply Chain Education Alliance (ISCEA), USA.

She is a preceptor to residents of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP), while also supervising and she supervises the project dissertations of students of the college.

Bakare has served as a resource person/facilitator at several capacity building programmes to improve the skills and competencies of pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. Her areas of expertise include pharmacotherapeutics, pharmacovigilance, pharmacoepidemiology, pharmacy practice and administration, communication skills, among others.

She has also attended numerous trainings, capacity building programmes and conferences, both locally and internationally.

She is a member of several professional bodies, including Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN); Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN); Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPs); and the International Federation of Pharmacists (FIP),

She has received several awards, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to Pharmacy. She is a Merit Award Winner (MAW, PSN Lagos State). She also won Award of Excellence (from PSN Lagos State), ALPs Merit Award (AMA), and Distinguished Service Award (from AHAPN), among others.

Nigeria’s AIDS-Related Deaths Decline to 51,000 – FG

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HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, on Thursday, said the AIDS-related deaths in the country have declined from 264,463 in 2015 to about 51,000 in 2022.

Mustapha said this at an event in Abuja in commemoration of the 2022 World AIDS Day with the theme: ‘Equalize to End AIDS: Equal access to Treatment and Prevention services.’

The WAD is celebrated every December 1 annually to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories, such as increased access to treatment and prevention services.

 

The SGF said “Since this administration commenced in 2015, I am happy to note that our ongoing efforts to improve access to HIV services have led to a significant reduction in new HIV infections from over 103,000 in 2019 to 92,323 in 2021. In a similar vein, AIDS-related deaths significantly declined from an estimated 264,463 persons at the beginning of this administration to about 51,000 as of October this year.

“Treatment access experienced tremendous improvement since this administration came on board and we can gladly proclaim that access to Anti-Retro Viral Drugs and treatment for HIV has increased more than two-fold in the past five years with about 1.8 million persons now on treatment compared to about 800,000 persons on treatment in 2017.

 

 “The achievements above are heartwarming but HIV still remains an unfinished business because of barriers that pose a threat to ending AIDS by 2030 if not tackled headlong.”

 “I also use this opportunity to urge all State Houses of Assembly who are yet to pass the anti-discrimination bill for HIV

 

 to speedily do so. I kindly appeal to State Governors to abolish the payment of user fees that limit access of pregnant women to antenatal Services during pregnancy.”

In his welcome address, the Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr. Gambo Aliyu said Nigeria is focused on achieving epidemic control with about 90 per cent of PLHIV already identified and currently on treatment.

Gambo said “We have recorded significant growth in key population treatment sites from 10 in 2017 providing treatment to about 16,000 PLHIV to 118 sites in 2021 with coverage of over 220,000.

“Kindly recall that President Muhammadu Buhari launched the N62 Billion HIV Trust Fund of Nigeria in February this year. Today, we shall witness the launch of the online donation portal of the Fund to ensure no one is left behind in our collective effort to end AIDS by 2030.

“Similarly, in line with alignment 2.0, HIV prevention and treatment is shifting ownership to States and today we shall witness the signing of the sustainability agreement for Taraba and Abia States.”

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FG, Stakeholders Mull Improved Programmes for Fistula Victims, Survivors

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Fistula
Fistula victims – Photo credit: Fistula Care Plus

The Federal Government and some stakeholders have initiated strategies to improve programmes for victims and survivors of obstetric fistula via the National Gender Policy (NGP).

Alhaji Aliyu Shinkafi, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs (FMoWA), said this at the inauguration of a two-day workshop on institutional Gender Capacity Assessment, on Wednesday in Abuja.

The workshop was being organised by the ministry in collaboration with a group, Momentum Safe Surgery in Family Planning and Obstetrics for Permanent Secretaries; Directors of Women Affairs, Planning, Research and Statistics Officers drawn from Kebbi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Ebonyi and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He said the efforts would ensure implementation of the NGP as well as improve pysical and mental wellbeing of women and girls affected by fistula.

Represented by Mr Idris Mohmamed, Director, Economic Services in the ministry, Shinkafi said the workshop would enable the five focal states adopt the new gender policy to address gaps, discrimination and harmful practices against women and girls.

“ This workshop will avail the participants the opportunity to discuss the challenges they are currently facing in the course of discharging their duties while working to ameliorate the plight of the vulnerable women and girls suffering from fistula whose rights, dignity and freedom are continuously being abused in our society.

“ Women have the right to enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

“ The enjoyment of this right is vital to their lives and wellbeing, however, health and wellbeing often elude majority of women.

“ Good health is essential to leading a productive and fulfilling life, and the right of all women to control all aspects of their health, in particular their own fertility, is basic to their empowerment,’’ he said.

Prof. Olabisi Aina, Sociology Department, Obafemi Awolowo Univeristy (OAU), Ife, said the new policy has three pillars, which are gender equality, women empowerment and social inclusion.

Aina stressed the need for the ministry to collaborate and coordinate gender issues like the obstetric fistula, socio- cultural norms and others deep rooted causes of fistula.

“ FMoWA needs to reinvigorates itself to be able to deliver all the policies and ensure others are doing what they are supposed to do,’’ she said.

Also speaking, Dr Kabiru Attah, Country Representative, Engender Health Nigeria, noted some challenges affecting women and girls, such as child marriage, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), fistula, amongst others.

“All these issues are Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) and for us to address it, there is a need for gender policy that all stakeholders can key into and see the pathway to resolve these issues.

“So, what we are doing today is to bring the state permanent secretaries, directors and key stakeholders together to understand the NGP, the strategies and frameworks and let them look inward and say based on issues in each of the state, bring the context and solutions,’’ he said.

Mr Kashifu Inuwa, Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), said the Agency has conducted digital training for young girls and women, especially those at the grassroots.

Inuwa, represented by Mrs Akaliro Uchi, Assistant Director, Corporate Planning and Strategy, said that NITDA as an IT regulatory agency, focuses more on digital skills to fast track development of sustainable digital economy.

“We focus more on training of women in rural areas, young girls on how to operate the computer and more on the digital economy.

Alhaji Samaila Ahmed, Permanent Secretary, Bauchi State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development commended the project, adding that it reduced prevalence of obstetric fistula in the state.

“The programme is timely considering that cases of fistula is enormous, especially at the local communities in the state.

“As a result, the state has a federal fistula centre in Ningi that handles fistula cases in the state and other states as well,’’ he said.

For her part, Hajiya Aisha Mohammed, Permanent Secretary, Sokoto State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development reiterated commitment to end fistula in the state. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

World AIDS Day: Stakeholders Demand Focus on Youths

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Photo credit: NDTV

As the world marks this year’s AIDS Day, stakeholders have advocated that special attention be given to the youths in the execution of policies towards ending the scourge.

The stakeholders who spoke on Wednesday in Abuja at a ceremony to commemorate the 2022 WAD, also called for equal access to HIV services.

The ceremony was organised by AIDS HealthCare Foundation (AHF), in collaboration with other partners such as UNAIDS, NACA and UNICEF.

Speaking on the global theme, “Equalise to end AIDS”, Dr Echey Ijezie, country programme director, AHF Nigeria, said the essence was to ensure equal access to treatment and prevention for everyone.

“We at AHF are lending our voice by saying it is not over; we want to ensure there is equal access to treatment, inequalities are eradicated, and whatever barriers that are there are removed.

“We want everyone to access treatment services; we are also reminding the general public that HIV is still with us.

“A lot of success has been made and we want to thank all relevant stakeholders for their roles toward ensuring a significant downwards trend especially in Nigeria,’’ he said.

Ijezie, also called on government and all stakeholders to intensify efforts toward ending AIDS.

Dr Victoria Isiramen, health manager, Adolescents, Health and HIV programming at UNICEF Nigeria, called for special attention to adolescents and young people in the HIV response in Nigeria.

Isiramen said it was important to prioritise the response to address key issues that affect the 10-24 years group.

“We have about 70 million of this group of people in Nigeria; that is a huge population with peculiar character.

“They are young, they are growing, they are in their behavioural stimulation stage and they need to develop in a proper way, they need to be skilled and empowered.

“This is their formative years, so if we want a generation and a future that is secured, we need to invest in young people.”

She further said that Nigeria had a strategic plan to ensure zero new infections, zero stigma and discrimination, especially in young girls.

“This is because our data is showing that of the 7,600 new infections that happen in young people in 2021, many of them are girls.

“So, if we invest more in a girl, we secure her future, we secure her future partner and the life of the child she will give birth to.

“This is a call to Nigeria as a country; we have gone a long way in HIV response, we have good plans, now we need to implement with our monies, energy and commitment,” she said.

FIP Releases New Handbook on Pharmacists Roles in HIV Management

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FIP Releases New Handbook on Pharmacists Roles in HIV Management

The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) says it has published a new handbook for pharmacists on the prevention, screening and management of HIV.

This, the global pharmacists body did in commemoration of World AIDS Day, a global annual event commemorated on every 1 December .
In a statement made available to Pharmanewsonline by the FIP, Mr Gonçalo Sousa Pinto, FIP lead for practice development and transformation, and co-editor of the handbook, noted that HIV remains both a major global health threat and burden for individuals, health systems and societies.

In particular, he added that, as with many prevention strategies, pharmacists are ideally placed to support patients with ways to reduce the risk of transmission, including advising on safer sex practices. In some countries, pharmacists are contributing to improved access to, and supporting the use of pharmacological approaches to prevention such as pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis, and also to harm reduction strategies for intravenous drug users.

“While immense progress has been made in terms of prevention, testing, treatment and quality of life for people living with HIV, the virus remains both a major global health threat and burden for individuals, health systems and societies.

“Concerted efforts by all stakeholders and healthcare providers are essential to control this epidemic, but pharmacists certainly have an important role to play. They are also contributing to screening and testing, helping to identify cases that need to receive treatment and care” he stated.

He further explained that the handbook is devoted to equip pharmacists on their public health roles in the areas of community awareness creation, tackling stigma, preventing sexual violence, which is often associated with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

According to Pinto “A section of “HIV prevention, screening and management: A handbook for pharmacists” is dedicated to the public health roles for pharmacists in this disease area. These include campaigning to raise community awareness, tackling stigma, preventing sexual violence (which is often associated with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections) and supporting its victims, and advocacy work.

“This handbook aims to provide pharmacists and their teams with concise information on the variety of actions they can take to reduce the burden of HIV, offering examples and additional resources. FIP hopes that colleagues around the world will find it a valuable and easily accessible resource,” Mr Sousa Pinto said.

“The handbook was developed in collaboration with an international advisory group of experts from Brazil, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, the USA and the International AIDS Society”.

 

 

 

 

Health Minister Decries Lack of Locally Sourced APIs in Nigeria

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Minister of State for Health, Hon. Joseph Ekumankama

The Minister of State for Health, Hon. Joseph Ekumankama, has decried lack of locally sourced Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) in the country, saying it is  unbefitting for Nigeria not to have a single pharmaceutical company that produces APIs.

He condemned the current state of pharmaceutical manufacturing in the country, where all APIs used by pharma companies are imported from India, China, USA and Germany, with large amounts of the nation’s scarce foreign exchange earnings spent on importation.

Ekumankama, who made the remarks at the International Scientific Workshop, jointly organised by the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP) and Nigerian Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) in Abuja on Tuesday, called on all stakeholders to develop strategies and capacities in bridging the gap.

Speaking on the theme: “Local Manufacturing of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) in the West African Region”, he said the essence of the conference is to review the current state of pharmaceutical manufacturing in the country as well as chart progress path.

“The situation where there is no single pharmaceutical company that produces any APIs or pharmaceutical excipients locally is no longer tolerable.

“This auspicious event is aimed at bringing together critical stakeholders within the pharmaceutical sector to review the existing capacities for the local production of API in Nigeria and develop strategies to accelerate the process in the West African Region, leveraging on the African Free Continental Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“This important platform provides the avenue for robust intellectual discourse to discern all thematic areas bedeviling the inadequacy of Nigeria to leverage on her comparative advantage as the leading pharmaceutical manufacturing country within the West African region,” he stated.

According to him, even though there has been noticeable improvement in the Nigerian healthcare system over the past 24 months, largely as a result of intentional and direct funding interventions to strengthen the system in response to gaps that were exposed during the COVID-19 Pandemic, there are still substantial obstacles standing in the way of the general public’s access to high-quality medications and healthcare.

“The overall goal of this policy is to make available at all times to the Nigerian populace adequate supplies of drugs that are effective, affordable, safe and of good quality; to ensure the rational use of such drugs; and to stimulate increased local production of essential drugs,” he said.

The minister added that the mutually beneficial partnership between NIPRD and WAPCP would facilitate the cross fertilization of ideas and innovations that would gradually change the narrative in assuring medicines’ self-sufficiency in local production of primary raw materials and secondary finished pharmaceutical products.

He also commended the College’s important role in producing highly specialised pharmacists, who are well prepared and informed to provide pharmaceutical care services for better citizen health and well-being.

The long-term implementation of the Pharmacist Consultant cadre,   across departments, agencies, and federal health institutions, he noted, is a major priority that is regularly reviewed for proper execution in accordance with existing government circulars and memoranda.

Ekumankama, expressed his appreciation to the organisers of the conference, as he congratulated Dr Obi Peter Adigwe, director general (NIPRD) and Distinguished Prof. Cecilia Igwilo, president of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP) and all their team members for the laudable event; as he assured them of the full support of government for the actualisation of their goals.

 

 

NAFDAC Arraigns Trader Over Importation of Fake Seasonings

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seasonings
Nafdac officials – Photo credit: TopNaija

A 41-year-old trader, Nnabueze Chibuike, on Wednesday, was arraigned before a Federal High Court sitting in Benin, Edo State on two-court charges of alleged possession and importation of large quantities of Mivina Chicken seasonings.

The case between the Federal Republic of Nigeria as (Complainant) and Nnabueze Chibuike, as the Defendant came up for the first hearing, and has a suit No: FHC/B/195C/2022.

The accused was brought before Presiding Judge, Justice S.M Shuaibu and he pleaded not guilty to a two-count charge.

The count charges brought before the accused reads: “That you Nnabueze Chibuike, Male, Adult, 41 years old of No 20 Arondizugu Street Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, on or about the 11th day of November, 2022, at your factory, at No 22, Nekpen-Nekpen, Benin City, Edo State, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable court, was found in possession of unwholesome processed food to wit: Mivina chicken seasoning and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(a) of the counterfeit and fake drugs and unwholesome Processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provision) Act, Cap. C34, LFN 2004 and punishable under section 3 of the same Act

“That you Nnabueze Chibuike, Male, Adult, 41 years old of No 20 Arondizugu street Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, on or about the 11th day of November 2022, at your factory at No 22, Nekpen-Nekpen, Benin City, Edo State, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, did import unregistered processed food to wit: Mivina Chicken seasoning, from Cotonou, Benin Republic and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1( 1) of the Food, Drugs and Related Products (Registration, E.T.C) ACT, Cap. F33. LFN.2004 and punishable under Section 6 of the same Act.

Counsel to the Defendant, Razak .O. Isenalumhe, pleaded with the presiding Judge to grant the client bail on the ground that he responded to the invitation by National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC) without being arrested.

While the Lawyer to NAFDAC, Okoli Chinyere said the accused should be kept in their custody till the next hearing.

Justice Shaibu in his ruling however fixed December 6, 2022, to hear the bail application and the defendant was remanded.in.police custody.

Head of NAFDAC, Benin, Mrs. Esther Itua said the investigation showed that the product was warehoused in Benin, which prompted NAFDAC to send of a team to Benin.

She said, “In the warehouse, our team discovered not only Mivina chicken spices but other expired products were also found there including packaging materials as well as a production area.

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9 of 10 Medical Consultants Leaving Nigeria –MDCAN

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Nigerian doctors – Photo credit

The Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria has shown that nine out of every 10 medical and dental consultants with less than five years of experience plan to leave the country for greener pastures.

The MDCAN said the survey carried out in March 2022 by its Medical Education Committee also found that over 500 medical and dental consultants had left Nigeria for developed countries over the preceding two years.

The association made this known in a statement signed by its President, Dr. Victor Makanjuola, and made available to The PUNCH on Wednesday.

The statement read in part, “Disturbed by the impact of this ugly trend on our country’s health sector growth and development, the MDCAN has conducted a survey among its chapters in March 2022 and found that over 500 medical and dental consultants had left Nigeria for more developed countries over the preceding two years.

“A further exploration of data by the association’s Medical Education Committee showed that nine out of every 10 medical and dental consultants with less than five years experience on the job had plans to leave the country.

“Furthermore, the Nigerian Medical Association recently reported that only 24,000 doctors are currently registered to practise in Nigeria, giving a ratio of one doctor to over 8,000 Nigerians, against the World Health Organisation’s recommended ratio of one doctor to every 600 people.

“It is important to note that the average medical and dental consultant is not only a clinician but also doubles as a teacher for medical students and doctors in specialist (residency) training. It, therefore, goes without saying that the loss of this category of highly skilled workforce to other countries will not only have an immediate negative impact on clinical service delivery but will leave a long-term devastating impact on the training of future doctors in Nigeria.”

According to the association, the country produces approximately 12,000 doctors per year to meet the required number of doctors in the country.

“Anecdotal projections indicate that the 3,000 fresh medical and dental doctors, on average, produced by our local medical schools in Nigeria and another 1,000 produced by foreign medical schools, fall far short of the number of such healthcare personnel required to meet the country’s yearly medical manpower supply needs, estimated to fall between 10,000 and 12,000 (about three times the current rate),” it added.

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Top 7 Superfoods to Include in your Daily Diets

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Top 7 Superfoods to Include in your Daily Diets
An image of compiled Superfoods

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary confirmed the definition of the word “superfood” as a food, such as salmon, broccoli, or blueberries, that is rich in compounds, such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids, considered beneficial to the human’s body.

Although, there’s no scientifically based or regulated definition for superfood, but generally, a food is promoted to superfood status when it offers high levels of desirable nutrients and linked to the prevention of a disease, or is believed to offer several health benefits beyond its nutritional value.

A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology explained that, superfoods with a high concentration of antioxidants and flavonoids enhance immunity and reduce inflammation in addition to preventing cancer and coronary heart diseases.

The nutrients they contain help promote a healthy complexion, nails, hair and increase energy levels as well as help maintain a healthy weight.

The study further shows that antioxidants are molecules that may help reduce the amount of damaging free radicals in the body, and therefore are believed to be health-promoting.

This justifies why nutritionists recommend inclusion of superfoods in your daily diet, to bolster your immunity and keep you healthy all day long.

7 Superfoods to eat daily

Berries

The higher levels of flavonoids in berries have been shown to lower the risk of a heart attack. A few commonly identified superfood berries include acai berries, blueberries, raspberries, tart cherries, cranberries, and goji berries.

Soy

Soybeans have a high concentration of isoflavones, a type of phytochemical. Phytochemicals are compounds that occur naturally in plants. Soy help reduce the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol in the blood.

A study from the Neilson Global Health and Wellness Report, titled: “Healthy Eating Trends Around the World”, has shown that soy may prevent age-related memory loss. Soy isoflavones might also reduce bone loss and increase bone mineral density during menopause, as well as decreasing menopausal symptoms.

Green Tea

A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology examined the effects of green tea, white tea, and water consumption on stress levels in 18 students.

The study suggested that both green and white tea had reduced stress levels and that white tea had an even greater effect. Larger studies are necessary to confirm this possible health benefit. Green tea may also have an anti-arthritic effect by suppressing overall inflammation.

Broccolis

People often identify kale, spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, and collard greens as superfood leafy greens. These foods are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K, and many B vitamins.

Leafy greens also contain an abundance of carotenoids, iron, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

Salmon

The high omega-3 fatty acid content in salmon and other fatty fish, such as trout and herring, the risk of abnormal heartbeats, reduce cholesterol and slow the growth of arterial plaque.

Dark chocolate

Research has found that dark chocolate is high in flavonoids. Flavonoids demonstrates antioxidant activity by preventing coronary heart disease and certain types of cancer, and boost the immune system.

The component in chocolate specifically responsible for these benefits is cacao powder. Manufacturers derive this from cacao beans. Bear in mind that chocolate may have added ingredients, such as added sugar, that might negate these benefits.

Garlic

Scientists, co-sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture and the Pennsylvania State University, united at the first annual convention of “The Health Significance of Garlic and Garlic Constituents.” Studies done revealed that daily ingestion of garlic in a month diminished coagulation and the destruction of clots from 72 to 85 per cent. (I.e. lowers fat and cholesterol in the blood).

Garlic is rich in sugars, proteins, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, iodine and silicone. In addition, it contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and C.

Analgesics May Hasten Advancement of Arthritis – Study Suggests

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Rheumatoid Arthritis: An Overview - BlackDoctor.org - Where Wellness & Culture Connect
Arthritis – Photo credit: Blackdoctors

Corticosteroid injection, one of the most popular medications for arthritic pain alleviation, may potentially hasten the disease’s development, according to a recent study.

Results of two small unpublished trials, which will be presented on Tuesday 6 December, 2022, at the annual conference of the Radiological Society of North America, showed that patients who had corticosteroid injections saw an average acceleration of their knee arthritis compared to those who did not.

In contrast, hyaluronic acid injections were linked to a slower rate of the disease development when compared to a control group.

“Our papers show that there should be much more awareness that corticosteroids could have possible progression of osteoarthritis,” said Azad Darbandi, a medical student at the Chicago Medical School who co-authored one of the studies.

The Osteoarthritis Initiative, an extensive observational study effort including close to 5,000 adults with knee osteoarthritis, was the subject of both investigations, which evaluated participants.

In Darbandi’s study, X-rays from 50 patients who had corticosteroid injections, 50 who received hyaluronic acid, and another 50 who served as controls were examined. The people who received corticosteroid injections had worse arthritis development than the other two groups, according to the scans, which were gathered annually for four years.

The University of California, San Francisco’s second research looked at the MRI scans of 210 patients, 44 of whom had corticosteroid injections, and 26 of whom had hyaluronic acid.

By the two-year follow-up point, the steroid-taking group had more severe cartilage deterioration, according to scans that were obtained at the time of the injections, as well as two years before and after.

“Knowing that helps patients make a more informed choice about if they want an injection and, if they do, which injection they might prefer”, said Dr Upasana Bharadwaj, a postdoctoral researcher in UCSF’s radiology and biomedical imaging department, who co-authored the study.

Before speculating on any causal relationships, Dr Jason Kim, vice- president of osteoarthritis research programmes at the Arthritis Foundation, stated that he would prefer to see studies with “far greater sample sizes over a longer period of time”.

Critical evaluations for their findings as well as more research are required, Bharadwaj and Darbandi said.

NDLEA Arrests Abia Drug Kingpin

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ABIA
Ndlea operatives – Photo credit: NDLEA

Onyeaghalachi Stephen Nwagwugwu, one of two brothers who are key suppliers of illegal drugs in the South East and South South regions of the country, has been arrested by agents of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.

The older brother, Eze Kaleb Stephen, has now been declared wanted after managing to escape during the midnight operation that was conducted concurrently in their two locations—Umuahia and the Ntigha Okpuola village in Isiala Ngwa North, LGA, Abia.

The agency disclosed this on Tuesday, 29 November, 2022, in a statement through its official website.

The two drug lords share ownership of the armed army that protects their homes and drug establishments, where they trade in a variety of illegal narcotics like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine (Mpuru-miri), loud/arizona and other chemicals.

Four months ago, a new attempt was made to apprehend the pair and put a stop to their illicit activity and on 26 November, 2022, an operation to raid both of their sites took place simultaneously.

Eberechi Kingsley Monday, a member of their militia, was also taken into custody during the operation.

Amounts of cocaine and other strains of cannabis were found in the two residences during the operation. The agency has so far sealed two hotels, one restaurant, two mansions connected to them, and retrieved three exotic automobiles from their homes.

The hotels are named Jahlove Hotel in Mbawsi, Isiala Ngwa North LGA; Noicyhl Luxury Hotel in Aba on the Aba-Port-Harcourt road; and Royal Cruise Fast Food in Enugu on the Isiala Ngwa North LGA in Abia State.

According to investigations, the two infamous brothers started out as pocket dealers in the late 1990s before opening smoking joints in their neighborhood of Ntigha Okpuola. They later developed into barons who owned hotels, homes in upscale neighborhoods of Abia, Rivers, and Imo State, and exotic cars in their garages.

 

Nigeria yet to Achieve 70% COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage –NPHCDA

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Nigeria yet to achieve 70% COVID-19 vaccination coverage –NPHCDA
Executive Director of NPHCDA

Nigeria is yet to meet the year-end global target of vaccinating 70 percent target coverage with the COVID-19 vaccines, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Secretary of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency has said. 

Shuaib disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, on Tuesday in Abuja.

”We are 21.6 million eligible persons away from reaching its target of fully vaccinating 70 percent of its eligible population by December 2022.

”But 62 percent of the country’s eligible population is at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19.

”As of Nov. 25, 56,790,371, total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination are fully vaccinated while 12,492,646 of total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination are partially vaccinated in 36 States and the FCT.

“The country has fully vaccinated half of the total population eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

“WE have also fully vaccinated an additional over 25 percent of its eligible population, in the last 110 days of SCALES 3.0 implementation,” he said.

The NPHCDA boss said that 13.2 percent of fully vaccinated persons in the country have received the COVID-19 booster dose for additional protection against the virus.

He commended the COVID-19 Strategy Group for achieving 50 percent vaccination coverage in the country. While attributing the success to the team working tirelessly.

Shuaib said he has also directed the team to intensify efforts toward the attainment of at least 70 percent of the country’s targeted population to achieve herd immunity on COVID-19.

He also congratulated Nigeria for the feat and promised to sustain the momentum.

The NPHCDA boss said that the country’s target remains to hit 70 percent of the targeted population.

“Until this is achieved, the strategy group will continue to develop strategies that will help the country achieve health security,” he said.

NAN, reports that the country in the last nine days has not registered any new infection of COVID-19, as of November 19, the country has 266,283 confirmed infections, 259,640 discharged cases, and 3,155 deaths, since the commencement of the pandemic in February 2020.

In the last six months, the country has sustained a decline in the number of new cases of COVID-19 and a sustained decline in the importation of infection of COVID-19 from other countries.

It has also seen a consistent decline in hospitalization and the country has not recorded any mortality in the last 46 days, these are the indices.

Meanwhile, the latest COVID-19 waves in China have revealed more transmissible but less lethal strains of the coronavirus, but it is too early to be optimistic, public health experts have warned.

Just days after China relaxed some zero-COVID-19 measures, infection numbers in the current outbreak hit a new high of 40,052 on Monday, with 36,304 yet to show symptoms.

As of Nov 27, 104 cases were identified as “severe”, with seven deaths recorded so far. All patients who died were over 80 and had comorbidities.

According to epidemiologists, waves risk burdening the health system and if China were to change its response, it should put fewer resources into mass testing and more into vaccination and public education.

Meanwhile, Public Health experts in Nigeria, have said that the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 should tighten the country’s rules on the testing of international arrivals across all airports and land borders. 

(NAN)

China Pushing to Vaccinate Elderly Against COVID-19

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China pushing to vaccinate elderly against COVID-19
COVID-19 Patients receiving treatments

China said Tuesday it would speed up a push to vaccinate people aged 60 and older against COVID-19 after the country posted record daily case numbers in recent days.

The announcement comes after a weekend of protests demanding an end to the country’s strict zero-Covid policy, which response to even small caseloads with harsh lockdowns and quarantine orders.

Beijing’s National Health Commission (NHC) pledged to “accelerate the increase in the vaccination rate for people over the age of 80, and continue to increase the vaccination rate for people aged 60-79”.

It also said it would “establish a special working group… to make special arrangements for the vaccination of the elderly against Covid”.

“It is necessary to conduct popular science education on the meaning and benefits of vaccination, and fully publicize vaccines’ efficacy on preventing severe illness and death,” it added.

China’s low vaccination rates, particularly among the older population, have long been seen as prolonging Beijing’s no-tolerance approach to Covid.

Just 65.8 percent of people over 80 are fully vaccinated, NHC officials told a press conference Tuesday.

And China has not yet approved mRNA vaccines, proven to be more effective, for public use.

Many fear that lifting that policy while swathes of the population remain not fully immunized could overwhelm China’s healthcare system and cause over a million deaths.

But the zero-Covid policy has stoked massive unrest, with people taking to the streets in China’s major cities on Sunday to protest draconian lockdowns and broader restrictions on freedom of movement.

A deadly fire last week in Urumqi, the capital of northwest China’s Xinjiang region, was the catalyst for the wave of outrage, with protesters blaming Covid restrictions for hampering rescue efforts — claims the government has denied.

China logged 38,421 domestic infections Tuesday, slightly down from record highs seen over the weekend and comparably low when compared to caseloads seen in western countries during the height of the pandemic.

(AFP)

If Parts of Solvent per 1 Part of Solute was (10- 30) Solute is?

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If Parts of Solvent per 1 Part of Solute was (10- 30) Solute is?

A. Very Soluble

B. Sparing Soluble

C. Soluble

D. Slightly Soluble

FG Commences 14-Day Paternity Leave for Workers

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33,147 Father Newborn Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock
Photo credit: iStock

Beginning from 25 November, 2022, serving male officers working with the Federal Government, whose spouse delivers a baby, will be entitled to a 14-working-day paternity leave.

The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoS), Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, made this disclosure  on Monday through  a circular dated 25 November, 2022, with ref no:HCSF/SPSO/ODD/NCE/RR/650309/3, which was sighted by Pharmanewsonline.

The approval came after the proposal to grant paternity leave to workers was gazetted by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

The circular titled : “Computation of Leave Based on Working Days and Approval of Paternity Leave in the Public Service”,  was addressed to the Chief of Staff to the President,  serving ministers,  Secretary to the Government of the Federation,  Clerk to the National Assembly and Governor of CBN  among others.

According to Yemi-Esan:” Once in 2 years, government has also approved Paternity Leave for serving male officers whose spouse delivers a baby. The period of the leave shall be fourteen working days. The leave shall not be more than once in two years, and for a maximum of four children.

“Where the family of a male officer adopts a child under four months old, the officer will similarly enjoy Paternity Leave for a period of fourteen working days”.

Pharmanewsonline reports that the LAGOS Government, during the tenure of Governor Babatunde Fashola, in 2014, approved 10 days paternity leave for male civil servant in the state, whose wife delivers a new baby.

The governor explained that the measure was to afford male workers the opportunity of attending to developmental needs of the child.

Yemi- Esan further hinted on the new policy, saying it was in line with the provisions of the Public Service Rules, 2021 Edition, that the computation of all leave shall be based on 14 working days.

The circular stated that period of the leave shall be 14 working days and shall not be more than once in two years, and a for maximum of four children.

She said that request for such leave shall be accompanied by the Expected Date of Delivery’s (EDD) report of the officer’s wife or evidence of approval of the adoption of the child by the relevant government bodies.

 

 

 

ICPC Inaugurates PCN Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit

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ICPC Inaugurates PCN Anti-Corruption and Transparency UnitThe Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, has inaugurated the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU). The inauguration, which took place at the weekend, was held at the PCN head office, in Abuja.

This is in compliance with the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in 2001, and the subsequent directive of the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) directing government agencies to establish and fund the operators of ACTU in their organisations.

In a statement made available to Pharmanewsonline on the development,  the Chairman, of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, was represented at the event by Mr Olayinka Aiyegbayo, head, of Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Division, ICPC, said the event was auspicious as it sets the ground for the nominees into ACTU to commence their strategic functions.

He further stated that ACTU serves as an in-house check mechanism in MDAs against corrupt and unethical practices. He implored the PCN ACTU to work zealously and7` efficiently in discharging the mandate that has been given to them, not to betray the confidence reposed in them, and to also avoid any questionable act that brings to question the strategic role given to them.

He charged them to play their roles while bearing in mind that they are not set up as a parallel authority to management.

In addition, he expressed gratitude to PCN for making the event a reality and affirmed the commission’s belief that the relationship between ICPC and PCN will continue to wax stronger for the overall good of the public service and our great nation.

On his part, Registrar, PCN, Pharm. I. B. Ahmed,  assured the commission of cooperation and compliance, noting that the inauguration is timely as it re-enforces the agency’s resolve and determination to build a corruption-free regulatory environment, which they have been known for over the decades of Pharmacy regulation in Nigeria.

The ACTU is established by ICPC to complement the efforts of the commission in the area of prohibition and prevention of corruption in MDAs.

The PCN ACTU members were sworn in by Barr. Adebimpe Abodunrin, as they took the oath of allegiance.

Thousands of Toddler Cups, Bottles Recalled Over Poisoning Risk

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poisoning
Stainless Steel Sip & Straw Cup Bottle – Photo credit: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

In order to prevent lead poisoning hazards, Green Sprouts, a manufacturer of reusable baby goods, is recalling its stainless-steel cups and bottles for toddlers.

The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) disclosed this in a statement via its official website.

The recall applies to the Green Sprouts 6-ounce Stainless Steel Sippy Cup, Sip & Straw Cup and its 8-ounce Stainless Steel Straw Bottle.

Following the discovery that the bottles and sippy cups contained lead, Green Sprouts said it voluntarily recalled all of its goods. When children consume lead, a dangerous metal, they risk poisoning.

Lead is a naturally occurring metal that is abundantly found throughout the earth. It has been used in a wide variety of products including gasoline, paint, plumbing pipes, ceramics, solders, batteries and even cosmetics. It remains a significant public health concern because of persistent lead hazards in the environment.

Despite progress in reducing lead exposure in different communities, elevated blood lead levels remain an issue for children, particularly those living in poorer areas.

According to the CPSC, the items’ bottom base has a chance of breaking off, exposing a lead-filled solder dot.

No injuries have been recorded, agency said, despite receiving complaints of seven cases in which the base detached and exposed the solder dot.

“Testing of this component was omitted by the CPSC-approved third party lab because this part of the product is inaccessible under normal use. As we approach the redesign of these products, whose benefits for keeping drinks cold safely have made them a popular choice for parents, we will ensure that lead is not used as a soldering material,” the company said on its website.

According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, lead is dangerous to people of all ages, but young children are more vulnerable to the metal’s effects. Learning problems and developmental delays are only two of the harmful health impacts that lead exposure in children may bring about.

The tracking codes written at the bottom of the recalled goods are:  35719V06985, 29218V06985, and 33020V06985. The company stated that they were sold between January 2020 and September 2022.

 

 

 

 

WHO to Name Virus ‘mpox’ Instead of Monkey pox to Avoid Stigma

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WHO to name virus 'mpox' instead of Monkey pox to avoid stigmaThe World Health Organisation (WHO), has decided to use the name Mpox for a virus previously known as Monkeypox, the body announced in Geneva on Monday.

The two names will be used simultaneously for another year before only Mpox will be used exclusively.

The organization said that the new name was chosen because it is easy to pronounce and can be used in many languages.

The virus itself is also to be given a new name. This is the responsibility of an independent expert council (ICTV), but it has yet to make a decision.

The disease was called monkeypox because it was first discovered in monkeys in 1958.

However, Monkeys had nothing to do with the outbreaks this year. Rather, humans become infected through close physical contact with other humans.

Nevertheless, Monkeys were attacked this year in Brazil, for example, because humans held them responsible for the outbreaks.

According to WHO guidelines, disease names should avoid references to specific countries, regions, or animals.

In addition, the name should be easy to pronounce.

(NAN)

Navigating Business Opportunities and Challenges in 2023

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2023
Pharm. Sesan Kareem

It seems like yesterday when we welcomed 2022 with fanfare, joy, and gratitude. As leaders, we also set smart goals for ourselves and our team members and started working on them. The truth is that this year has been a challenging one for business leaders. The global economic crises, post-COVID-19 pandemic, high inflation rate, unfavourable exchange rates, as well as relocation of top talents, are some of the challenges many business leaders have faced this year.

Despite these hurdles, a few of us have surpassed our personal and business goals; and others are still working hard to end the year high. While we must keep implementing our fourth quarter strategy, it is also important we start planning for 2023 and be more proactive.

Below are things you can work on to make 2023 a better year for you and yours.

Mindset

As business leaders, we know how important our mindset is. Mindset is everything. Our subconscious mind is a muscle we must keep building every day with positive thoughts and ideas. With our volatile, uncertain, chaotic and ambiguous business environment, it is easy to focus our mind on the negativity around us. As business leaders, we need to shut out the noise and focus our heart on possibilities, growth and impact.

We need to create a routine to exercise the power of our mind daily by using imagination as a tool of creation.

Below are tips to keep your subconscious mind focus on your objectives for 2023:

  • Create time for meditation daily
  • Have a gratitude journal and write in it daily
  • Read your goals daily

Emotion

As business managers and executives, being in charge of our emotions is a must, not an option. There are many business challenges beyond our direct cause that we must solve. It is either we exercise emotional intelligence and make the right decisions at the right time or we become emotional and make bad decisions that can threaten the existence of our business or growth.

Also, as business leaders, we must manage the emotions of people that work with us, to achieve the objectives, mission and vision of our enterprise. Our ability to identify, understand, and regulate other people’s emotions makes us a transformational leaders and a great example for our team members.

Below are tips to become an emotionally intelligent leader:

  • Take a deep breath when you are faced with tough situations or difficult decisions.
  • Pause and think before making the next move.
  • Inculcate wellness activities into your daily routine – dance, walk in nature, engage in your hobby, or spend quality time with your loved ones often.

Skills

What brought us to this height as leaders is commitment to constant, never-ending improvement, through continuous learning. What existing skills do you need to upgrade? What new skills do you need to acquire? What experience do you need to turn into expertise? What old ways of doing things do you need to stop? What percentage of your income will you invest in updating your knowledge bank? What free courses can you do online to have an edge in our competitive business world?

My point is, you need to have a strategic plan for your personal and professional development as a business leader.

Below are habits you can develop for your personal and professional development:

  • Read your holy book and a personal development book for 30 minutes early in the morning.
  • Listen to an audio book on the road.
  • Attend a seminar or workshop once in a quarter.

Training

One of your key roles as a leader is to personally train your team members on a regularly basis. I strongly believe that every leader must also be a teacher. While working with external consultants or trainers are necessary, business leaders must have a schedule to develop their team members’ mindset and skillsets. They must also encourage other leaders within the organisation to train their direct reports on an ongoing basis.

Below are things you can do to make learning and development an integral part of your organisation:

  • Schedule in-house training on a monthly basis.
  • Make training report an essential part of the performance appraisal.
  • Create a book club.

In essence, regardless of the challenges in the business environment, leaders must find creative ways to thrive, not survive. This definitely requires a “can do” mentality, a positive mindset, a world class skillsets and a learning and development culture. Regardless of  what goals you are setting for your business, the above truths can be helpful in making 2023 a successful and rewarding year for you and the people who look up to you for leadership.

ACTION PLAN: Inculcate actions on the above four areas into your routine in 2023. In strategising for 2023, give attention to mindset, skills, training, and emotional intelligence.

AFFIRMATION: I am a leader of men. I am blessed and highly favoured.

Sesan Kareem is the co-founder/CEO of HubCare, www.hubcarehealth.com, and the principal consultant of Sesan Kareem Institute, www.sesankareem.com.ng. He helps people and organizations improve performance and productivity.

Remove tax on Sanitary Pads, NGO Urges FG

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Remove tax on sanitary pads, NGO urges FG
An Image of Sanitary Pads

An NGO, Focusing on Women and Girls Initiative for Positive Change has urged Federal Government to remove all taxes on sanitary pads to make them accessible and affordable.

The Executive Director of the group, Mrs. Rifkatu Ademola, made the call during sensitization on menstrual hygiene management and distribution of sanitary pads to 1,500 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Dutse in the FCT on Monday.

Ademola, also a menstrual hygiene educator and advocate of girls’ education, said that the gesture was to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 and create a platform for the full expression of African females.

According to her, the goal is to ensure that by 2030, menstruation becomes a normal topic with no girl left behind.

She added that “it is good to see women seated in meetings where decisions that affect their lives are taken.

“We believe that menstruation is a normal phenomenon, totally natural. It is not anyone’s choice to say I decide

to be a boy today, I decide to be a girl tomorrow.

“Why should anyone feel ashamed to identify with menstruation? Let there be free sanitary pads in offices, schools, airports, and everywhere. Let it be tax-free because it is not a luxury, it is not a choice. It is normal,

natural, so we should embrace it.”

The FOWGI boss also quoted a UNESCO report as saying “one in every 10 girls miss school due to menstruation, stigmatization and inadequate Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities.

She added that some girls were forced to sit on the sand to absorb the blood.

“We discovered that girls miss school during their period every month and according to UNESCO, one out of 10 African girls misses out on school when it is their time of the month.

“We have come across girls who said they use sand so that it can absorb the blood and the fear of stigmatization in schools, fear of getting stained makes them stay at home rather than go to school.

“It means 10 to 20 percent of their learning process during academic activities is affected.

“We are advocating for girls to be educated; if they are missing out on school, how do we achieve that?’’ she asked.

Ademola further said that in the last five years, the NGO had distributed sanitary pads to over 59,200

students in Bauchi, Plateau, and the FCT and urged the government and private organizations to establish a pad bank, where young underprivileged girls could access pads.

“We are hoping that various national organizations and governments would adopt this scheme to introduce a pad bank, let there be an officer to carter for the need of girls in schools.

“These pad banks should be located in strategic places like schools, airports, offices, and other places where girls can immediately access it to use, particularly during an emergency,’’ she said.

On her part, Hajiya Fatima Mohammed, the Principal of GGSS Dutse, commended the organization for its support.

Mohammed said the sensitization on menstrual hygiene management would aid the students to know more about their cycle, build their confidence, and appropriate way to ensure hygiene.

“The lesson is something that should be talked about every day because they need to be reminded of the need to adopt menstrual hygiene management, which should be part of our lives,’’ she said.

One of the beneficiary students, Miss Purity Godwin, said the sensitization had further broadened her knowledge of the menstrual cycle and hygiene management, as well as the appropriate way to dispose of sanitary pads after use.

Godwin added that the students were taught not to be shy or stigmatize others on their period, rather, they should show support and teach them menstrual hygiene management. 

(NAN)

Chewing Gum Could Boost Emotional States in Humans, Experts Reveal

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Chewing Gum Could Boost Emotional States in Humans, Experts Reveal
An Image of Bubble Gums

Scientists from Nigata University, Hyogo College of Medicine, Meiji University, the Sakagami Dental Clinic and Otemae Junior College, have established a link between the chewing of flavoured gums and emotional states in humans.

To arrive at their findings, the experts conducted a study to examine the brain’s activity linked to emotional reactions induced by various flavoured chewing gums.

The investigation, which was conducted by Yoko Hasegawa and her colleagues, was published in Frontiers in Neuroscience. It shows that the left prefrontal cortex may have a role in evoking emotional reactions when palatable that is, pleasant-tasting or bland foods are consumed.

“Cortical activity may be modulated by emotional states that are triggered by flavours during food intake,” they wrote in their paper. “We examined cortical activity during chewing with different tastes/odours using multichannel near-infrared spectroscopy”.

The emotional reactions to palatable and unpleasant foods may be caused by different processing in the left prefrontal cortex, they averred.

There were 36 people who voluntarily participated in the experiments done by Hasegawa and her colleagues. These volunteers were instructed to chew various gum flavours for five minutes each before rating each gum’s flavour, odour and delectability.

Multichannel near-infrared spectroscopy was used to monitor brain activity as the individuals ate these various kinds of gum. It is possible to track brain oxygenation non-invasively and in real-time using this well-established neuroimaging approach.

The researchers then discovered that the participants rated each variety of gum differently, depending on their personal preferences. However, they found that chewing more and less appetizing gums caused a varied activation of a certain region of the prefrontal cortex, specifically the left section.

When compared to resting, hemodynamic responses during chewing were considerably higher in the bilateral primary sensorimotor cortex. However, a difference was found in the corresponding left frontopolar/dorsolateral prefrontal cortex between the resting and gum-chewing phases, despite the hemodynamic responses of several brain regions showing little difference.

There were no appreciable differences in heart rate or muscle activity across the various varieties of gum.

The results of this recent study could contribute to the current understanding of the emotional states induced by eating tastier or less flavourful foods, as well as cortical regions linked to these states.

 

NDLEA Arrests Man with 400grams Cocaine Concealed in Sandals

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cocaine
NDLEA – Photo credit: Premium Times Nigeria

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, at the weekend arrested a 56-year-old trafficker, Lawal Lateef Oyenuga, who was on a mission to deliver 400grams cocaine, concealed in a pair of palm sandals in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The agency disclosed this on Sunday, 27 November, 2022, in a statement through its official website.

This was swiftly followed by the arrest of a wanted notorious kingpin, Wasiu Sanni Gbolahan, popularly known as teacher, who recruits mules for the cartel.

The sandals were used to hide two packages of cocaine totaling 400 grams, according to a careful analysis. It had only been a week since Mrs Ajisegiri Kehinde Sidika, a 56-year-old widow and mother of four, was detained at the airport for attempting to board a Qatar Airways aircraft to Makkah, Saudi Arabia with 400 kilos of cocaine hidden in her shoes.

According to Oyenuga’s confession, Gbolahan recruited him to trade the drug. He also said initially, he was given some cocaine pellets to swallow, but when he was unable to do so, he was then given the ones hidden in the palm sandals. He said that in order to acquire funds to pay for his daughter’s Senior Secondary School class three test cost, he resorted to the criminal world.

According to the agency’s database, Wasiu Sanni (Teacher) has a history of attempting to smuggle cocaine into Saudi Arabia and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. He was previously identified as the person who hired Bolajoko Muyiwa Babalola, a BRT driver, for Lagos socialite and Adekaz Hotels owner,  Alhaji Ademola Afolabi Kazeem (also known as Alhaji Abdallah Kazeem Muhammed), to smuggle narcotics to Dubai.

The report noted that Kazeem was apprehended on Thursday, 10 November, just 10 days after the NDLEA had made him a wanted man. Bolajoko was detained on 27 June, while transporting 900 grams of cocaine to Dubai.

The kingpin, teacher, was apprehended at his home in the Ikorodu neighborhood of Lagos in the early hours of Friday, 25 November, as a result of a follow-up operation. The 64-year-old house and property agent Gbolahan has four spouses, one of whom is now dead, seven children, and seven grandchildren.

In a related development, attempt by an Organised Criminal Group to traffic 131kg of ephedrine, a dominant precursor chemical for the production of methamphetamine to Congo Kinshasa through the SAHCO export shed of the airport was foiled on Monday 21 November, by NDLEA operatives in conjunction with Aviation Security (AVSEC) officers.

 

Studies Suggest Utazi Could Help Reduce High Blood Pressure

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blood pressure
Utazi Leaf – Photo credit: Mile 12 Market Online

As we age, our bodies become less efficient at managing our blood pressure. Our bodies produce less nitric oxide and other substances that help keep our arteries healthy and open. This can lead to high blood pressure, which increases our risk of stroke, kidney disease, heart attack or other problems with our organs over time.

Utazi, a natural vegetable, has been found by several studies to be helpful in lowering high BP levels naturally without any side effects. It’s been used for centuries to combat hypertension and improve general cardiovascular health. The leaves of the plant are boiled in water and the resulting liquid is taken orally.

Utazi is a heart-shaped leaf plant with a distinct, intense, bitter and barely sweet flavour, when eaten raw or fresh. It is known for enhancing soups taste and for countless fitness advantages. Scientifically known as Gongronema latifolium, it is regarded as utazi in Igbo and Arokeke amongst the Yorubas’. It is a member of the Asclepiadaceae plant family, a tropical rainforest plant that is largely used as a spice and vegetable in common medicine.

In a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, scientists found that utazi leaves contain some compounds that could be responsible for its hypotensive (blood pressure lowering) effect. These include: beta-sitosterol, tannins, flavonoids and alkaloids.

Beta-sitosterol is a plant sterol that has been shown to have a number of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure.  Tannins are compounds that have astringent properties and can help to tighten and tone blood vessels.  Flavonoids are a type of phytonutrient (plant nutrient) that have antioxidant properties. Alkaloids are a type of compound that has a wide range of effects on the body, including lowering blood pressure.

Findings on how Utazi Lowers Blood Pressure

Nigerian scientists, in a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology   have also validated that an extract of utazi leaves was able to significantly lower blood pressure in rats that had been induced with hypertension.  The rats were given the extract for a period of four weeks, and at the end of the study, there was a significant reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

 

Photo credit – BloomHood

These findings suggest that utazi could be a promising natural treatment for hypertension, and further studies are warranted to confirm these results in humans. If utazi does prove to be effective in lowering blood pressure, it could offer a safe and affordable option for the millions of people around the world who suffer from this condition.

Another research published in the journal Hypertension has also found that utazi leaves can help to lower blood pressure.

The study, which was conducted by scientists at the University of Nigeria, found that utazi leaves can help to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

In conducting the study, participants were given either a placebo or a utazi leaf extract. The participants who took the utazi leaf extract had significantly lower blood pressure than those who took the placebo.

Lead author of the study, Dr Ifeanyi Okoro, said that the findings could have important implications for the treatment of high blood pressure.

Okoro said that the findings could lead to the development of new, natural treatments for high blood pressure. Utazi leaves have long been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of various ailments, but this is the first time that their efficacy has been proven in a scientific study, he said.

Other Health Benefits of Utazi

  1. Enhances Digestion

Researchers from the findings of the study published in Journal of Ethnopharmacology, noted that extract of the leaf, can help to decrease stomach acidity and increase the production of digestive enzymes. These effects help to improve the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients. In addition, utazi has also shown to have an antimicrobial effect, which can help to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut.

The study found that the utazi leaves helped to increase the release of stomach acid by up to 80%. This is believed to be due to the presence of compounds like tannins and flavonoids in the leaves. These compounds can help to stimulate the release of stomach acid.

  1. Treats Cough

Utazi leaves are very effective in the treatment of cough. The leaf extract can help to relieve congestion and help you get rid of mucus that is blocking your throat. It can also help to clear out your sinuses and improve your breathing.

The mechanism by which utazi treats cough has been found to be due to its anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties. It is thought that the anti-inflammatory effect reduces the irritation of the airways, while the expectorant action helps to clear mucus from the lungs.

There is a significant body of scientific research that demonstrates the efficacy of utazi in the treatment of cough. In a research conducted by Nigerian researchers and published in the National Library of Medicine, a group of patients with chronic cough were given a standardised extract of utazi for eight weeks. The results showed that utazi was effective in treating the cough, and that the patients had a significant reduction in the number of cough episodes and the intensity of their cough.

  1. Post-Pregnancy Care

Nursing moms use utazi to counteract the effects of pregnancy, including to aid with weight loss, to clean the uterus, and to diminish the size of the stomach after birth. After the pregnancy, the body is restored with it.

When to see a doctor for blood pressure control

If your blood pressure is consistently high, it is important to see a doctor to get it under control. High blood pressure can lead to serious health problems, so it is important to take it seriously. If you are not sure whether or not your blood pressure is high, you can check it at home with a home blood pressure monitor. If it is consistently above 120/80, you should see a doctor.

There are a few things you can do to help lower your blood pressure. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help. You should also avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. If you are overweight, losing weight can also help lower your blood pressure.

 

Federal Hospital Boss Hails Katsina Emirate, Others for Renovating Structures in Facility

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Federal Hospital boss hails Katsina Emirate, others for renovating structures in facilityHajiya Hannatu Akilu, Chairperson, Board of Directors, Federal Teaching Hospital Katsina (FTHK), has commended the Emir of Katsina and wealthy individuals for renovating structures at the hospital.

Akilu gave commendations at the commissioning of the renovated structures in Katsina.

Represented by the Katsina State Commissioner for Health, Mr. Yakubu Danja, the chairperson urged wealthy individuals to support the government in the development of the facility.

“The structures that were renovated include a 24-bed space Paedric Surgical Ward by the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumini Kabir- Usman,

“The late Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Kabir Usman, renovated the first Paediatric Ward in the hospital in 2007.

” Alhaji Dahiru Bara’u-Mangal, a Katsina-based International Businessman, also renovated a building in Amenity Ward which contained 10-bed spaces”

“Lastly, a structure of 10-bed spaces in the same amenity Ward was also renovated by a philanthropist, Alhaji Abdul’aziz Maigoro”

The Chairman of the occasion, Justice Musa Danladi-Abubakar, also the Chief Judge of Katsina State, charged wealthy individuals to emulate the distinguished personalities.

Danladi-Abubakar said that no contribution was too small or big toward the suitability and development of the hospital.

In response, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital, Dr. Suleiman Mohammed-Bello, thanked the distinguished individuals for their contributions to the hospital’s development.

(NAN)

Collaborative Research Crucial for National Development – Ajayi

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Research
Dr Funmilayo O. Ajayi

Dr Funmilayo O. Ajayi is a clinical pharmacology & biopharmaceutics consultant. She served as a national research council resident research fellow at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Maryland, USA. Thereafter, she spent over 10 years at the Centre for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) and FDA, and almost 14 years at Procter & Gamble (P&G).

In this exclusive interview, Ajayi, who is a Fellow of both the London Institute of Science Technology and the American College of Clinical Pharmacology, highlights role of scientific research in national development, while also  addressing other pressing issues in healthcare such as antimicrobial resistance, pharmaceutical technology and cost-effective drug development process that require urgent attention. TEMITOPE OBAYENDO spoke with her.

 

Please tell us a little about your background and education.

I am the first of six children of Rev. Samuel and Mrs Deborah Oladitan, both of blessed memory. My father, a minister within the Baptist Church in Nigeria, had the opportunity to also be a school superintendent in early 1960s. On the other hand, my mother was a primary school teacher. Both of my parents valued education to such a degree that they gave opportunity to several young people within their spheres of influence to live with them so they could go to school. Most of them got educated to the highest level within their careers.

I received a PhD in Pharmacology, with emphasis on experimental therapeutics, from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.  I worked at the Pharmacology Department and The Ibadan Polytechnic, while pursuing my postgraduate education.

Following my postgraduate education, I worked at the Biology Department, Ogun State Polytechnic, in Abeokuta, and later at the Department of Pharmacology, Ogun State University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu.

My areas of interest and focus are biopharmaceutics, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, drug safety, and pharmacovigilance.  I am a Fellow of the London Institute of Science Technology, the American College of Clinical Pharmacology, and the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA).

I was fortunate to receive the National Research Council Resident Research Fellowship Award, which took me to Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. This opportunity opened a rare door for me at the Centre for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) where I served for over 10 years. This was followed by 14 years of global research & development responsibilities with Procter & Gamble (P&G), in Cincinnati, Ohio.

 

What informed your decision to study Pharmacology?

My interest in the sciences started while at the Baptist Girls High School, Osogbo, Osun State. We had wonderful science teachers who made the subjects easy to grasp and appreciate. I was interested in going for Medicine, until I was presented with an opportunity in the field of basic medical sciences for a Science Laboratory Technology Diploma in Pharmacology & Physiology within the Institute of Science Technology, London.

It was no brainer for me to keep a keen focus in Pharmacology since I was already working as a science laboratory technologist in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of Ibadan. Realising that it was possible to obtain the Fellowship of the London Institute of Science Technology via a masters’ level thesis, I embarked on doing that and, successfully so.

Receiving the Fellowship of the London Institute of Science Technology opened the opportunity for me to apply to the Postgraduate School of the University of Ibadan, where I earned a master’s degree and, subsequently, a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Pharmacology.

I am blessed and proud to be the first science laboratory technologist to go through this route of education, which eventually opened the door that others have successfully gone through in Nigeria.

 

As a veteran researcher, do you see scientific research as a tool for national development?

Yes.  This is because successful achievement of national goals is only feasible when the relationship between research and innovation is fully explored, developed, and utilised. A well-known fact is that nothing can be achieved without scientific research. Science is a tool for national development that yields significant knowledge creation, ample understanding, and utilisation of various unique strategies. This enhances national health and wellbeing, infrastructural developments, agricultural productivity, mining of natural minerals, economic and social development, to mention a few.

What is needed most in our country is a strong collaboration among the universities, industries, governmental agencies and the like. This is because collaborative research is very transformational. It helps reduce inefficiencies in the system, build research capacity and enhance research capability. All of which will result in timely understanding of complex national problems and creation of innovative solutions to same.

 

Can you share with us major factors in drug development that will aid the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry in local drugs manufacturing?

The wealth of knowledge, expertise, and experience of the drug development paradigm within the industry, academia, as well as the regulatory arena in Nigeria is noteworthy. Unfortunately, the major outages and limitations hindering the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria are with respect to poor infrastructure, such as good roads, electricity, and water supply; lack of end-to-end solutions to drug manufacturing, viz ability to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and high-grade pharmaceutical excipients; as well as insufficient number of clinical research facilities for Phase I to Phase III clinical trials.

Focused joint efforts by the federal and state governments, in terms of funding and authentic leadership, is urgently needed to ensure that Nigeria does not stay too far behind in the world of pharmaceutical research, technology, development, and manufacturing.

 

Again, from your years of experience, how would you place technology in drug development?

While pharmaceutical technology is an essential aspect of efficient and cost-effective drug development, manufacturing, and drug delivery, the importance of technology in general cannot be overstated. It is critical at all stages of drug development, starting from technologies used for lead drug candidate identification and selection, study protocol development, data generation, data collection, data analysis, and disease therapeutics management, such as prediction of drug response, drug failure, and/or drug safety profile.

 

How would you assess the performance of Nigerian pharmacologists in clinical pharmacology? Are  there areas requiring improvements?

Our clinical pharmacologists are doing their very best by devoting a lot of efforts to research, even with the limitations being faced because of inadequate research funding, poor infrastructure, and little to no leadership support. Hence, based on the above, I will say that they are making excellent strides despite the obstacles they face.

 

Having worked on anti-infectives review, what would you recommend as a solution to recurrent antimicrobial resistance issue in Nigeria?

The resistance to antimicrobial agents in our dear country is a significant medical issue that may soon become very problematic with emergence of “superbugs”. Consequently, there is an urgent need for a deliberate and targeted joint effort by the government and healthcare professionals to curb the outrageous access to, misuse and abuse of antimicrobial drugs in Nigeria.

 

What is your message to young pharmacologists aspiring to be like you?

Keep exploring new opportunities and don’t let anything stop you from learning because knowledge is wealth and, keep in mind that the art of medicine is rapidly evolving.

OOU Pharmacy Faculty Readies for Drug Production, PharmD Commencement

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OOU pharmacy faculty readies for drug production, PharmD commenceme
Dean of Pharmacy OOU

As part of efforts to produce well-grounded graduates and boost Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), the Faculty of Pharmacy, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, has begun plans for imminent production of medicines and other pharmaceutical products.

Dean of the faculty, Professor Lateef Kasim, made this known to Pharmanews recently, saying the faculty is only waiting for the university management to release funds for the commencement of the project.

He noted that, over the past years, the faculty had been working on the development of excipients from natural sources for pharmaceutical formulations and isolation of bioactive compounds from natural products which have yielded positive results.

Explaining the rationale for the initiative, Kasim said: “The Nigerian pharmaceutical sector still has a lot to do in the subsector of manufacturing and the prerequisite research and development. Though so much ground has been covered to improve the delivery of pharmaceutical care at hospital and community level there is still room for improvement.”

He added: “Importation of drugs is indeed an area of concern. At the university level, we can only double up on our efforts to support the industry in requisite research, while the industry must be ready to invest in research and development.

“It never comes cheap. The gestation period can be long, which many companies are not willing to bear, however, we have a plan to start production of some pharmaceuticals in the faculty, we are waiting for the management to release funds for the commencement of the project. This is not our duty but to help the university in the area of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR)”.

The dean also hinted that the faculty will soon begin the PharmD programme, in line with the directives of the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN).

He revealed that the proposal for the programme had been sent to the University Senate after which the faculty will secure the approval of the National Universities Commission (NUC).

Kasim, who is a professor of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, further disclosed that the faculty has since prioritised giving quality instruction and training to students in the faculty, saying the ultimate aim of this is to produce quality hands that will change the pharmaceutical space positively.

He added that testimonies from the industry have continued to confirm that the faculty is achieving the aim.

According to him, “We are training competent hands in the faculty who are poised for changing or advancing the Nigeria pharmaceutical sector, especially emphasising pharmaceutical care and preparing the students for new or expanded roles in the health system.

“Today, our products are highly sought-after by the employers of labour, not only for their academic knowledge but also for their moral values, reliability and honesty. This information is a feedback from different organisations”.

The dean also called on the Nigerian government to encourage pharmacists to remain in the country by creating a conducive environment to practise. He added that the government must also provide loans to pharmaceutical companies, as well as land and other amenities that will make the pharma companies to grow as it is being done in the agricultural sector.

Kasim also charged pharmacists in the country to work together as a team to address all issues confronting the pharmacy profession.

Promote Indigenous Research Ideas, Health Commissioner tells Scientists

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– As NIMR holds 11th ICHAIR

Boost Research in Healthcare through Efficient Collaboration, Ex-Minister Urges
Prof. Isaac Adewole, former health minister, cutting the tape to commission the new biobank building of NIMR, flanked by NIMR DG Prof. Babatunde Salako, and other dignitaries at the conference.

For research efforts in the country to have optimal impact on the health of the populace, scientists must prioritise prevalent health issues within their localities, rather than concentrating on foreign ideas that have little or no local relevance.

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, gave the charge at the 11th Annual International Conference on Health Advances, Innovation and Research (ICHAIR), organised by the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), recently.

Abayomi also called for increased government funding for local researchers, stressing that, without this, foreign donors will continue to influence issues to be investigated.

According to him, “Government must enable ICHAIR to conceptualise and translate research ideas into innovations, which will advance healthcare; else, the essence of scientific research will be defeated.

“Researchers need to develop research ideas within their locality and what will be of benefit to their immediate populace.

“Up till now, NIMR relies heavily on external funding, which must be in relation to external ideas. Government must provide opportunities for researchers to be funded for indigenous investigations.”

Describing NIMR as a quaternary institution, which is equivalent to the National Institute of Health in the United States, Abayomi said the country’s apex research institute is endowed with both physical and human resources needed to carry out its mandate.

Also speaking at the conference, former Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, called for a strong collaboration among stakeholders in the healthcare sector, noting that the sustainable investment and resources required to upscale current research efforts in the country can best be obtained through genuine partnership among healthcare providers.

Appreciating Nigerian researchers for their efforts in combating the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, Adewole charged them to step up their commitment, especially as fewer than 20 per cent of the African population had been vaccinated, as at October ending.

He also urged indigenous researchers to transform their ideas into innovative medicines, such as local vaccines for the benefit of the man on the street.

He said: “One of my core messages today is the need to transcend present efforts, to adding value and high quality home-grown research innovation to address our national health needs.

“Nigerians and Africans are known for their resilience, creativity and determination to succeed when given an enabling environment to thrive. I’m optimistic that the government, the private sector, the research community and the health industry will provide sustainable resources to advanced health innovation in the country and in Africa.”

The former minister also commissioned the new Biobank Building constructed by NIMR, assuring the institute of government’s assistance in equipping the facility.

Delivering the keynote address at the event, Chairman of the National Task Team on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), Prof. Alani Akanmu, who spoke on the topic “The Future of HIV”, traced the emergence of HIV/AIDS in stages since 1983, citing various advances made in the management of the condition.

Akanmu added that such advances were made through research to reduce the viral load of HIV over the years globally.

Speaking earlier, the Director General of NIMR, Prof. Babatunde Salako, said the conference, which was initiated in 2011 and repositioned in 2021, had become a rallying point for bio-medical professionals and other healthcare stakeholders within the country and beyond.

Salako disclosed that the institute had made good progress in developing diagnostic kits, which include COVID-19 and rapid molecular test kits, yellow fever and monkeypox test kits among others.

“This year ICHAIR marks our expansion in reach and scope and content. Despite the advances, innovations and public health outlook made in the containment of COVID-19, there have been other health concerns globally.

“One key expectations before the end of this conference is to identify pockets of excellence in the country and deliberate on how research innovations and output can enhance health.

“We hope the government will initiate policies that can catalyse the market uptake of home-grown innovations,” he said.

The DG, who commended the Federal Government for improved funding to the institute, appealed for more funding through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.