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About 4 in 10 Nigerian Women are Depressed, Says Psychologist

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Dr Akin Gabriel, a clinical psychologist at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, says about 4 out of 10 Nigerian women are depressed.

He said depression is one of the many conditions associated with mental illness.

The psychologist explained that mental health is the ability required in humans to cope with life, including achieving potentials and goals, dealing with and overcoming stress, relating with people and overcoming life challenges.

Psychological functioning was an important aspect of wellbeing and part of mental health, but one that was easily neglected.

He emphasised that mental health issues could have negative impacts causing physical illnesses.

“In this country, out of 10 women, four will have one form of depression or the other,’’ he said.

Gabriel also said, about 25 per cent of depressed women eventually broke down and required treatment.

One of the ways individuals could know if their mental health was being affected was through self-observation.
He urged people to begin to question their mental wellbeing based on the subtle changes they identify in themselves.
“Humans will begin to observe the changes within themselves though they may not understand these changes.

“When an individual realises that things he or she does with ease were getting difficult to be done or realise that situations they were able to easily manoeuvre about were becoming complex, they should begin to ask questions.
“When an individual begins to have strange feelings, responds spontaneously to situations without a thought; easy to anger, always on edge, misdirects aggression, something is wrong,’’ he said.

The psychologist added that other signs of depression might include issues with sleep, appetite, weight gain or loss, attitude to financial constraints and frequent ill health.
According to Gabriel, depression is a condition that affects a person’s thoughts and self-perception and is characterised by low moods, a crash in self-worth and self-degenerating feelings.

“Depressed people think they have fallen short of assumed benchmark of achievements when they compare themselves with others, making them withdraw from people.

“Such people sometimes feel hopeless and unloved, leading to suicidal thoughts and actions,” he added.

Gabriel also said that changes in an individual with depression ranged from mild, moderate to severe with subtle symptoms that become more recognisable if not addressed.
“A depressed person may not dress like he or she used to, but still passable under mild depression.

“By moderate, others are beginning to notice some differences, the person is not looking as well kept as he used to be.

“Maybe the mood has dropped, the person is not as spontaneous as he or she used to be, there may be sleep issues, attention, focus, and appetite and weight issues.
“If not taken care of, the symptoms affect the daily life of the depressed person and everyone begins to notice because it affects relationships,’’ he said.

Gabriel noted that fewer men get depressed, but they had more severe emotional and mood disorders.
He said cultural beliefs that men were supposed to be stronger and have the ability to forge ahead in spite of their circumstances caused many of them to suffer in silence.

He identified some signs to look out for, particularly in men, to include alcohol and substance use, staying out of the home longer and aggressiveness toward spouses and children.

Gabriel said depression could be treated if people with the condition sought help early.

 

 

Atueyi Lauds Ebong’s Tenacity as Young Pharmacist of the Year 2023

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Presents Award Plaque, Cheque to him

Pharmanews Publisher, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, presenting an award plaque and auto-biography to Pharm. Uwem. O. Ebong.

The Managing Director, Pharmanews Limited, Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi, has lauded the reigning award winner of the Pharmanews Young Pharmacist of the Year 2023, Pharm. Uwem. O. Ebong, for his tenacity of purpose, dedication and determination towards any course he believes in, and also congratulated him for emerging the winner of the very tough contest.

The Pharmanews Young Pharmacist of the Year Online Contest was established in 2018 with Pharm. Isah Muhammad as the winner of the maiden edition; Pharm. Frank Eze, won the 2019 contest; Pharm. Daniel Eze, was 2020 winner; Pharm. Ozioma Ezeofor clinched the 2022 Award and Pharm. Ebong, the latest champion.

Speaking at the Award presentation ceremony held at the corporate head office of Pharmanews in Lagos, Atueyi expressed his great delight in meeting him for the first time, adding that despite all efforts to discourage him from coming over from Akwa-Ibom State, due to economic constraint, insecurity and other bottlenecks, he was determined to come.

He explained the objective of the award was to discover innovation and service delivery among young pharmacists in Nigeria, and to encourage them to expand their reach towards improving healthcare provision in the country, saying Ebong was highly qualified to win the award, as the major areas of concern for winning the award which is public health advocacy was met by him.

A cross-section of Pharmanews staff in a photograph with the award winner and his colleagues during the award presentation.

His words, “Whoever that would be qualified for this category of award must have demonstrated innovation in healthcare delivery, and must have been engaged in health research and development, especially towards combating any infectious disease. So we are interested in young pharmacists who are extending their interest beyond just pharmacy, but general healthcare,” he said.

He continued, “Winners must have ambition to make a difference in their calling, and must not only be described as ‘ordinary pharmacists’, and must have demonstrated special interest in other areas of healthcare. As a pharmacist, I am not a routine pharmacist, so our winners should not also be routine pharmacists but must have added something to their basic training,” he stressed.

Speaking further, the octogenarian publisher noted that in consonant with the vision of catching them young, Pharmanews established a long-term relationship with young pharmacists, which has been sustained over the years, adding that presently, the journal is reaching 27 Pharmacy schools across the country, saying the objective is that anyone who studied pharmacy in Nigeria must get acquainted with Pharmanews and must get familiar with it after graduation.

He however charged Ebong as the latest ambassador of Pharmanews to be up and doing in the industry, while flying the flag of integrity. “Our winners must have the ambition to make a difference in their callings, touch lives, and as Pharmanews ambassador, they must project the image of Pharmanews at all times,” he stated.

Speaking after receiving the award plaque, book gift and the cheque of N150,000, an elated Ebong, who is currently the coordinator of the South-South Zone of the PSN-YPG, vowed not to let his guard down, and also promised not to let down Pharmanews expectations for him.

Ebong, a community pharmacist and public health advocate based in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, noted that he was overwhelmed with joy for the honour of emerging the Pharmanews Young Pharmacist of the Year 2023, and being the first time Pharmanews Award is going to the Akwa-Ibom State. He stated that the award is not just a win for him alone, but victory for young pharmacists across the country.

Speaking further, he commended his co-contenders at the poll for being outstandingly exceptional for contributing so much to pharmacy and healthcare in general, and for being worthy contenders, adding that the victory is for all of them.

According to him “This award reminds me of the responsibility that comes with it, which means I would have to continue striving for excellence, be a positive influence on society, be a good ambassador of Pharmanews, and do my best to assist in public health coverage.”
Recall that at the end of the poll last year, Ebong had 1102 votes to win against the first runner-up, Pharm. Shadrach Nzomisaki with 970 votes, while Pharm. Goodness Nmesoma Ohakwe had 445 votes; Pharm. Tekena George, 251 votes: and Pharm. Peter Fiyebo Ebiwei, ended with 116 votes.

Speaking at the ceremony, the duo of Mr Patrick Iwelunmor, editor, Pharmanews and Mrs Temitope Obayendo, online editor, congratulated Ebong and urged him not to relent in rendering service to humanity, adding that as an ambassador of Pharmanews, he is meant to be in touch with the organisation as well as fly its flag higher for the next one year and beyond.

On the entourage of the Award winner, Pharm. Ebong were Pharm. Oluwabukunmi Ajibade, former national deputy coordinator, PSN-YPG; Augustine Chidera Ugwu, general secretary, PSN-YPG, Nasarawa State; and Pharm. Nmesoma Goodness Ohakwe, coordinator, PSN-YPG, Lagos, and a co-contestant for the award.

 

Experts Proffer Solution to Multidrug-Resistant TB, Malaria in Africa

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Towards surmounting the burden of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and malaria in Africa, scientists from the West African sub-region have proffered new ways of tackling the diseases, with emphasis on the deployment of artificial intelligence as the most accurate method of diagnosing tuberculosis.

The experts, who led teams of researchers from the West African Network for Tuberculosis, AIDS, and Malaria (WANETAM) on different investigations on multidrug-resistant TB and malaria, found a 20 to 65 per cent prevalence of multidrug-resistant TB in West Africa, which, according to them, is higher than the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s estimated prevalence of 5 to 20 per cent.

The scientists say their findings revealed that multidrug-resistant TB can be treated with strict adherence to the six months prescription medications, stating that they recorded many cases of non-adherence to regimented medications due to the unpleasant nature of the drugs and stigmatisation from the public.

Having discovered the major cause of multidrug-resistant malaria in Africa to be the use of unprecertified drugs with self-medication, the experts directed that malaria treatment should be administered only upon diagnosis, in compliance with WHO’s recommendations.

In an exclusive interview with one of the scientists, Alfred Amambua-Ngwa, who is a professor of genetics and immunology of infectious diseases, he asserted that the only way to address the challenge is adherence to the recommendations from the WHO  on malaria treatment.

He said, “Our investigation in support of the Roll Back Malaria Programme in different countries across Africa, including Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, among others showed that people are using drugs that are not pre-certified with the right quality, and these are the things fuelling multidrug resistance.

“The solution we are proffering is that people should only get treatment with the recommended drug and they should only administer malaria treatment upon diagnosis.

“As you are aware, there is also a practice of self-treatment, where people buy drugs from the streets and drugstores. You should treat yourself only when you are properly diagnosed and shown to have malaria, while you must ensure to complete the treatment.”

The Gambian researcher, who lauded Cameroon’s historic introduction of malaria vaccine into its routine immunisation programme recently, noted that vaccination is an additional tool that will assist in getting that extra push for the decline of malaria in the West African sub-region.

Also, in a separate interview with a Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Global Health at the Medical Research Council, The Gambia, Martin Antonio, he emphasised the need for immediate family members of persons living with TB to desist from stigmatising or discriminating against them, saying these are some of the reasons found to be responsible for non-adherence to medications, which is a root cause of resistance.

According to him, the one-year study, conducted in The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin, Togo, and Nigeria, also discovered that artificial intelligence can be a great tool in diagnosing TB accurately.

He said: “There are several reasons for multidrug-resistant in TB. It could be due to reinfection or the patient’s non-adherence to the drugs. We found that some patients were not taking the drugs as prescribed because the drugs could be unpleasant to their taste and body. And you can imagine if you’re taking a drug for six month, people could be tired of it and they may stop and that can develop resistance.

“So, we saw that the multidrug resistance was really quite high, due to some societal and cultural practices like stigmatisation of persons living with TB and others

“To end this vicious cycle of resistance, we are charging family members to desist from stigmatising their relatives with TB, while they encourage them to be committed to taking their drugs religiously.

“Now we use what we call artificial intelligence to predict TB diagnosis. It’s so powerful and accurate, but at the moment, it’s done as a research. It’s not done as a routine yet. It’s still being used as a research tool.

Antonio further revealed that their work was the first ever clinical trial done in Africa on TB, stating that it was conducted in collaboration with other scientists who joined in a surveillance of multidrug-resistant TB in West Africa.

The infectious diseases expert however linked the higher prevalence of TB in the West African sub-region to   cases of retreatment, which he said made its prevalence rate higher than the WHO’s estimate.

“The WHO usually estimates the prevalence of multidrug-resistant TB in these countries we worked in to be around 5 to 20 per cent.

“But when we conducted our research, we found that the prevalence of multidrug-resistant TB  to individuals on retreatment was between 20 to 65 per, cent” he stressed.

Lagos ACPN Laments Drop in Patronage, Tasks FG on Economic Recovery

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-Elects New Executives, as Ekhator Bows Out for Ajayi

The newly sworn-in Lagos ACPN Chairman, Pharm. Tolu Ajayi, other members of the new executives, and immediate past chairman, Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator, at the AGM.

The Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Lagos State Branch, has decried the negative toll of the plummeting economy on its practice, while it has called on the Federal Government to urgently put proactive measures in place for a sustainable economic recovery.

Speaking during the Annual General Meeting, AGM, of the association, held at the indoor hall of the PSN secretariat, Ogudu, Lagos, the immediate past chairman of ACPN, Lagos State, Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator attributed the current inflation and high interest rate for financing business operations in Nigeria as some of the factors responsible for the challenge of low patronage and profitability at the community pharmacy level.

Speaking further, Ekhator noted that the current economy has been very un-collaborative to community pharmacists, adding that the galloping inflation that the country is currently experiencing is not making the practice profitable. “You buy a product today, and before the end of that day or the next day, the price has changed, and by the time you sell, it would be difficult to restock because of price changes.

Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator, immediate past chairman, Lagos ACPN, (Middle), flanked by Pharm. Paul Owolabi, immediate past vice-chairman (left); and Pharm. Charles Oyeniyi, immediate past secretary, at the AGM.

He continued, “Many of our colleagues are finding it difficult to restock because the capital is being eroded by inflation, so this is going to spill over to the consumer. So, we are calling on the Federal Government to quickly nip this in the bud, because we don’t want a situation whereby people are forced to go for inferior products all in the name of not having the purchasing power,” he said.

“Another policy of the FG that should be reviewed includes import duties from the Customs, as the agency increases import duties daily, which according to them is based on the dollar rate. It should be noted that such would affect the price of drugs. So, we are calling on the government to realise that drugs are essential needs, so its importation, just like food should be put on a special pedestal so that it would be given a special concession”.

The immediate past ACPN boss while reacting to the establishment of a modern pharmaceutical market termed Coordinated Wholesale Centre (CWC), in Kano State, by the Kano State Government in collaboration with the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) through public- private- partnership (PPP), tasked the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwoolu, to do the same in Lagos, adding that if truly he is interested in the wellbeing of Lagos populace, the onus is on him to toll the same path Kano took.

Speaking in the same vein, Pharm. Gafar Madehin, the national secretary of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), noted that as a member of the ecosystem, the current economy is having a serious impact on the practice, especially at the community level, adding that the continuous changes in prices are taking its toll on the business.

“The healthcare products that we deal with are majorly imported, so the value of the dollar is affecting the prices, and we have seen over the past two to three months that the prices have not stabilized. On the issue of patronage, healthcare is a basic need of man, so people who need to seek healthcare, still come, but the only impact is that many of them buy less because of financial strength”, he stressed.

”However, on the issue of profitability, this is a trying period for us because when we buy, we put a specific margin of profit, but now what we have discovered is that for the past few months, by the time you sell and you want to restock, you would found out that the prices you are getting the goods have doubled, so in the real sense of the word, profitability is difficult because we have to add more money to restock”.

Speaking on the way forward, the PSN scribe tasked the federal government to pay more attention to the healthcare sector, adding that there are different ways that the healthcare needs of the citizens can be subsidized, including an effective national health insurance policy.

The high point of the event was the tension-soaked election of the executive members of the association for the next dispensation, which saw Pharm. Tolu Ajayi garnered 195 votes to defeat Pharm. Jonah Okotie, who had 74 votes.

While announcing the result of the election, the Chairman Electoral

Stop Consuming Bushmeat, Lassa Fever on the Rise, Council Warns

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The Registrar of Environmental Health Council of Nigeria (EHCON),  Dr Yakubu Baba, has warned Nigerians against consumption of bushmeat so as not to contract Lassa Fever. Baba revealed this in an interview with Newsmen on Thursday in Abuja that the warning was necessary because the virus has residual effect even after the death of the animal.

The Viral Hemorrhagic Fever is infectious and can cause severe, life-threatening illness, damage the walls of tiny blood vessels, making them leak and hampering the blood’s ability to clot. The resulting internal bleeding is usually not life-threatening, but the disease can be.

Its symptoms usually start within 21 days of becoming infected, and most cases start with a fever and flu-like symptoms that may be accompanied by diarrhoea and or vomiting.

The registrar said as environmental health personnel, it was their responsibility to advise the people to reduce or stop consumption of bush meat for now, because it is not healthy.

“The virus has residual effect, even after the death of the animal it still remain with the animal,” Baba added.

The registrar noted that the fight against Lassa fever should be a collective responsibility, as such all Nigerians should adopt measures to guard against its spread.

Baba revealed that EHCON would embark on massive capacity building of practitioners to update their knowledge on innovations and approaches to health education and promotion, including Lassa fever and other diseases.

The registrar added that environmental health personnel in states and local governments would also embark on public awareness on proper waste management.

He advised the populace to ensure that food stores and warehouses were secured to prevent rats from getting access to the facilities.

“In the characteristics of the rat when there is no food, they vacate the house. This is another approach we are adopting to take the message to the grassroots. It is our collective responsibility, as government is doing their part, you as a citizen also need to do your part, so we’ll encourage proper waste management,he said.

 

NAN

WAPCP to Lay Secretariat Foundation in March, as College President Visits Pharmanews

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L-R: Secretary General, West Africa Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP), Prof. Ibrahim Oreagba; Pharmanews Publisher, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi and President WAPCP, Alhaji Murtada Sesay during the college president courtesy visit to Pharmanews Publisher in Lagos on Tuesday

The West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP) has concluded plans to lay the foundation of its secretariat building in Lagos.

The President of the college, Alhaji Murtada Sesay, made the disclosure on Tuesday when he paid a courtesy visit to the Pharmanews Publisher, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, in Lagos, Nigeria.

Alhaji Sesay, from Sierra Leone, said the foundation laying of the college secretariat will be done by the end of March 2024, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

The WAPCP president said one of the things that has delayed the work in the past was government approval which was characterised by bureaucracy, as well as the break out of COVID-19. “We don’t want to skip any regulatory issue, but now, we have crossed the bridge. Everything is now in our hands.

According to the Secretary General of the college, Prof. Ibrahim Oreagba, who accompanied the president to Pharmanews office, the blueprint and every other pending things will be ready by middle of March. “So by end of March, 2024, we will able to start the construction, starting the foundation laying”, Prof. Oreagba said.

Meanwhile, the college will be inducting the first set of Francophone (French speaking) and the Lusophone (Portuguese speaking) fellows into the college in April 2024. The induction according to the president will take place from 15 to 18 April, 2024, in Banjul, the capital of the Gambia.

Prof. Oreagba added that the college will also be inducting elected fellows at the Banjul event.

Sir Atueyi congratulated Alhaji Sesay for the effort in place to ensure that the laying of the foundation of the secretariat happens during his tenure, saying it is a remarkable achievement. He also expressed delight in the way the executives are running the affairs of the college.

NAIP to Hold 2024 Economic Outlook, CEO’s Forum

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In its continuous effort to foster a deeper understanding of the economic landscape, trends, and opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry and Nigeria as a whole, the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) is set to hold its 2024 Economic Outlook and CEOs’ Forum.
The event will hold on Wednesday, 6 March, 2024 at Providence Hotel, Ikeja GRA, Lagos State.

The theme of the event is “Navigating through the strong economic headwinds in Nigeria” and the Group Chief Executive Officer of Hazon Holdings and Founder, Eko Innovation Centre NG, Pharm. Gbenga Afolabi will deliver the keynote address.

The former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, May & Baker Nigeria Plc, who was also former Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Dr Joseph Ikemefuna Odumodu, will be the chairman of the occasion.
Also, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, JNC International Limited, Pharm. Clare Omatseye is expected to be the event’s rapporteur coordinating analyst.

The event will also feature panellists that will include the CEO, XLR8, Pharm. Calixthus Okoruwa; the Senior Director, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Coca–Cola Nigeria Limited, Pharm. Amaka Onyemelukwe; the Technical Director, Swiss Pharm Nigeria, Pharm. Yetunde O. Adigun, as well as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Ecomed Pharma Ltd, pharm. Ekene C. Aguolu.

Meningitis: Yobe State Records Seven Deaths, 214 Cases

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Meningitis, a Threat to Brain Tissue – Institute
Meningitis Patient

The Yobe State Ministry of Health and Human Services has recorded seven deaths following the outbreak of cerebrospinal meningitis in Potiskum town in the state.

The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Isa Bukar, disclosed this, while briefing the State Deputy Governor, Idi Barde Gubana, who visited the State Specialist Hospital, Potiskum.

He said, “So far, 214 cases of the disease have been recorded in the area, including some public boarding schools.

“Three other victims are currently at the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit receiving medical attention.”

In a statement by the Press Secretary to the State Deputy Governor, Hussaini Mai Suleh, indicated that the deputy governor tasked health officials in the area to ensure that the disease is prevented from further spreading to other schools and communities.

He commended the Ministries of Health and Human Services, Basic and Secondary Education, World Health Organisation, and Potiskum local government for their rapid response.

Meanwhile, as part of measures following the outbreak of meningitis in some public boarding schools within Potiskum, the Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Dr Muhammad Sani Idris, has announced the temporary relocation of the ministry to Potiskum to investigate the cause of the outbreak as well as monitor schools.

The commissioner made the announcement when he led a team to some of the affected boarding schools under investigation.

 

VON

Mitigating Climate Change Effects on Maternal, Children’s Health

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Mitigating Climate Change Effects on Maternal, Children’s Health
Women selling by the roadside, defying the harmful rays of the scorching sun on their health.

Climate crisis has introduced a new order of living for humans on earth in the past few years, with scary predictions about worse global health outcomes for everyone. Some of these predictions are already materialising, as the impact of the extreme weather condition is fast impeding access to quality food, safe drinking water and sanitation, clean air, and basic healthcare.

It is however unfortunate that people living in low-middle- incomes countries, especially women and children, bear the larger burden of the catastrophic climate. Especially in Africa, most governments are not living up to expectations in protecting their citizens from the harsh effects of the weather conditions. The World Bank, in one of its recent reports, predicted a gloomy future of 21 million additional deaths by 2050, from just five health risks, which are extreme heat, stunting, diarrhoea, malaria, and dengue.

It further warned that if no urgent steps are taken to mitigate the hazards of climate crisis in developing countries, it could lead 40 million people into extreme poverty, by 2030.

Of particular concern is the impact of the extreme heatwaves on pregnant women and children, which has the potential of leading to preterm labour, as well as having long-lasting effects on their unborn babies.

Pregnant women’s burden of climate crisis

Mrs Titilayo Ajayi, a seven-month pregnant woman narrated her ordeals since she took in last year to our correspondent. “I have never been my normal self since I became pregnant late last year, because it has been from one condition to the other, due to the extreme weather condition. As a seamstress with my shop just by the roadside, the continuous rains of last year affected  my health in no small measure, with the muddy path to my shop always moving me to throw up whenever I was going to shop in the morning.

“That aside, due to lack of drainage on the street, the stagnant water created room for mosquitoes to breed, and before I knew it, while working to deliver to customers at the expected time, I got exposed to mosquitoe bite.  In fact, I lost count of how many times I treated malaria last year.

“As if that was not enough, the climate episode for 2024 fell on me in another dimension, with unprecedented heatwaves and hazy weather, which usually make me weak and drowsy. As a result, I had to stop going to the shop for now, until I put to bed.”

Ajayi is just one of the millions of pregnant women finding it tough to cope with the changing climate, a situation threatening their health and that of their unborn babies. This shows the urgent need for government’s intervention.

 

Mitigating Climate Change Effects on Maternal, Children’s Health
Some women doing transactions by the roadside.

Bruce Aylward, assistant director general for Universal Health Coverage Life Course at the World Health Organisation (WHO), affirmed this challenge, saying, “Climate change poses an existential threat to all of us, but pregnant women, babies and children face some of the gravest consequences of all.”

Climate change effects on nursing mothers and children

Nursing mothers also have their share of the climate disaster, with most of their children coming down with respiratory infections during this season. In an exclusive interview with one Mrs Chika Innocent, she revealed how her two little boys, ages three and five, have been battling with cold and catarrh since last year.

Mrs Innocent informed our correspondent of how she had been frequenting pharmacies in search of an effective medicine against cold and catarrh, as there was no significant improvement in the children’s conditions.

“I have bought several cough suppressants and decongestants, to no avail. In fact, sometime in January, the younger one just woke up with swollen red eyes, and soon, the other one got infected too. So, it was that bad that they had a three-in-one infection of cough, catarrh and apollo (conjunctivitis).

“It was not funny at all, as they transferred all their frustrations to me, while I tried to alleviate their pains. To make matters worse, the nearby health centre to us in Agunfoye Adamo, Lagos, is yet to be in operation; so it was a huge challenge for me,” she lamented.

The WHO’s representative, Aylward, further emphasised the urgent need for governments and the civil societies to act in line with policies and actions to salvage children’s future from the devastating effects of extreme weather condition.

“Children’s futures need to be consciously protected, which means taking climate action now for the sake of their health and survival, while ensuring their unique needs are recognised in the climate response.

“What we know now serves as a justifiable basis for urgent action by stakeholders to invest and develop climate action plans for all individuals that focus on improving maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) – now and in the long-term,” he said.

Market women bemoan climate change health risks

Investigations on the deteriorating health conditions of some market women point to the rising temperatures. Most of them lamented the effects on their health. For Mrs Chioma Kalu, who sells roasted plantain along Lagos Road, Ikorodu, increase in her daily water intake could not suffice in neutralising the effects of the accumulated heat in her system. She said despite taking more than six sachets of water daily, her body system still vibrates in the evening due to the accumulated heat of the day. Unfortunately, being a widow with four children, she has no other source of income aside from her hazardous livelihood.

Tochi, a fair-complexioned young woman, who sells vegetables next to Kalu, also recounted her woes from the climate crisis, as well as her financial incapability in securing a shop for her business.

“This is how we face it every day. Although we have been warned against the effects but what do we do when we have to sell to survive?” she lamented.

Both Kalu and Tochi appealed to governments for the provision of low-cost sheds for women like them to reduce the effects of the climate crisis on their health.

Governments’ role in mitigating effects of climate crisis

In an exclusive interview with Mr Olumide Idowu, co-founder ICCDI Africa International Climate Change development Initiative, he highlighted several means by which the government can safeguard Nigerians from the risks of climate change. According to him, first among them is the promotion of sustainable and renewable energy sources. This can be done through promotion of electric automobiles and investment in renewable energy infrastructure like solar and wind power.

He advocated further that government should reduce air pollution and improve the air quality by using fewer fossil fuels, which can improve public health.

“The government can also invest in climate change adaptation strategies like improving healthcare infrastructure to better respond to climate-related health risks, implementing early warning systems for extreme weather events, and educating the public about climate change and its health effects,” he noted.

To protect vulnerable children and women who are disproportionately affected by extreme climate, due to their daily work schedules outside or by roadsides, Idowu called for the provision of safe and secure shelter, access to clean water and sanitation facilities, and the implementation of policies that ensure their rights and well-being are prioritised in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction effort.

MeCure Partners ACPN, Introduces Drug Safety Technology in Nigeria

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A cross-section of ACPN and Me Cure delegates at the meeting

Due to the growing menace of fake and counterfeit drugs circulation and treatment failures in the country, Me Cure Industries Plc, has signed an agreement with the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) in introducing an innovative technology, called Track-and-Trace solution to ensure product safety and elevate patient safety standards.

Speaking in a meeting held at the ACPN National Secretariat, Ikeja, Lagos, the leader of the Me Cure team, Pharm. (Mrs) Iniobong Joseph, explained the essence of the new technology, saying it is in response to the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry’s dual imperative to balance the accessibility of medicines and the growing threat of fake and counterfeit drugs in the market.

She noted that the tool plays a pivotal role in preventing counterfeit drugs from infiltrating the healthcare supply chain, posing risks such as incorrect ingredients, improper dosages, and harmful substances that can have severe health consequences, adding that the initiative fortifies the pharmaceutical supply chain and also fosters collaboration among various stakeholders, including manufacturers, distributors, and regulatory bodies, through shared access to standardized, traceable data systems.

According to her, “It is user-friendly and all that is required is just to scan the QR code on the pack of any Me Cure product and all the information needed would be sent immediately. It’s an easy process for both the seller and even the end-user. The QR codes are already embedded in our cartons and product packs and they just need to download the QR code scanner.”

She further explained that the Track and Trace Solution monitors and documents the entire journey of a pharmaceutical product, from manufacturing to the end-user, adding that the comprehensive transparency ensures that every stage of the drug’s trajectory is traceable and verifiable.

“Circulation of counterfeit drugs is a fatal and growing problem, especially in developing countries where supply chain security is limited. The Track and Trace Solution offers consumers the ability to authenticate each product with just a click on any smartphone.

“We have come to partner with the ACPN so that we can encourage community pharmacists across the country to come on board and embrace this initiative, as we want every dose, every pill, and every medication to be trusted and we want assurance of good health after the medications are taken. This is the standard in advanced countries and if it is replicated here, the better for our healthcare sector, as the health nation is wealthy.”

In his remarks, National Chairman, ACPN, Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu, expressed the delight of the association to partner with Me Cure towards ensuring that the society is rid of unwholesome drugs, adding that the association would like to encourage other pharma companies in the country as a matter of urgency to make sure that they take part in the track and trace policy of the federal government.

His words, “As a responsible group of professionals and a responsible company, we have decided to partner together to rid our society of sub-standard and falsified medicine, so to this extent, we are using technology for track and trace and every community pharmacists in Nigeria is encouraged to adopt this technology that is being brought onboard by Me Cure”, he said.

While speaking on the NAFDAC-launched database to identify certified drugs a few months ago, the ACPN boss noted that as the medicines are being manufactured, and taken to the warehouses in the country, NAFDAC should be aware, adding that as it goes down to the retailer, even to the point of the end-users, NAFDAC should be in the know, so that every product in Nigeria would have traceability attributes.

“If there is doubt about the credibility of medicines, the healthcare system is in trouble, so this innovation will encourage people to trust Nigeria’s healthcare system and this is the reason we are partnering with Me Cure, to encourage other pharma companies to come on board so that every tablet, every syrup, every injection, and every capsule that come from our pharma sector are products of trust”, he said.

NGO Calls for Increased Investments to Scale-Up Nutrition

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Nutrition Experts Educate Kaduna Community on Proper Lifestyle Habits
Healthy nutrition builds immunse system, Image source:

 

 

A Non-governmental Organisation, Civil Society Scalling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has called on the Sokoto State government to increase investments, timely releases and effective utilisation of allocated funds for nutrition services.

The Executive Secretary CS-SUNN, Mr Silas Ideva, made the call at a one day media roundtable on increased Investments in nutrition to scale-up quality nutrition services organised by CS-SUNN and UNICEF in Sokoto State, North West Nigeria.

Mr Ideva said the relevance of increased Investments in nutrition cannot be overstated, as nutrition remain a cornerstone for sustainable development, economic prosperity and the overall wellbeing of the populace in the country.

He said: “Allocation and promptly release of adequate funds for implementation of nutrition interventions design to reduce malnutrition.

“About 22.4% of households in Sokoto state are experiencing food insecurity, more investments will address various malnutrition challenges for socio-economic development in the state.”

Mr Ideva further urged the state government to approve and fund the Sokoto Multi-Sectoral Plan Action for nutrition and domestication of National Strategic Plan for Nutrition (NSPAN).

He said: “this comprehensive plan outlines costed, nutrition-specific, and nutrition-sensitive interventions with measurable targets spanning from 2014-2019.

In Sokoto, the NSPAN is yet to be domesticated, through the state Food and Nutrition policy is operational.

” The non-approval of the state NSPAN serves as a persistent barrier, affecting the adoption of of a coordinated, Multi-Sectoral approach by various nutrition related ministries, departments and agencies in promoting food and nutrition security in Sokoto.

“The supportive environment for maternity protection and entitlements, crucial for fostering and enhancing breastfeeding practices.

“If given attention the issues of malnutrition will be a history in the state,” he noted.

Mr Ideva also urged the media to intensify reporting on nutrition issues, attracting policymakers and stakeholders to take decisive steps towards curbing malnutrition in Sokoto.

The Executive Secretary further advised other relevant organisations to collaborate with CS-SUNN in advocating for the implementation of maternal and child nutrition interventions in Sokoto State.

 

 

 

For Wellness, Sleep is not Negotiable

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A man having a sound sleep. Image source: Stock Photo

In wellness, we acknowledge that sleep is a part of the normal healthy design of the body by our creator. We define wellness as his perfection and our starting point. In other words, Wellness is a perspective on our health that gives reverence to the source of our being. Which simply implies that everything God created is perfect.

All creatures God created have a sleep and wake cycle, also known as circadian rhythm. This means that in His perfection, there is a time to be awake and a time to sleep. Now, let’s explore this with sleep. The circadian rhythm rules the world. And, the more you exist in alignment with that circadian rhythm, the more health you enjoy.

What is the normal sleep pattern for humans? Let’s start with a discussion on the natural cue for sleep. Sunset is when the sun goes down, or when the moon starts to come up. That’s when a lot of mammals find their quiet spot to sleep. That was when ancient man, before the era of electricity and light bulbs, went to sleep.

Biochemically, a hormone called melatonin begins to rise in the blood from about 7 pm. By 10 pm to 2 am melatonin has reached its peak. That’s when the human body should be totally fast asleep. By about 4 am, melatonin levels are dropping and dropping to the point where it’s almost negligible, making room for another hormone called cortisol, which is the “wakeful hormone”.

Once you understand that the body’s natural sleep timing is led by melatonin levels, and is in alignment with our circadian rhythm, which is in alignment with the sun setting and the moon rising, then that is what a man is supposed to do.

Here is the wahala or trouble. Today, we violate those laws. Work schedule, transport issues, finances, using our phones, social media and watching TV are a few causes of the violation. The body is very forgiving if you do this once in a while. But if you continue with this pattern, a debt occurs, a sleep debt, also called sleep deprivation. The longer and the more chronic this occurs, the more you knock out your circadian rhythm. The longer the violation of your circadian rhythm occurs, the closer you draw illness and poor health.

“The further you stray away from Mother Nature, The sooner she says, Return to sender.” This quotation comes to light regarding our sleep behaviour. If you violate the rules of nature, you pay a price. Thus, if you desire your health and wellness back in all arenas of life – nutrition, lifestyle, mental health, spirituality, and even the environment – get back in alignment with nature or understand how nature works.

Be in bed, latest 10 pm; if possible, by 9 pm. Between 10 pm and 4 am, let your body be in that deep restorative rest. In the next write-up, I will explain what happens when you sleep.

What happens to your body, when your melatonin level rises normally? What happens to the body when you get adequate sleep? And what happens to the body biochemically and hormonally when you fail to get enough sleep? We will consider these shortly. (Continues next edition…)

Kano Elders Vow to Deal with Open Drug Markets Merchants

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The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has faulted a report by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA)
Open drugs market

Concerned elders and citizens of Kano State have expressed their dissatisfaction with the continuation of illicit drugs circulation in the state through open drug markets, as they charged drug merchants to seize trading from the open drug markets forthwith.

They lamented how the state has been turned into a major consumption centre and exit point of the illicit drugs trade, through the open drug markets activities, with huge amount of psychotropic substances to the tune of five million tramadol pills and 249,000 exol tablets sized in Kano by NDLEA in 2024 alone.

The Kano State stakeholders disclosed their concerns during a Joint Press Conference held on Saturday 24 February, where they mandated all patent medicines traders at the Muhammad Abubakar Rimi market to comply with the government directives, as affirmed recently by the court, to immediately relocate to the new pharmaceutical market at the Kano Economic City.

They vowed that the menace of illicit drugs will no longer be tolerated in Kano as it is destroying the future of the youths and the society in general.

“We call on all the Pharmaceutical Traders at the Muhammad Abubakar Rimi market to comply with the Government directives, as affirmed recently by the court, to immediately relocate to the new Pharmaceutical market at the Kano Economic City.

“We take this opportunity to call on the government and other law enforcement agencies not to relent in their efforts to ensure that the Pharmaceutical Traders, ASAP, relocate to the new Dangwauro Market as directed”, they charged.

Pharmanewsonline.com had reported how the Kano State Government in collaboration with the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) through Public- Private- Partnership (PPP) established a modern pharmaceutical market termed Coordinated Wholesale Centre (CWC) within the new Kano Economic City to relocate medicines merchants for proper regulation of their products

However, the traders resisted the move and instituted a legal action against the PCN over the movement as a violation of their rights to trade wherever they wish.

Fortunately, the court recently ruled in favour of the PCN and ordered all medicines traders to relocate from the Sabongari market to the CWC.

In pursuant of the court judgment, the stakeholders, comprising Kano Concerned Citizens Initiative (KCCI); Inuwar Kano; Kano Peace And Development Initiative (KAPEDI); Northern Reform Organization (NRO); Kano Youth Promotion Council (KYPC); League For Societal Protection Against Drug Abuse (LESPADA), met to press home their demand for the seizure of illegal drug circulation in the state.

They maintained: “There is no responsible government that will allow illicit drugs to permeate the very fabric of its society and for such drugs to be sold openly and indiscriminately in clear violation of professional ethics, and in total disregard to our societal and moral values.

“We, as elders and patriotic citizens of our beloved state would like to make it clear that this unfortunate development will no longer be tolerated. It should also be clearly understood that we are speaking with one voice over this. We are also determined to follow all legitimate ways and means to put a stop to this unfortunate development.”.

“We wish to reassure all and sundry that Kano, as a cosmopolitan city, will continue to remain hospitable and welcoming to all. However, we will not allow anyone to perpetrate any activity inimical to the wellbeing of our people”.

Understanding the Medical Humanities

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Pranksters and cardiovascular health
Patrick Iwelunmor

In an age when eclecticism in knowledge has continued to stimulate more critical discourses in various fields of human endeavour, the faculty of proffering solutions to the human condition emanates from the dynamism which interdisciplinary studies confers on the intellect. The medical sciences are beginning to realise the inalienable significance of other fields in their practices and problem-solving capacities.

Therefore, the medical humanities can be simply defined as an evolving field of study which looks at the roles and functions of the humanities (philosophy, history, culture, anthropology and visual arts) within the context of medical practice and how these roles and functions deepen human knowledge and understanding towards the aactualisation of an infinitely integrated approach to health and wellbeing.

Before now, there had been arguments about the functional value of the arts/humanities not only in the medical sciences but in life generally. This argument traces its origins to the Plato-Aristotle debate in ancient Greece. While Plato, in his famous book, The Republic, argues that the arts/humanities (literature, drama and poetry) offer nothing more than their appeal to emotions and therefore are not useful to the development of an ideal state, Aristotle counters him by identifying the important roles artistic/humanistic imagination and activities play in the evolution and growth of the state.

Medical practitioners who understand the nexus between their profession and the humanities perform their functions better and broaden their knowledge of the field in tandem with modern realities. A good physician, in evaluating a patient’s condition, will always delve into the patient’s history, which may not be limited to his medical records but may also include family, cultural and religious backgrounds. A sound grasp of these backgrounds can enlighten the physician on the nature and scope of his patient’s condition in order for him to determine the right course of treatment.

For instance, in his concept of catharsis as an ultimate feature of the Greek tragic theatre, Aristotle argues that the tears which emanate from the emotions of the audience as a result of their identification with the painful plight of the tragic-hero present an opportunity for them to purge themselves of such emotions in a harmless yet precautionary way. Catharsis therefore can be described as not just an invaluable asset in psychotherapy but can also be adjudged as one of the most cognitive activities that give birth to emotional balance. This Aristotelian concept has inspired many research activities in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.

Therefore, the concept of catharsis in tragic drama as a subgenre of literature, which in turn is an aspect of the arts/humanities, has proved beyond doubt to be very useful in the treatment of medical conditions, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorders.

Most medical scientists who have done research in this field confirm that the singular act of crying or weeping stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, slowing breathing and heart rate and bringing relief by restoring one back to his/her normal balanced state.

Another aspect of the arts/humanities that has continued to offer therapeutic value in the medical sciences is the art of narration which has metamorphosed into what we now call narrative therapy. This is a very important tool in mental health management, especially for people who have encountered very catastrophic life experiences and are battling self-esteem challenges in telling their stories without the burden of blame hanging on their necks.

For instance, a man, who incurs the wrath of the authorities and is sent to jail for his activism against injustice may never stop blaming himself and others for his travails. To tell his story better without blaming himself and others, it is the duty of the narrative therapist to offer him expert counselling on seeing himself as a hero, rather than a victim. This technique will eventually help him build more confidence and have a better self-esteem. Rather than see himself as one of those rascals troubling the peace of society, he will then begin to see himself as a hero whose actions are inspiring change or provoking a rethinking of existing social order.

One of the best examples of the use of narrative therapy (from a third person narrative perspective) is captured in a musical composition by the legendary Boney M in the song “El Lute.” Based on the true story of Eleuterio Sánchez Rodríguez, nicknamed El Lute, the song written by the German musician, Frank Farian, remains one of the most therapeutic songs in history, not only from the narrator’s angle but also from the actor’s (El Lute’s) :
He had only seen the dark side of life
The man they called El Lute
And he wanted a home just like you and like me
In a country where all would be free…

Soon the fame of his name
Spread like wild fire all over the land
With a price on his head people still gave him bread
And they gave him a hand
For they knew he was right
And his fight was their fight

And then freedom really came to his land
And also to El Lute
Now he walks in the light of a sunny new day
The man they called El Lute
The lyrics of the song reflect a young man’s battles with injustice and the travails that came with his refusal to be cowed by the system. His determination and grit in the face of social inequality and discrimination typify the resilience of the human spirit. Wherever he is today, El Lute will be super proud of his story, as told by Boney M. To a large extent, his mental health status may be as bright as the morning sun. Therefore, there are inexhaustible examples of how the humanities have and will continue to shape many more intellectual endeavours in the medical sciences.

Implement Anti-Stigma Law for HIV/AIDS,Group Urges Kaduna Govt

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FG Introduces HIV Operational Guidelines to Achieve UNAIDS 90-90-90 Target
HIV/AIDS Ribbon

The Network of People With HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) has called for the review and effective implementation of the anti-stigma and discrimination law in Kaduna State.
National Coordinator, Abdulkadir Ibrahim, made the call in Kaduna at a sensitisation workshop on a survey conducted by NEPWHAN in collaboration with the National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (NACA) across seven states of the country.

The workshop was organised to increase awareness and sensitise the people of Kaduna State to the anti-discrimination law and the recently launched National Workplace Policy on HIV and AIDS.

Represented by Secretary of the Network, Mr Nicholas Ugbeunyen, the national coordinator said 21 states had domesticated the law and were effectively implementing it, while fifteen states are yet to commence implementation of the law.

The survey, which was carried out two years ago, revealed that North Central states had the highest proportion of people being stigmatised due to their HIV status.
‘‘We are here today for a workshop which is aimed at raising awareness of the HIV/ Aids anti-discrimination act in the state.”

The HIV and AIDS Anti-Discrimination Act, 2014 focuses on critical aspects including rights of individuals, individual/organisational responsibilities, institutional obligations, acts that amount to discrimination,
enforcement and penalties for violations.
He added that the purpose of the act was to protect the rights and dignity of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.

”This act is important because it helps in eliminating all forms of discrimination based on HIV status, creating a supportive environment so that people living with HIV are able to continue working under normal conditions as long as they are medically fit. The act will promote appropriate and effective ways of managing HIV in the workplace, community, institutions and other fields of human endeavour, create a safe and enabling working and learning environment for all persons. The law did not leave out all employers of labour and employees in the public and private sectors, including the Nigerian Armed Forces, Nigeria Police, State Security Services, other para-military organizations and places of worship.”

He said some of the rights enshrined in the act included right to freedom from discrimination because of your HIV status, right to access employment opportunities and continued employment ay the right to employment benefits.
Winifred Atusue of the National Human Rights Commission said there was need for increased awareness on the rights of PLHIV and available redress options.

“Members of the network are, therefore, encouraged to present complaints on human rights violations relating to HIV/AIDS to the commission across its state offices.”
According to her, UNAIDS Global HIV record as 36.3 million people dead from AIDS between the start of the epidemic and the end of 2020.

“The HIV/AIDS epidemic is a strong health, development and human rights issue. To create an enabling environment for successful HIV/AIDS response and to affirm the dignity of people living with and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, it is essential that a human rights-based approach is applied by stakeholders at all levels. This approach requires that the promotion and protection of human rights is at the centre of all aspects of an effective response to the epidemic.”
Kaduna State Coordinator of People Living with With HIV/Aids, Bala Ismail -Ibn Ali, said the anti-stigma and discrimination law was domesticated in 2011 but had since remained dormant.

He said it needed to be reviewed, to assist the people being stigmatised. The survey conducted by the Network in collaboration with NACA indicates that women experienced the worst form of stigma and discrimination over HIV and Aids.

Mrs Asabe Madaki, coordinator of Women Living with HIV/ AIDS, said women affected faced divorce and separation from their children.

Lassa Fever: NCDC Records 2,122 Cases, 72 Deaths in 21 States

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Illustration for Lassa Fever

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) said no fewer than 2,122 suspected cases, 411 confirmed cases, and 72 deaths have been recorded from Lassa fever in Nigeria this year as of 11 February, 2024.

The confirmed cases were recorded from 21 states and 78 local government areas in the country.

The NCDC disclosed this in its Lassa Fever Situation Report for week six, which was posted on its website on Thursday.

Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic fever caused by the Lassa virus. The natural reservoir for the virus is the Mastomys natalensis rodent (commonly known as the multimammate rat or the African rat).

“Cumulatively from week one to six, 2024, 72 deaths have been reported with a case fatality rate of 17.5 per cent, which is marginally lower than the CFR for the same period in 2023 (17.6 per cent).

“In total for 2024, 21 states have recorded at least one confirmed case across 78 local government areas.

“Sixty-five per cent of all confirmed Lassa fever cases were reported from these three states (Ondo, Edo, and Bauchi) while 35 per cent were reported from 17 states with confirmed Lassa fever cases. Of the 65 per cent confirmed cases, Ondo reported 24 per cent, Edo 23 per cent, and Bauchi 18 per cent.”

How Destiny Willed me into Pharmacy, Instead of Farming – Olaopa

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Pharm. (Chief) Olubunmi Olaopa is an accomplished pharmacist and first African managing director of Glaxo Wellcome Nigeria Limited. He is an astute business administrator and Fellow of many professional bodies, including the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN). In this exclusive interview with Moses Dike, Olaopa speaks about his childhood, education and illustrious career. He also offers valuable advice to the younger generation on how to have a successful career and life, in general. Excerpts:

It is our pleasure to welcome you to our Senior Citizens column. Kindly tell us about yourself, your early childhood experiences, education and the events that have helped to shape your adult personality.

I was born in Ibadan, Oyo State, on 17 January 1954, to Pa Josiah Oluyinka Olaopa, a civil servant with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, and Mrs Eunice Ebunoluwa Olaopa, a teacher – both of blessed memories. At the age of five years, I started accompanying my mother to school. Being an underage, I could not be officially enrolled in Primary One, but I joined the class anyway. At the end of the academic year, I came top of the class. The headmaster insisted I got promoted to primary two. This was the beginning of my always being the youngest in my class, through my primary and secondary school years, and one of the youngest to graduate in the Great Ife Pharmacy class of 1975.

I attended Ansarudeen Primary School, Ifaki-Ekiti, and Salvation Army Primary School, Ikorodu, from 1959 to 1964. Thereafter, I attended Lagelu Grammar School, Ibadan, from where I obtained my West African School Certificate in 1969.I gained admission to the then University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1971 and graduated with a Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm, Hons), in June 1975.

In the course of my illustrious career in the pharma industry, I attended several senior executive development programmes and courses in Nigeria and overseas, including the Advanced Management Programme of the Lagos Business School and the Senior Executive Programme of Duke University, North Carolina, USA.

I lived my early life in an agricultural institute, my father being a senior agricultural superintendent. By extension, after my School Certificate exams, I spent a year at the School of Agriculture, Akure, before gaining admission to the University of Ife. My exposure was so limited that my choice of courses in order of priority was Agriculture, Pharmacy and Medicine.

I was offered my first choice, Agriculture. However, by the end of the first session, my horizon had broadened, and I no longer wanted to be a farmer. Fortunately, I had a good result and was allowed to change my course to Pharmacy. That marked a significant change in my future career in life.

Hearty congratulations on your 70th birthday, which you marked recently. How has this new age affected your priorities and how are you adjusting to the realities of old age?

Age, I believe, is only a number. My adjustment to life after my 70th birthday, can at best, be speculative because this happened only a few weeks ago. My routine has really not changed. However I expect slowing down in certain areas like any vigorous exercise – playing squash rackets for example. I can also take the liberty of being more flexible in resumption at work and closing hours.

I look forward to taking more holidays and spending quality time with my children and grandchildren. Travelling is one of my hobbies and I hope to add more to the over 40 countries I have visited. As I advance in life, I also expect to allocate more time to my spiritual development and church activities.

What inspired you to study Pharmacy and how would you describe your career in the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry?

Honestly, I cannot put my finger on it. I think I was just destined to be a pharmacist. As I mentioned earlier, my first choice for university admission was Agriculture. Pharmacy was second and Medicine was third. This was lopsided, indicating my low level of exposure and career guidance. I must emphasise that I have no regrets about my eventual choice of becoming a pharmacist.

Upon graduation as a pharmacist, I did my internship at the Federal Manufacturing Laboratory, Yaba, Lagos, from 1975 to 1976 and my National Youth Service at the Military Hospital, Benin-City from July 1976 to June 1977.

I started a career in the pharmaceutical industry, joining Glaxo Nigeria Ltd as a medical representative in July 1977. I occupied several key positions in Nigeria and in the United Kingdom, on my way to becoming the first African managing director of Glaxo Wellcome Nigeria Limited, in January 1996. In January 2001, I was appointed managing director, GlaxoSmithKline Pharma Nigeria & Anglophone West Africa. I retired from the company in January 2004, after 27 years of meritorious service.

I was the pioneer managing director of Cipla-Evans Limited, a Joint Venture company between Evans Medical Plc and Cipla Pty Limited, a leading Indian pharmaceutical company, specialising on HIV/AIDS drugs. I was appointed the group managing director of Evans Medical Plc, one of the oldest pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, in April 2010 and retired in October 2017, after about 40 years of meritorious service in the pharmaceutical industry.

I served the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) in various capacities. I was secretary, PSN-Lagos, from 1978 to 1981 and a member of National Council of the Society for the same period. I was member of the Lagos State Drug Abuse committee.

I am a multiple Merit Award Winner of the PSN, from Lagos, Oyo and Enugu states. I was also honoured by the National Association of Industrial Pharmacists, as well as receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award of the Obafemi Awolowo University Alumni Association. I also received the Ibadan Distinguished Fellow Award for contribution to the development of Ibadanland. I was honoured with the chieftancy title of Abese Parakoyi of Ibadanland, in April 2013 for my contributions to business development in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.

I am a Fellow of the PSN, the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP), and the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm). I am a member of the Advisory Board of the United States Pharmacopodia on Regulatory of Drug quality in Sub-Saharan Africa. I am also a member of the Presidential Committee on Pharmaceutical Reforms.

In terms of positions held, I was chairman, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN), president, West African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (WAPMA); secretary, Federation of African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (FAPMA); council member, National Agency For Drug and Food Administration and Control (NAFDAC, 2010-2012); council member, Nigeria Institute of Drug Research and Development (NIPRID, 2010-2013); member, Ministerial Committee on National Drug Distribution; member, Ministerial Committee on Sustainability of Subsidised Artemisinin Combination Therapy for Malaria; member, Advisory Board, United States Pharmacopeia Centre for Pharmaceutical Advancement and Training (CEPAT); and global chairman, Great Ife Pharmacy Alumni Association (GIPAA).

Can you share with us some of the most memorable events of your career?

These include my appointment as the first African managing director of Glaxo Nigeria Plc, GlaxoSmithKline Pharma (GSK) Nigeria & Anglophone West Africa, and later, group managing director of Evans Medical Plc. There is also my appointment as chairman of PMGMAN. Indeed, under my leadership as PMGMAN chairman, four Nigerian pharmaceutical companies received WHO GMP certification for cGMP, the first of such in West Africa. Also, under my leadership, there was registration of locally manufactured HIV-AIDS drugs and supply of the drugs under a competitive tender to West African Health Organisation (WAHO).

My conferment with the fellowships of the PSN, WAPCP and NAPharm are also memorable highlights.

With your experience in local pharmaceutical manufacturing, what are the key issues making it difficult for the sector to flourish and how can upcoming entrepreneurs navigate through these challenges?

The challenges include lack of adequate infrastructure. Most companies still provide their water, electricity, roads etc. There is also high interest rate. Not many industries can survive with the bank interest rate of 30 per cent. Others are importation of almost 80 per cent of input into local manufacture; non assurance of patronage of local manufacturers by government hospitals and parastatals; as well as the recent wave of brain drain or japa syndrome.

The upcoming entrepreneurs can navigate through these challenges through Joint Ventures with foreign companies, attractive staff retention schemes, and continuous strong advocacy for government support and intervention for single digit interest funding by specialised banks like Bank of Industry (BOI).

Recently, we have observed the exit of some major multinationals from the Nigerian business environment thus leaving some vacuum. As a stakeholder in the industry, how prepared are our local industries to reduce or fill this vacuum? Are there measures that can be put in place to increase our local capacity and ensure that these multinationals exiting does not turn around to make the country a marketing hub for foreign made products, especially those we have local capacity to produce?

It is very unfortunate that some of them are leaving. However, it has happened before during the indigenisation decree saga. Because many of them had factories then, the effect was more telling. The reality on ground is that those leaving have no state-of-the-art factories that can manufacture their sophisticated lines. These are imported and will continue to be imported. The other products can be locally manufactured on contract. The indigenisation exodus gave birth to the Fidsons, Emzors, Juhels of today. Only May & Baker, Glaxo (Evans) and Swipha survived. The exits will provide opportunities for local manufacturers.

As a pharmacy elder, which of the issues affecting Pharmacy and healthcare in general would you like the government and stakeholders to address more frontally?

The government needs to address the issue of availability of drugs at affordable prices. APIs and essential drugs should be exempt from duties. Pharmaceutical manufacturers should be given access to funds at low interest rates to be able to compete with manufacturers from Asian countries.

How do you relax? Tell us about some of the pastime activities and lifestyle modifications you have adopted to stay fit and active.

I do take a 30 minutes’ walk in the evenings and relax by watching my favourite programmes on television but I avoid my favourite teams live matches. I eat less and healthy nowadays and I have long become a social drinker. I also quit smoking because smokers die young. I could do with more sleep.

I am a life member of Ikoyi Club and belong to the Lagos Country Club. I also belong to and have been past president of other socio-cultural clubs and served on the Board of Trustees of some of them like Jericho Businessmen Club and Ultimate Circle of Nigeria.

Tell us about your family. Did any of your children take after you to study Pharmacy or other health-related professions?

I am happily married to my dear wife, Oluremilekun, a lawyer and we have four children and many grandchildren. Unfortunately none of them studied Pharmacy. Maybe I will be lucky with grandchildren

Finally, given your wealth of experience, what advice would you like to give to the younger generation of pharmacists on how to make the best use of their calling as healthcare professionals to impact humanity positively?

The younger pharmacists should not put money before their professional calling no matter which aspect of Pharmacy they choose to practise Pharmacy is a noble profession and they must strive to keep it so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NAFDAC Commissions Artemis Facility in Ota

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The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye; H.E. Mr Chandramouli Kern, the consul general of India; and observers, unveiling the new syrup factory of Artemis Life Sciences Nig. Ltd, recently held at Ota, Ogun state.

The Director General, National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, has commissioned the ultra-modern manufacturing facility of Artemis Laboratories Limited, located in Ota, Ogun State.

Speaking at the commissioning and inspection tour of the facility, the NAFDAC boss, who was joined by the Consular General of India in Nigeria, Mr Chandramouli Kern, and other dignitaries, commended Artemis for taking the bold step of transiting from drug importation and marketing to manufacturing.

Adeyeye, who seized the occasion to reiterate NAFDAC’s commitment to strengthening   local pharma manufacturing, affirmed that getting companies in the country to produce quality products is a major strategy to ensure national drug security.

She added: “Investment in local manufacturing is extremely important for job creation in Nigeria, for increasing our GDP and it is also a step towards making quality products that can be traded internationally and globally.

“At NAFDAC, we are there to support, to guide and to ensure that the products that are made here are good enough for our people in Nigeria and are good to be traded internationally.”

The DG, who appreciated Artemis for the local manufacturing facility initiative, said NAFDAC encourages local production because it is easier to supervise and monitor quality. She added that NAFDAC is evolving digital solutions to drug regulation and is prepared to help pharmaceutical companies achieve the highest quality standards.

In his remarks, Mr Kern said the COVID-19 experience has taught every country to work towards self-sufficiency in drug production through local manufacturing. He stated that India is ready to cooperate with the Nigerian government, regulators and stakeholders to improve the country’s capacity in local manufacturing.

Kern, who commended Artemis for investing in local production by setting up the ultra-modern facility, called on NAFDAC and other regulators to give local manufacturers approvals to manufacture more products so that they can fully utilise their capacity. This, he said, will not only make them get more returns on their investments but will also make them work towards reinvestment.

Speaking also at the event, the Chief Executive Officer of Artemis Laboratories Limited, Mr Nandkumar Nair, said setting up the facility represents a forward leap in the company’s mission to provide high-quality, accessible healthcare solutions.

He added that in setting up the facility, the company has demonstrated its commitment to helping Nigeria achieve self-reliance in pharmaceutical production, while contributing significantly to the national economy and public health.

“Artemis Laboratories is dedicated to expanding its manufacturing capabilities, anticipating the growing needs of the market and exploring new investment opportunities in the healthcare sector.

“This inauguration is not only a milestone for Artemis Laboratories but also a testament to our dedication to improving healthcare standards in Nigeria. We extend our gratitude to NAFDAC for their unwavering support and look forward to fostering partnerships that will enhance the healthcare ecosystem,” he said.

Speaking with Pharmanews in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the event, eminent pharmacist and Secretary of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm), Prof. Lere Baale, commended NAFDAC for setting the standards for quality products in the industry and helping to deepen the cause of local manufacturing. He said such commitment not only boosts national economic development but also improves availability and affordability of quality medicines.

While lauding Artemis Laboratories for constructing the facility, Baale averred that if local pharmaceutical manufacturing is encouraged, Nigeria stands to gain by being the pharmaceutical hub of Africa through exportation of quality pharmaceutical products to other African countries.

The NAPharm secretary appealed to the government to provide the enabling environment for pharmaceutical companies through the provisions of good infrastructure, duty waivers and other incentives that will help boost productivity in the sector.

Artemis Laboratories Limited, formally known as Sewell Pharmaceuticals Limited,  has presence in over 11 countries in Africa.

Makinde, Others Extol Vanguard Pharmacy at 11th Branch Unveiling

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Makinde, Others Extol Vanguard Pharmacy at 11th Branch Unveiling
A cross-section of Vanguard Pharmacy staff and Well-Wishers, with Pharm. Taofik Odukoya and Mrs Kawthar Odukoya, at the opening of the 11th branch in Akobo, Ibadan, Oyo State.

 

The Executive Governor of Oyo State, Engr Seyi Makinde, the National Chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), Pharm. Adewale Oladigbolu and other eminent personalities have extolled Vanguard Pharmacy Limited on the opening of a new branch in the densely populated Akobo Community, Ibadan, Oyo State, saying the government and people of the state are proud of the achievement.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the new branch, which was held recently along the popular Akobo road, Gov. Makinde who was the special guest of honour, reiterated his administration’s commitment towards the delivery of quality healthcare, as well as infrastructural development in the state, saying Vanguard Pharmacy has displayed a high level of professionalism so far and has endeared itself to the heart of people in the state.

The Governor, represented by the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Oyo State, Prof. Musibau Babatunde, noted that in 2019 when he assumed office, his administration brought up the roadmap for accelerated development which focuses on crystalizing Oyo State’s development under four major pillars, economic development, health, education as well as security, adding that its economic expansion agenda paves way for Vanguard Pharmacy and others to operate smoothly.

In his speech, Pharm. Oladigbolu, commended the couple, Pharm. Taofik Odukoya and Mrs Kawthar Odukoya, the CEO and executive director respectively, for not letting the guard down and for expanding the dream in fulfilment of the vision of the company, adding that Vanguard Pharmacy has become a household name in the state and the country at large.

While describing the establishment of the new outlet as a strategic decision, Oladigbolu noted that any community that lacks the presence of a community pharmacist is being shortchanged because the pharmacist is responsible not only for drug information but for the reduction of harm to the patient.

In their speeches, the duo of Mrs Roseline Ajayi, south-west zonal director, NAFDAC, and Pharm. (Mrs) Adenike Ogunlola, south-west zonal director, PCN, commended the founders of the Vanguard Pharmacy for putting the building together and meeting up to the standard, adding that the issue of drugs is a professional thing and shouldn’t be considered ordinary business.

According to Ajayi, who was represented by Pharm. Samuel Adeyemi, assistant director, south-west, NAFDAC, “As an agency, we associate with stakeholders who play the rule by the game because the fight against counterfeit drugs is collective, safeguarding the health of the people is a collective effort too, so we encourage Vanguard Pharmacy not to let down the guard and to continue to play the game by the rules.

In her goodwill message, the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan, Prof (Mrs) Titilayo Fakeye, urged pharmacy students to follow the good example of the Vanguard founders, adding that great things start small. “The level of professionalism and mode of operation in all their branches amazes me and I make bold to say it’s rare, so I encourage you not to lower the standard and keep giving us the best”, she stressed.

Corroborating the university don, the duo of Pharm. (Alh) Lukman Akinwande, director of Pharmaceutical Services, Oyo State, and Rtd Brig Gen Dada Adekola, chief consultant cardiologist and former CMD, 68 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Yaba, lauded the couple for having foresight and for being good role model to the younger ones.

In his speech earlier, Pharm. Odukoya described the opening of the eleventh branch as a new milestone in the 17-year journey of the enterprise to transform healthcare in Nigeria, adding that they have set ambitious goals for 2030, which is to become a national and West African retail brand, a top employer within the pharma industry, and consistently customer-centric.

His words, “At Vanguard Pharmacy, we don’t just provide medicines, we empower our customers. That’s why we’ve integrated a pharmacy, veterinary, supermarket, and bakery under one roof, a testament to our core values of excellence, innovation, and a customer-centric approach. Alongside quality products, we focus on preventive care, helping our communities lead healthier lives.

While commending the Oyo State government for his tireless work in building infrastructure and improving lives, he however requested a swift completion of ongoing road projects to ease the flow of business.

He further sought the federal government’s intervention in ensuring stable forex markets and curbing inflation which he said are necessary to ensure that life-saving medications remain accessible for all Nigerians.

In the same vein, Mrs Odukoya, the co-founder and executive director of Vanguard Pharmacy, expressed happiness over the success recorded so far, adding that the mission is to create smart health benefits for people to succeed and thrive. “With a foundation built on excellence, customer experience, innovation, simplicity, and sustainability, we remain steadfast in this pursuit”, she stressed.

Other dignitaries at the event include His Royal Majesty, Oba Rufai Adeleke Odumesi, the Lemo of Ode Lemo, Ogun State; Olori (Alh.) Folasade Odumesi, wife of Kabiyesi; Alhaji Abiodun Odukoya; Prof. (Mrs) Amudalat Bolanle Olaniyan; Pharm. Colonel Victor Ajanaku (Rtd), chairman, PSN, Oyo state; Alhaja Fatimah Dele; Pharm. Duke Otite, former chairman, ACPN, Edo State; Pharm. (Chief) Hamidu Oluyedun, retired director, Pharmaceutical Services, Oyo State, among many others.

Hippolite Amadi: Iconic Medical Engineer Keeping Countless Babies Alive

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Prof. Hippolite Amadi

One of the biggest highlights of the 2023 annual NLNG awards was the announcement of Prof. Hippolite Amadi as winner of the Nigeria Prize for Science, which comes with a $100,000 reward. The announcement sent euphoric reverberations across the global scientific community, not only because of Amadi’s track record as a powerhouse of critical neonatal interventions but also for the revolutionary nature of the innovations for which he was being specifically recognised.

Amadi had showcased to the panel of judges three respiratory technologies that have been saving the lives of premature babies by making the delivery of oxygen very cheap and easy. The first innovation is the non-invasive neonatal ventilator (the bubble PoliteCPAP), which delivers continuous positive airway pressure ventilation for very-low-birth-weight babies. The highly-effective but lower-cost alternative to similar devices which are not always accessible in the country, is now considered the gold standard in the care of premature infants with respiratory distress syndrome.

The second innovation is the oxygen delivery blender system, which allows for the safe delivery of oxygen to babies without the danger of toxicity. The third is the oxygen splitter system, which allows one oxygen source to treat many premature babies at once when piped oxygen is not available. Quite remarkably, the three devices are solar-powered, which significantly contributes to their lower cost.

While explaining the reason Amadi’s innovations won the keenly contested prize, the Advisory Board for the award, led by Prof. Barth Nnaji, said his work had not only significantly advanced neonatal care in Nigeria and similar countries, but had also further improved access and lowered the cost of neonatal care by causing an observed reduction in the market prices of the competing and existing devices.

Nnaji stated further that the devices had been tried by practitioners at various hospitals across Nigeria and the feedback was that Amadi’s PoliteCPAP is an improvement on the existing device as it provides access to ventilators and oxygen delivery simultaneously to neonates at an extremely reduced cost of N750,000, as against N6.5 million for the existing device, with comparable and better efficiency.

Flurry of accolades

In his reaction to the prize-winning innovations, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, through his Special Adviser on Media & Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, said: “The President commends Professor Amadi for leveraging his extensive background in medical engineering and technology, with a special focus on affordable medical systems, for the betterment, progress, and benefit of Nigerians and humanity in general. This significant work by this great Nigerian scientist will contribute to keeping more Nigerian children alive after birth and prepare them for a better future.”

Also reacting, Mr Andy Odeh, NLNG’s general manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, said: “We are honoured and deeply moved by the judges’ decision to recognise the ground-breaking innovation in respiratory technology that has been awarded the Nigeria Prize for Science in 2023. This invention not only represents a remarkable leap forward in medical science but also serves as a beacon of hope for the most vulnerable among us – our neonates. It reminds us that true progress is measured not only in scientific achievement but in the lives it touches and saves. Today, we celebrate the impact that innovation can have in enhancing healthcare therapy and safeguarding the futures of countless new-borns. At NLNG, we are proud to be part of a legacy that puts saving lives at the forefront of scientific pursuit.”

Litany of life-saving inventions

Amadi is an orthopaedic biomechanics specialist by training but better known globally as a researcher in neonatal technologies and global neonatal mortality reduction. He is a distinguished professor of medical technology at Imo State University and a visiting professor of medical engineering and technology at Imperial College, London. His engineering and medical career has lasted over three decades, spanning medical engineering, orthopaedics and neonatology research.

Amadi has, over the years, been celebrated for innovations and discoveries across medical disciplines. Indeed, according to him, the entry that won him the prestigious NLNG Prize for Science constitutes just 23 per cent of all the frugal neonatal interventions he has innovated for neonatal survival in Nigeria. He has introduced several other interventions to cover all the segments of support that make up the “neonatal rescue scheme (NRS)”, as he likes to call it.

Amadi is not just creating medical devices for neonatal practice but also creating antidotes and interventions to close gaps in medical treatment that cause new-born babies to die. According to him, “My vision is to rid Nigeria of the bad reputation of a high neonatal mortality rate, and I’m proud to say that I have essentially done that.”

Amadi’s present role at Imperial College London focuses on Frugal Medical Technology for low- and middle-income countries. Frugal innovation in healthcare creates affordable solutions that meet the specific needs of resource-constrained healthcare systems. These innovations are not limited to technologies and products but also include processes or policies that aim to do more with less.

He is also the principal consultant at Neonatal Concerns for Africa, a charity collaboration between Imperial College and over 25 Nigerian university hospitals that aims to equip young Africans with the skills to create local medical technologies within their environments that focus on the survival of infants.

Mission fuelled by passion

While Amadi has always been drawn to medical engineering, his foray into neonatal technologies and mortality reduction was triggered by certain disturbing discoveries he made, years after graduating from the university. He had studied Mechanical and Production Engineering at Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT), graduating as the best student in 1988. Three years later, he obtained a Masters of Engineering Technology and Management from the same institution.

By a chance sequence of events, he was brought face to face with the neonatal care environment and he discovered that premature babies were dying needlessly from lack of incubators and other factors. According to him, “That was when the passion gripped me…I saw babies die as a result of preventable causes and there are little things that could have prevented their death.”

Knowing he needed formal medical training to excel in his new-found passion, Amadi proceeded to Imperial College, London, where he obtained a Master of Engineering in Medicine, in 2002; and a Doctorate in Orthopaedic Biomechanics, in 2006. Since then, he has committed himself to filling the technology gap in neonatology and thereby saving many premature babies in Nigeria and beyond from avoidable death.

Awards and recognitions

Amadi has received diverse honours and recognitions for his life-saving innovations and selfless devotion. These include the Presidential Merit Award in Engineering Practice, by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (1999); special recognition for contributions to national development on health, by the committee of chief executives of federal tertiary hospitals of Nigeria (2007); the National Role Model Award in Medicine and Engineering, by Edumark (2008); Distinguished Alumnus Award (Academic/Professional Excellence), by the Alumni of Enugu State University of Science and Technology (2009); and the Distinguished Outstanding Excellence in Engineering Practice and Innovations Award, by Enugu State University of Science and Technology (2010).

Amadi is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine (FRSM) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Tetanus: History and Immunisation

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Tetanus is a severe and fatal disease, caused by the exotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. Its symptoms include rigidity and convulsive spasms of the skeletal muscles. The muscle stiffness usually starts in the jaw (lockjaw) and neck and then becomes generalised.

In 1884, tetanus was produced in animals by injecting them with samples of soil. In 1889, Kitasato Shibasaburo isolated the organism from a human and showed that it produced disease when injected into animals. He would later report that certain antibodies could contain the toxin.

In 1897, Edmond Nocard demonstrated the protective effect of passively transferred antitoxin. Eventually, a technique for deactivating tetanus toxin with formaldehyde was developed in the early 1920s. This led to the development of tetanus toxoid in 1924.

The C. tetani bacterium is a spore-forming, gram-positive, anaerobic rod. The spores are very resistant to heat and the usual antiseptics. They can survive autoclaving at 249.8°F (121°C) for 10 to 15 minutes. The spores are also moderately resistant to phenol and other chemical agents.

The spores are widely distributed in soil and in the intestines and faeces of animals such as horses, sheep, cattle, dogs, cats, rats, guinea pigs and chickens. In agricultural areas, a significant number of human adults may harbour the bacterium.

  1. tetani produces two exotoxins, tetanolysin and tetanospasmin. Tetanospasmin is a neurotoxin and causes the clinical manifestations of tetanus. C. tetani usually enters the body through a wound. In the presence of anaerobic conditions, the spores germinate. Toxins are produced and distributed through blood and lymphatics.

The characteristic clinical manifestations of tetanus are caused when tetanus toxin interferes with the release of neurotransmitters, blocking inhibitor impulses. This leads to unopposed muscle contraction and spasm.

Based on clinical findings, three different forms of tetanus have been described. The most common type (more than 80 per cent of reported cases) is generalised tetanus. The disease usually appears with a sliding pattern. The first sign is trismus, or lockjaw, followed by stiffness of the neck, difficulty in swallowing, and rigidity of abdominal muscles. Other symptoms include high temperature, sweating, high blood pressure, and irregular rapid heart rate.

Localised tetanus is an uncommon form of the disease in which patients have incessant contraction of muscles in the same anatomic area as the injury. These contractions may continue for many weeks before gradually subsiding. Localised tetanus may precede the onset of generalised tetanus but is generally milder.

Cephalic tetanus is a rare form of the disease, occasionally occurring with otitis media in which C. tetani is present in the flora of the middle ear or following wounds to the head. There is involvement of the cranial nerves, especially in the facial area.

Neonatal tetanus happens in infants born without protective passive immunity because the mother is not immune. It usually happens through infection of the unhealed umbilical stump, particularly when the stump is cut with an unsterilised instrument. In neonatal tetanus, symptoms usually appear from four to 14 days after birth, averaging about seven days.

The diagnosis of tetanus is completely clinical and does not depend upon bacteriologic confirmation. C. tetani is recovered from the wound in only 30 per cent of cases and can be isolated from patients who do not have tetanus. Active immunisation with tetanus toxoid should begin or continue as soon as the person’s condition has stabilised.

Transmission is mainly by contaminated wounds. Recently, a higher percentage of tetanus cases had minor wounds, probably because severe wounds are more likely to be properly managed.

Tetanus toxoid is combined with diphtheria toxoid as diphtheria and tetanus toxoid (DT) vaccine or tetanus and diphtheria toxoid (Td [Tenivac and Tdvax]) vaccine. Tetanus toxoid is also combined with both diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine as DTaP (Infanrix and Daptacel) or Tdap (Boostrix and Adacel) vaccines. Td contains reduced amounts of diphtheria toxoid compared with DT. DTaP and Tdap contain the same pertussis components, but Tdap contains a reduced quantity of some pertussis antigens and diphtheria toxoid. Boostrix contains a reduced quantity of tetanus toxoid compared to Infanrix.

Children younger than age seven years should receive DTaP vaccine or DT vaccine (in instances where the pertussis vaccine component is contraindicated or where the physician decides that pertussis vaccine is not to be administered). Persons age seven years or older should receive Td vaccine or Tdap vaccine, even if they have not completed a series of DTaP or DT (Tdap would be off-label for children age seven through nine years, but is still recommended by ACIP).  Tdap (Boostrix) is approved for persons age 10 years or older; Tdap (Adacel) is approved for persons age 10 through 64 years.

Relax Dressing Codes for Workers Amidst Heatwave, Expert urges CEOs

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The Director of Life Healings Hospital, Dr Biodun Adewumi has called on proprietors of organisations to relax their dressing codes for workers amidst the heatwaves in the country.

He disclosed to newsmen on Wednesday that it was important to consider the health of workers while protecting their organisations’ policies.

He said allowing their workers to work in a relaxed mood would also enhance their productivity apart from safeguarding their health.

“The heatwave now is serious and everyone must take precautionary measures so as not to become a casualty.

“Organisations like banks and other corporate offices should be lenient worth their workers now in terms of dressings, so as not to endanger their lives. Some offices do not even have fans or air conditioners, and those that have do not have light to power them.

“So, why suffering the workers by insisting on certain dress codes with the increased heat everywhere. This is just a call for mercy and I hope they yield to it,” he said.

Dr Adewumi, however, advised the public to remain well hydrated by taking water intermittently and avoid coffees and warm or hot drinks.

He added that they should always find shade to stay if they have to be outside their houses when the sun is high.

 

NAN

Cost of Healthcare not Exorbitant in Nigeria, Says Minister

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Cost of Healthcare not Exorbitant in Nigeria, Says Minister
Dr Tunji Alausa, minister of state for health and social welfare,(middle) Prof. Akin Abayomi, Lagos State commissioner for health, (by his right); Dr (Mrs) Pamela Ajayi, president, Healthcare Federation of Nigeria; (to his left) and other dignitaries at the conference.

The Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Tunji Alausa, has cautioned healthcare practitioners in Nigeria to desist from spreading a negative notion about the provision of healthcare services in the country, stating that the cost of operating healthcare business in Nigeria is not extremely high in comparison to what obtains overseas.

Acknowledging the challenges of multiple taxation and brain drain notwithstanding, he said provision of healthcare services basically require personnel, which operators have in abundance in the country, in addition to other requirements; adding that the Federal Government is working out a sustainable public-private partnership to make healthcare accessible to all Nigerians.

Dr Alausa, made this remark at the 2024 Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria (HFN), held at the Harbour Point, Victoria Island, Lagos, recently.

He assured practitioners of government efforts in resolving bottlenecks in the pathway of care provision, while ensuring that Nigerians have access to quality healthcare which is their right.

“We have a perception but let me do a different messaging here. Let’s be careful in arousing negative feelings in people regarding healthcare, let’s be realistic, cost of doing business in healthcare sector is not terribly high.

“Healthcare globally uses a highest chunk of personnel. If you have a healthcare business, 50 per cent of your operating cost should go for personnel. Now go to the UK and compare Nigeria’s situation with it, they have well trained personnel there, but we have energetic personnel who are not as trained like those in UK. For that reason, you can use 5 to10 per cent for your personnel, and save 40 per cent. From the 40 per cent left, you spend 10 per cent on energy generation, then 10 per cent on security, you will still have a margin between 20 to 25 per cent. So cost of doing healthcare business is not excessively high in Nigeria.

“I know you talk of multiple taxation, which has been reported to the president. That is why the president has set up a task committee to address this in a wholesome manner, so that multiple taxation will be eliminated. We have created a decent environment for businesses to thrive in the economy, and president is working towards improving workers welfare package”, he explained.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, also at the conference emphasised the major role of private sector in healthcare delivery in the state, saying the sector provides over 3000  healthcare facilities in comparison to a limited number of about 300 public hospitals in Lagos, for a population of 30 million.

With private sector’s predominance in healthcare, he noted that the government is compelled by all indices to expedite an effective public- private partnership in the state, in line with the theme of the conference which is “Bridging the gaps in healthcare: public-private partnerships or integration as a catalyst for sustainable growth”.

He said “Lagos is serving a population of about 28 to 30 million people. We have 300 public health facilities, including general hospitals, private-public health facilities, and some specialist facilities, federal and tertiary academic centres. But in addition, we have over 3000 private healthcare facilities in Lagos.

“So when you look at the maths, there is a 10 to one ratio between private and public. This also tells us therefore that the private sector is really predominantly responsible for providing healthcare in Lagos state”.

Addressing the prominent participants at the conference, which cuts across the healthcare team, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, lab scientists, technicians among others, the President, Healthcare Federation of Nigeria (HFC) Dr Pamela Ajayi, highlighted the challenges encountered by members in their quest for healthcare provision, which informed the thematic discussion of the conference, as a means of developing workable solutions to the issues.

She particularly harped on the need to resolve most gaps in public-private partnership, irrespective of the significant interventions by the association, she maintained that there are still gaps to be bridged, in order for an average Nigerian to access healthcare seamlessly.

According to her, “Our mission is to support the achievement of up Universal Health Coverage, through private sector activation. And with the challenges that we experience in the country, with our healthcare institutions, etc. We know there are gaps in healthcare, and so we came up with this theme, because we know that there is a rift between the public and the private sectors although as friends, we have made a concerted effort to ensure that we work together.

“There are so many issues we’ve worked together on public private partnerships we have helped cultivate. There are so many things in the government we’ve advocated for that have been done, but still the gaps that exist, the rifts that exist between the two need to be closed for a lot of the healthcare system issues to be resolved’.

She disclosed that their major advocacy is moving beyond public-private partnerships to public-private integration and creating a seamless healthcare system that works for the benefit of all.

As a Man Thinketh: Unveiling the Power of Thought

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HubCare’s Vision is to Democratise Healthcare for Africans- Kareem
Pharm. Sesan Kareem

The ancient saying, “As a man thinketh, so is he”, encapsulates a profound truth that transcends time and culture. This age-old wisdom, often attributed to King Solomon, highlights the profound influence of one’s thoughts on shaping their reality. Delving into the depths of psychology, philosophy, and spirituality, we unravel the layers of meaning behind this timeless aphorism.

At its core, the proverb suggests a direct correlation between our thoughts and our actions, emphasising the pivotal role of the mind in moulding our character and determining the course of our lives. This concept finds resonance in various philosophical and religious traditions.

The Stoics, renowned for their emphasis on personal virtue and inner strength, echoed similar sentiments. Epictetus, a prominent Stoic philosopher, asserted that “We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.” This echoes the idea that our thoughts, the internal landscape of our minds, hold the key to our reactions and, ultimately, our destiny.

In the realm of Buddhism, the concept aligns with the notion of mindfulness and the awareness of one’s thoughts. The Buddha himself declared, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.” This profound insight underscores the transformative power of thoughts in shaping not only our actions but our very being.

The modern self-help movement has also embraced the wisdom encapsulated in this ancient saying. Influential figures like Napoleon Hill and Earl Nightingale have expounded on the idea that our thoughts act as a magnetic force, attracting circumstances and opportunities that align with our dominant mental attitude. They argue that cultivating a positive mindset can catalyse success, happiness, and overall well-being.

Psychology, too, offers insights into the intricate relationship between thoughts and behaviour. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), a widely practised therapeutic approach, posits that our thoughts influence our emotions and actions. By challenging and reshaping negative thought patterns, individuals can transform their emotional responses and behavioural tendencies.

Moreover, the neurological underpinnings of this concept are gaining recognition. The field of neuroplasticity reveals the brain’s remarkable ability to reorganize itself based on experience. Positive and constructive thoughts can stimulate neural pathways associated with resilience, creativity, and problem-solving, fostering a more adaptive and empowered mindset.

However, the power of thought is a double-edged sword. Just as positive thoughts can pave the way for growth and fulfillment, negative thoughts can become self-fulfilling prophecies, constraining one’s potential and perpetuating a cycle of adversity. The saying serves as a cautionary reminder, urging individuals to cultivate mindfulness and take responsibility for the nature of their thoughts.

In practical terms, applying the principle of “As a man thinketh, so is he” involves a conscious and intentional approach to thought management. It requires self-awareness to monitor the quality of one’s thoughts, identifying and challenging limiting beliefs. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and journaling, can be valuable tools in this endeavour, providing a space for reflection and self-examination.

Furthermore, fostering a positive mental attitude involves surrounding oneself with uplifting influences and engaging in activities that nourish the mind. Reading inspirational literature, seeking knowledge, and cultivating a supportive social environment contribute to the nurturing of constructive thought patterns.

The impact of this age-old wisdom extends beyond the individual to societal and collective levels. The thoughts and beliefs held collectively by a community or a society shape its culture, values, and collective destiny.

Recognising this, leaders and influencers have the responsibility to foster positive and inclusive narratives, contributing to the betterment of the whole.

In conclusion, “As a man thinketh, so is he” encapsulates a timeless truth that reverberates across cultures and philosophies. It underscores the profound influence of thoughts on shaping individual destinies and collective realities. Whether drawn from ancient wisdom, philosophical doctrines, or contemporary psychology, the essence remains clear: the mind is a powerful force that can sculpt the course of our lives. By cultivating awareness, fostering positive thoughts, and taking responsibility for our mental landscape, we unlock the transformative potential inherent in this profound aphorism.

AFFIRMATION: I think creatively, act fearlessly and accomplish masterfully. I am blessed and highly favoured.

Sesan Kareem is the founder of HubPharm Africa, a digital pharmacy that provides medicine delivery and extraordinary care, www.hubpharmafrica.com, and the principal consultant of SK Institute, www.sesankareem.com.ng.

How Nutritional Supplements help Prevent Eye Problems

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Chima Ejimofor

The role of nutritional supplements in preventing eye problems is a topic of growing interest as people seek ways to maintain and enhance their vision. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals (reactive oxygen species) and the body’s ability to neutralise them through antioxidants. In the context of the eyes, oxidative stress can damage cells, proteins, and DNA in ocular tissues.

Prolonged oxidative stress is linked to various conditions like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, and glaucoma. Free radicals generated by factors such as UV exposure and environmental pollutants can contribute to this stress, harming the delicate structures of the eyes and potentially leading to vision problems.

In essence, oxidative stress in the eyes is a contributing factor to age-related eye diseases, emphasising the importance of a diet rich in antioxidants to counteract these harmful effects.

Common eye problems include refractive errors (near-sightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism), cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, and dry eye syndrome. Regular eye exams can help detect and manage these issues early.

The main causes of eye problems are:

malnutrition

infections

allergies

high blood pressure

diabetes

Tooth infections (because they share the same vascular and nervous system)
heredity problems
a trauma caused by being hit or by an object getting into the eye problems in the ocular muscles
unhealthy habit of reading with poor lighting.

Our eyes require a variety of nutrients to function optimally, and deficiencies in these nutrients can contribute to various eye conditions. Here, we’ll explore key nutrients and their roles in supporting eye health, as well as the potential benefits of nutritional supplements.

1. Vitamins and antioxidants

– Vitamin A: Essential for maintaining the health of the retina. A deficiency can lead to night blindness.

– Vitamin C: An antioxidant that helps protect the eyes from oxidative stress, reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.

– Vitamin E: Another powerful antioxidant that may protect the eyes from free radical damage.

2. Omega-3 fatty acids

– DHA and EPA: Found in fish oil, these omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in maintaining the structural integrity of the retina. They are associated with a lower risk of AMD and dry eye syndrome.

3. Zinc

This is essential for the function of enzymes in the eye. Zinc deficiency is linked to poor night vision and cataracts.

4. Lutein and zeaxanthin

These carotenoids are found in high concentrations in the retina. They help protect against harmful high-energy light waves like ultraviolet rays. Lutein and zeaxanthin are associated with a lower risk of AMD and cataracts.

5. Nutritional supplements

While a balanced diet is the primary source of these nutrients, supplements can be beneficial, especially for those who have difficulty meeting their nutritional needs through food alone. However, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplement regimen.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is a common eye condition among older adults that can lead to severe vision impairment. Studies suggest that a combination of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals may slow the progression of AMD in individuals at high risk.

Cataracts

Cataracts, the clouding of the eye’s lens, are influenced by oxidative stress. Antioxidants like vitamin C and E, along with lutein and zeaxanthin, may help reduce the risk of cataracts.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA and EPA, have been shown to alleviate symptoms of dry eye syndrome by reducing inflammation and improving tear production.

In conclusion, maintaining eye health involves a combination of a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients and supplementation. Regular eye check-ups, a healthy lifestyle, and protective measures, such as wearing sunglasses, are integral components of comprehensive eye care. By addressing nutritional needs, individuals can contribute to the long-term health of their eyes and potentially reduce the risk of developing common eye problems.

References:

Guide to Natural Remedies for Health and Well-Being – Enrique Garza Gutierrez BSc, C.Ht.

Google,ChatGPT

Mrs Chima Ejimofor is the lead partner of Infinite Health Consult, and is available for the purchase of FLP nutritional supplements, health talks and wellness seminars. She is based in Lagos, Nigeria. Telephone/WhatsApp: 07033179632, email: infinitehealthconsult@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.000 Children Vaccinated against Malaria in Africa, Says WHO

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10.000 Children Vaccinated against Malaria in Africa, Says WHO
Children receiving malaria vaccine in Cameroon

About 10 000 children in Burkina Faso and Cameroon have now received the RTS,S malaria vaccine since its introduction this year, as vaccine rollout in Africa expands in the region, the World Health Organisation (WHO)  Regional Office for Africa has disclosed.

With Cameroon being the first outside the malaria vaccine pilot programme to introduce the vaccine into its national routine immunisation programme on 22 January 2024, followed by Burkina Faso on 5 February, the global health agency said a wider malaria vaccine rollout is underway this year in several African countries.

The international health agency asserts that malaria burden is the highest on the African continent, which accounted for approximately 94 per cent of global malaria cases and 95 per cent of related deaths in 2022. There were 249 million malaria cases globally in 2022, leading to 608 000 deaths. Of these deaths, 77 per cent were children under 5 years of age, mostly in Africa.

According to Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, “Malaria is one of the major health challenges our region faces. The wider rollout of the malaria vaccine marks a significant milestone in advancing the fight against this deadly disease.

“We’re committed to supporting countries to ensure that all eligible children are protected from the devastating impacts of this preventable illness”, she stated.

Moeti,  in a statement made available to pharmanewsonline, noted that the vaccine rollout in the two countries mark the start of a major initiative by the WHO Regional Office for Africa’s Accelerated Malaria Vaccines Introduction and Rollout in Africa (AMVIRA).

She hinted that AMVIRA was developed as a response to the planned introduction of the two malaria vaccines (RTS,S and R21) into the routine immunisation schedules of 19 countries in the Africa region in 2024. Through AMVIRA, WHO in Africa will strengthen the provision of state-of-the-art support to countries in their efforts to effectively and efficiently introduce and rollout malaria vaccines. The initiative also enhances coordination with partners, UNICEF, GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, and other partners.

In support of countries to ensure smooth introduction, community understanding and acceptance, and strengthened logistics, Moeti said WHO has deployed 69 experts in immunisation, data science and communication, across all 10 regions in Cameroon, as well as in Burkina Faso.

“As the malaria vaccine rollout extends to all eligible countries, WHO will continue to ensure that experts are deployed where needed, implement robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to track progress, identify challenges and facilitate timely interventions where required. The effective strategies that were witnessed in Cameroon and Burkina Faso are being documented and will be shared with other countries as they prepare for and launch the vaccines”, she assured.

Prominent Pharmacists, Others Celebrate Drugfield Boss, Ekundayo, at 70

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– As company marks 30th anniversary

Prominent Pharmacists, Others Celebrate Drugfield Boss, Ekundayo, at 70

R-L: PSN President, Prof. C. Usifoh, Pharm. Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, wife of the celebrant and the celebrant during the cutting of Pharm. Ekundayo’s 70th birthday cake, anchored by Prof. Usifoh, recently.

It was celebration galore recently as prominent pharmacists, friends and family members gathered on 18 January, to mark the 70th birthday of the Managing Director of Drugfield Pharmaceuticals Limited, Pharm. Olakunle Ekundayo, even as the company’s 30th anniversary was also celebrated.

Speaking at the event, President of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm) and former Minister of Health, Pharm. Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, who was the chairman of the occasion, described Ekundayo as a humble and noble personality.
He also commended Drugfield Pharma for its outstanding contributions to the development of the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry.

“Ekundayo is surrounded by integrity in running his company, Drugfield Pharmaceuticals Limited. He’s an example of the amazing grace of God. When you meet him, you can see someone who enjoys calm and tranquility”, Adelusi-Adeluyi said.

He however charged the celebrant not to rest on his oars, saying his attainment 70 years is not the time to retire but to “refire”.

Also speaking at the event, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Professor Cyril Usifoh, said the mother of Ekundayo should be commended for raising and labouring for him to be a good son. He also appreciated the celebrant for his contributions to the pharmaceutical industry and the level to which he has been able to take Drugfield.

The Chairman, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN), Mr Oluwatosin Jolayemi, who is also the MD/CEO of Daily-Need Industries Limited, described Ekundayo as one of the pillars of the group, noting that the celebrant’s words of wisdom are highly impactful.

The high point of the event was the presentation of a full-length portrait to the celebrant by the Great Ife Pharmacy Alumni. The celebrant who could not hide his joyous feeling, in return, pledged his continuous support to the institution. He pledged the sum of N5 million to support the faculty on any project of their choice.

Ekundayo also used the occasion to recognise some of those who had contributed positively to his life over the years. He presented a posthumous award to one Zacchaeus Andrew Bello for being a destiny-helper. He also presented an award to one Mr Ferdinand. F, also for being a benefactor.

The celebrant also recognised Adelusi-Adeluyi with a special award for being an excellent inspiration and role model to him.

The longest-serving staff at Drugfield, Emilia Ako, was also presented with an award of recognition, for 30 years of unbroken, meritorious service.

Meet Victor Adekanye, our February Personality

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Pharm. Victor Adekanye

Pharm. Victor Olumuyiwa Adekanye, a seasoned sales and marketing professional, is the current trade marketing manager at World Wide Commercial Ventures Limited (WWCVL). He is a strategic thinker, product development strategist and transformational leader, with about 29 years of sales, marketing and management experience.
Adekanye, was born in Prestea, Ghana, on 27 July, 1967, to the family of Elder and Mrs Joel Oloyede Adekanye.
An indigene of Oyan, in Odo Otin North Local Government Area of Osun State.

Adekanye gained admission into the University of Benin, Edo State in 1988, and graduated with a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree in 1994. He further obtained an MBA from the Federal University of Technology (FUTA), Akure, Ondo State, in 2002.

He got his first exposure to the corporate world between 1994 and 1995, when he commenced his internship with May and Baker Plc, Lagos. He also observed his mandatory NYSC scheme at Roche Nigeria Limited, Lagos, from 1995 to 1997.

Adekanye has worked in various capacities as medical representative, product manager, national sales manager, marketing manager, key account manager and trade marketing manager. His career journey started at Nigerian German Chemicals, between 1997 and 1999, before he moved to Schering Africa, from 1999 to 2005. He joined World Wide Commercial Ventures Limited (WWCVL) for the first time, between 2005 and 2007, before moving to Crystal Foods and Drugs Limited, between 2007 and 2011. He returned to WWCVL in 2011 and has been there to date.

Adekanye has attended several products management and leadership training, seminars and workshops within the country and overseas. He is an active member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP), as well as other professional bodies. He is regular at the annual PSN national conference, ACPN national conference, NAIP national conference and many others across the country.

He was chairman of the Antidrug Misuse and Abuse Committee of PANS, UNIBEN; internal auditor, NAIP (2008 to 2010); member, Committee for the Inauguration of President and Investiture of Fellows of PSN (February 2022); member, Development and Special Project Committee of the PSN; chairman, Conference Planning Committee for the 95th Annual Conference of the PSN, Tin City, 2022 in Jos, Plateau State.

Adekanye, who has won many accolades and awards for his laudable services and contributions to the pharmacy profession, is a Merit Award Winner of PSN, Lagos State.

His hobbies include listening to music, travelling and sightseeing, watching football and playing table tennis. He is married to Pharm. (Mrs) Evelyn Adekanye and blessed with three children.

Pharmanews February PDF Edition Free Download

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Published every month since its inception in 1979, Pharmanews is the largest circulating health periodical, covering all the 36 states of Nigeria and beyond. Pharmanews continues to break new grounds in health reportage and has established an enviable reputation in the healthcare sector and in the pharmaceutical industry, in particular.

Our website (www.pharmanewsonline.com) has become West Africa’s biggest online health news portal, attracting thousands of global visitors, especially healthcare professionals, on daily basis.

To appreciate readers and subscribers for their continuous patronage all these years, Pharmanews limited is offering free copies of Pharmanews (PDF format).

Attached to this post are copies of Pharmanews Journal PDF Edition from January 2020 to date.

Click the links below to download

 

PHARMANEWS JOURNAL EDITION 2024

PHARMANEWS JOURNAL EDITION 2023

PHARMANEWS JOURNAL EDITION 2022

PHARMANEWS JOURNAL EDITION 2021

PHARMANEWS JOURNAL EDITION 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop Supplying Medicines to Niger Street, Sabon Gari Market, NAFDAC, PCN Charge Manufacturers

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in conjunction with the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) has warned pharmaceutical manufacturers and importers across the country to desist from supplying medicines to patent medicines dealers in Niger Street and Sabon Gari Market, Kano State.

This comes after the judgment of the Court of Appeal on Friday, which ordered the medicines merchant to immediately vacate the Sabon Gari Market and relocate to the Coordinated Wholesale Centre, Dangwauro, Kano.

In a statement signed by the management of the two regulatory agencies, they explained the rationale behind the directive, which is prevent distribution of substandard and falsified medicines in the state.

They however warned that any company that fails to comply with this directive risks losing its site license as well as the product license.

It read in part “ NAFDAC and PCN warn manufacturers, importers, medical representatives and all distributors to from this very moment cease supplying pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other regulated pharmaceutical products to facilities, companies in Niger Street, Sabon Gari Market, or else where outside the Coordinated Wholesale Centre in Dangwauro, Kano.

“This is to ensure good distribution of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, etc and prevent circulation of substandard and falsified medicines in the market.”

The regulators also charged retailers, hospitals and others to be mindful of this development to prevent the sales and purchase of falsified medicines or medical devices.

NAFDAC’s Ban on Sachet Alcoholic Drinks

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The recent ban on the production, sales and distribution of alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles, by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), is a step in the right direction. On 5 February, 2024, the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, in a press conference, announced the agency’s decision to outlaw the products, following the expiry date of 31 January, 2024, for the phasing out of products in these categories.

Adeyeye cited, as justification for the ban, the need to address the public health concerns associated with the consumption of these products, especially considering their high alcohol content. Moreover, their pocket-friendly sizes and prices, make them easily accessible to vulnerable populations, minors, and transporters, thereby constituting a menace to the society.

The NAFDAC boss further referenced the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s report that links the intake of alcohol by minors and other vulnerable populations to drug use, poor grades, injury or death, risky sexual activities, bad decisions and health problems. According to Adeyeye, “The alcoholic content in sachet or PET bottles less than 200ml is 30 per cent, while beer has 4-8 per cent alcohol.”
In a disturbing twist, however, the ban has generated massive protests among civil society groups and industry players, calling for its withdrawal, as well as the removal of Adeyeye from office. According to them, the legislation is an anti-people policy, which has the potential of leading to the loss of job for 500,000 Nigerians, aggravate the sufferings of the people and create more problems for the nation’s economy.

Even more alarmingly, stakeholders from the Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA); Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN); Food Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association and National Union of Food Beverages and Tobacco Employee (NUFBTE), among others, have described the ban as ill thought-out, due to the poor economic indices in the country. They argue that it is at the peril of private investors who muscled their hard-earned capital to invest in the business.

It must be emphasised, however, that regardless of opposition from critics who seem to be more concerned about profit than safety, NAFDAC’s decision represents a significant milestone in the country’s efforts to prioritise public health and well-being. By taking decisive action to regulate the production and sale of these products, NAFDAC is sending a clear message that the health and safety of Nigerians are more paramount than the business interests of a few. Moreover, the decision aligns with global efforts to regulate the production, marketing, and consumption of alcohol to mitigate the adverse effects on individuals and communities.

Therefore, rather than capitulate to the cacophonies from detractors, NAFDAC must intensify awareness campaigns on responsible drinking and the risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption. The agency must continue to highlight the calamitous effects sachet and PET bottle alcoholic beverages pose to the health of Nigerians, especially underage persons who abuse them largely because of their handiness and affordability.

According to recent reports by WHO and other concerned analysts, just a few years back, Nigeria occupied the 27th position globally in adult alcohol drinking (age 15+) in litres per year. Following this, the country became one of the leading African countries in alcohol consumption. This is worrisome, as repeated studies have shown that periodic heavy drinking of alcohol causes very serious health conditions, such as liver cirrhosis, cancer, high vehicular fatalities, and trauma to family members due to medical bills, among others. More than 200 health conditions, including HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis are linked to reckless alcoholism, according to the WHO.

It is also important to note that the production and consumption of sachet and PET bottle alcohol lead to the scourge of unrecyclable plastic waste, which constitutes a major problem to the environment. This is due to the fact that these beverages are produced with single-use plastics and nylon, which eventually clog drainages and lead to the nuisance of flooding, environmental pollution and the spread of water-borne diseases.

NAFDAC has done well so far by spearheading this very important campaign in conjunction with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). As a matter of social responsibility, the NURTW leadership should take this campaign seriously and call its members to order. A motorpark is a wrong place for the sale of alcoholic beverages. Beyond the ban, NAFDAC and law enforcement agencies should ensure that offenders are brought to book.

The several protests and agitations notwithstanding, we want to categorically state that economic concerns should not supersede the health and wellbeing of Nigerians. NAFDAC is on the right path as this clampdown has been long overdue. Economic hardship is a global reality and not peculiar to Nigeria alone; therefore, it must not be used as a yardstick to discountenance the scourge of health implications emanating from the abuse of sachet and PET bottle alcoholic beverages.

Relocate to Coordinated Wholesale Centre, Court Orders Kano Medicine Dealers

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Existence of Patent Medicine Stores & Open Drug Markets in Nigeria: Evidence of Failure in Health Sector
Open drug market

Patent medicine dealers operating at the Sabon Gari open drug market, have been ordered by the Court of Appeal sitting in Kano to relocate to Coordinated Wholesale Centre, with immediate effect.

In a ruling given on Friday by Justice Simon Amobeda, he dismissed the fundamental right suit filed by the Patent Medicine Dealers Association against the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria, and six others for lacking merit.

Justice Amobeda also ordered them to relocate their pharmaceutical business to the Coordinated Wholesale Centre, a designated hub at Dangoro village along Zaria.

Where Are You Going?

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God’s laws and your health
Pharm.(Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi

I am amused whenever I remember the question a woman, my mother ‘s friend, asked me in 1956, when I was at home on holidays from school. I was visiting my uncle and this woman met me on the way, stopped and asked, “Where are you going?”

I politely replied that I was visiting my uncle. She smiled at my innocent error and rephrased the question, “I mean you’re growing too tall for your age. Where are you growing to?” Then I understood what she meant.

Indeed, the question, “where are you going?” appears simple but I have found it to be very compelling for everyone to answer rightly. It is actually one of the most important questions in life. Inability to answer it correctly is responsible for nearly all failures in all aspects of life.

By failure, I mean not going in the direction God has already determined. It could be in business, marriage, family, health, education, relocating to another town or country, choosing a career, investments, travelling, belonging to social groups, making friends, and so on. There is no limit to the areas in which people can fail or succeed.

Today, many people waste their lives going in the wrong direction of life and doing things they are not supposed to be doing and consequently becoming the persons they are not created to be. Since they do not know where they are going, they can take any route or direction. Such people cannot offer the right answer to the critical question, “Where are you going?”

The place you’re going is your destination, where God has already arranged for you, as His child. God desires to show you the way to your destination. In Psalm 32:8, He promises, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” I love the New Living Translation version, which says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”

God is able to guide us because He sees what we cannot see and knows what we do not know. He knows and desires the best for us. No human being can guide and direct us as God. Therefore, if we put our trust in Him, follow His instructions and apply His principles, we must succeed in everything we do. We will know exactly where we are going and subsequently arrive at our destination. We can never stumble or fall. Joshua 1:8 (NIV) says, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

Many a time, we wish someone long life and prosperity but mere wishing cannot guarantee long life and prosperity for anyone. The Bible has made it very clear what one should do to enjoy prosperity and success.

There is no doubt that if you know where you are going, you will be prosperous and successful. Have you ever missed your way to an important function? Recently, a speaker at one of our programmes arrived very late, visibly frustrated. He apologised that the GPS had misdirected him because he didn’t know the way to the venue. In the same way, many people miss God’s blessings because they do not have divine guidance and direction.

People who know where they are going make the best use of their time and resources because they remain focused and refuse to be distracted or diverted from their course. The resources provided by God are meant to be used to give Him glory. One of the commonest prayers of Christians is for the provision of needs. I believe that God considers how the provisions at our disposal are being deployed before granting the request for more.

Those who know where they are going put their resources at God’s pleasure, knowing full well that He is the giver of all we have. There is nothing good we have that God has not given us. When God says that we should give Him back 10 per cent of what He has given us, He is only testing our faithfulness and understanding of the sources of our wealth.

The knowledge of where you are going can only be obtained when you have sincerely accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, by asking Him for forgiveness of sins and requesting Him to come into your heart.

Bloom Public Health, SFH Partner to Advance Operations in Rwanda

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L-R: Alex Mugisha, Partnerships manager, SFH, Rwanda; Professor Chimezie Anyakora, CEO, Bloom Public Health; Manasseh Gihana Wandera, executive director, SFH, Rwanda: and Jean Claude Mutabazi, country programme manager, Bloom Public Health, Rwanda.

In a laudable development for public health in Rwanda, Bloom Public Health and the Society for Family Health, Rwanda, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The historic signing ceremony took place at the Society for Family Health Headquarters, Rwanda, on 15 February, 2024, and was attended by the CEO of Bloom Public Health, Professor Chimezie Anyakora; Country Programme Manager, Bloom Public Health, Rwanda, Jean Claude Mutabazi; Executive Director of the Society for Family Health, Rwanda, Manasseh Gihana Wandera; and the Partnerships Manager, Society for Family Health, Rwanda, Alex Mugisha.

The Society for Family Health, Rwanda, is on a mission to build additional 1000 health posts in Rwanda by 2030. This MoU marks a significant milestone in the efforts to strengthen the primary health care system and improve access to health care services in Rwanda. Both organisations will be joining forces and synergizing their expertise towards improving the Rwandan health system and ensuring increased access to affordable and quality primary health care service delivery in the country.

The CEO of Bloom Public Health expressed his unwavering commitment to achieving the goal of strengthening Rwanda’s health system by building 1000 new health posts through strategic efforts in two core areas. This includes supply chain management of health commodities and strengthening laboratory capacity.

This partnership expresses both organistions’s shared passion and commitment to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and ensuring that everyone has access to affordable and quality healthcare services at all times, regardless of their socioeconomic status or location.

According to Anyakora, “Bloom Public Health was born out of the need to create African driven solutions to solve Africa’s public health issues, especially in the pharmaceutical sector. Bloom Public Health is a think tank that convenes the most innovative African minds in public health and forges global partnerships to design interventions that are tailored to the continent.

“We are contributing our quota in the sector, mobilising the right skills to fulfil the many unmet critical needs in the public health space in Africa. We are strong believers in sustainability. As stakeholders, Bloom Public Health is tackling Africa’s challenges with more commitment. We are building more African expertise and are flexible to the specific needs of the continent.

“Our commitment to achieving better healthcare in Africa is espoused in our vision and mission. Bloom Public Health exists to bridge the gap in public health in Africa and create a continent where access and quality of care are affordable to all in a sustainable way.

“Our mission is to provide the most trusted, timely, reliable, scalable, suitable, and sustainable services in the areas of supply chain management, pharmaceutical quality systems, laboratory strengthening and diagnostics, and policy for public health.”

The Society for Family Health Rwanda was established in 2012 to improve the health of Rwandan communities by providing readily accessible life-saving products, accurate health information, and services that empower communities to make informed and healthy choices.

Milo Nigeria Commits to Building Healthy Lifestyles in Children through Sport

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– Partners Real Warri Pikin and Aproko Docto

 

L-R: Egemba Chinonso Fidelis (Aproko Doctor); Ifeanyi Orabuche, category manager, Beverages, Nestlé Nigeria PLC; Charles Ikpe, category Ddvelopment executive, Beverages, Nestlé Nigeria; 
Anita Asuoha (Real Warri Pikin); Myron Otoo, category development manager, Beverages, Nestlé Nigeria; Funmilola Oyewole, category development manager, Beverages, Nestlé Nigeria

In addition to providing nutritious energy through the Milo beverages, Nestlé Nigeria has introduced another innovative means of boosting healthy lifestyles in Nigerian children through sport. The new initiative aims at inculcating invaluable life-skills that transcends traditional classroom learning, the organisation said.

For the maximum actualisation of this new objective, Nestlé disclosed its collaboration with two Nigerian social media personalities, Anita Asuoha, a health and fitness enthusiast, widely recognised as Real Warri Pikin, and Egemba Chinonso Fidelis, a practicing medical doctor and nutritionist, known as Aproko Doctor, to inspire parents to increase the participation of their children in sporting activities.

The initiative aligns with UNICEF’s ideology which holds that sport is more than competitions or entertainment, but an exercise that can have a positive effect on one’s body and mind. It builds strength, boost confidence and teaches independence.

A former Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF, Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, in one of the agency’s report on sport and development said, “It’s long been understood that sport promotes children’s health and physical development, but now we have solid evidence to suggest that sport can have a powerful impact on their overall education and life skills development.

“We must use this evidence to inspire investment in sports for children, especially the most vulnerable”.
Speaking at the formal announcement of the partnership at the company’s Head office in Lagos, the Category Manager, Beverages, Nestlé Nigeria PLC, Ifeanyi Orabuche expressed the delight of the organisation in shaping Nigerian children’s wellbeing and development through sports.

“Milo is deeply committed to empowering children through sports. We are therefore delighted to announce our collaboration with Anita Asuoha popularly known as Real Warri Pikin and Dr Chinonso Egemba also known as Aproko Doctor, to amplify the reach and impact of our initiatives aimed at helping children cultivate healthy lifestyles from a young age. We recognise the immense value that these personalities bring to our shared passion for promoting healthy lifestyles”, she stated.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) also embraces the idea of boosting children’s health with sporting activities, by highlighting impacts of physical activities on children and adolescents to include improved cognitive outcomes -academic performance, executive function, bone health, mental health -reduced symptoms of depression, and reduced adiposity.

Owing to the benefits of sporting events on children’s wellbeing, the apex global health agency, therefore recommended that children and adolescents aged 5-17 years, should do at least an average of 60 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous intensity, mostly aerobic, physical activity, across the week; Incorporate vigorous-intensity aerobic activities, as well as those that strengthen muscle and bone, at least 3 days a week.

Responding to the partnership offer, Anita Asuoha said, “This partnership is a homecoming for me as MILO has been a brand in my everyday life. Working with a brand I grew up with adds a warm touch, making this not just business, but also a personal journey, a blend that is a true blessing not only for me, but also for those I care about”.

On his part, Egemba Fidelis said, “On the path to a healthier Africa, the importance of health education and positive behavioral change cannot be overemphasised. I am excited about the cooperation with Nestlé MILO as we join hands with parents across Nigeria to raise healthier and happier children. Equipping them to win daily will help to make the world a better place”.

With a legacy spanning over seven decades, Milo plays a pivotal role in nurturing champions globally, providing a nourishing addition to the breakfasts of approximately 8 million children daily.

In 2023 alone, Milo School Sports Development programme reached around 4 million children across Nigeria.

The brand believes that sport instills essential values like grit, determination, and teamwork, contributing to the development of life skills essential for success in all facets of life.

MILO is putting more efforts behind encouraging greater participation of girls and children with special abilities in sporting activities, ensuring equal opportunities for all.

PCN, 5 Others Get New Board Chairmen

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-As Tinubu Reappoints Adeyeye as NAFDAC CEO

How to Start Up an Online Pharmacy in Nigeria
Pharmacists Council of Nigeria Logo

President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of a new Board Chairman for the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN),in the person of Pharm. Wasilat Giwa, while the Chief Executive Officer, remains Pharm. Ibrahim Ahmed.

He has also reappointed Professor Moji Adeyeye as CEO of National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), while Dr Mansur Kabir will serve as chairman of the agency.

This was announced along the appointments of five other leaders for government parastatals on Thursday.

Adeyeye’s reappointment was among the CEOs and board chairmen announced on Thursday for agencies under the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

Pharmanewsonline reports that President Buhari first appointed her to head NAFDAC in 2017. He re-appointed her for a second term of five years in December 2022.

Tinubu also appointed Dr Olajide Idris, former commissioner for health in Lagos, as the new CEO of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The other appointments are as follows:

National Blood Service Commission (NBSC), Board Chairperson, Prof. Abba Zubairu; Chief Executive Officer, Dr Saleh Yuguda.

Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN); Board Chairperson, Prof. Afolabi Lesi; Chief Executive Officer, Dr Fatima Kyari.

(Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), Board Chairperson: Dr Babajide Salako; Chief Executive Officer; Dr Tosan Erhabor.

Moddibo Adama University Teaching Hospital, Yola (MAUTH), Chief Medical Director / CEO; Prof. Adamu G. Bakari.

Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Irrua (ISTH), Chief Medical Director / CEO, Prof. Reuben Eifediyi.

 

 

 

 

Court Denies Fake UITH CMD Bail, Over Employment Scam

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Chidiebere Cyril Ndigwe

Justice Adenike Akinpelu of the Kwara State High Court has dismissed a bail application filed by a fake Chief Medical Director of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Chidiebere Cyril Ndigwe over his involvement in alleged employment scam and obtaining money under false pretense.

The Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC had dragged Ndigwe to court on a two-count charge of allegedly defrauding some job seekers by presenting himself to be the Chief Medical Director of University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital.

The petitioner alleged that Ndigwe with other persons, who are still at large, made claims on Facebook on sale of employment slots.

According to her, “Candidates who are degree holders were asked to pay the sum of N400,000 (Four Hundred Thousand Naira Only) while holders of National Diploma were made to pay N200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira Only) for job slots.”

It was alleged that the defendant had obtained about N18, 000,000( (Eighteen Million Naira) from job seekers before it was discovered that the employment offers were spurious.

Count Two Of The Charge Reads:

“That you Chidiebere Cyril Ndigwe and others still at large, between 11th April 2023 and 25th April 2023, at Ilorin, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud did obtain the sum of Six Million, Four Hundred Thousand Naira from Mrs Rukayat Joke Yusuf through Nkechi Nkwegu Onwoshi United Bank of Africa Account Number 2298797088 under the false pretence that the money was for the cost of jobs for graduates, Ordinary National Diploma, and National Certificate of Education holders, a pretense which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1 (1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and Punishable under section 1 (3) of the same Act.”

He pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to him. Based on his plea, Prosecuting counsel, Mustapha Kaigama filed a 32- paragraph affidavit to oppose the bail application of the defendant.

He told the court that the defendant did not have a verifiable address within the jurisdiction or elsewhere to warrant his bail.

He also disclosed that, it took the Commission 23 (twenty-three) days to mount surveillance for his arrest in Ebonyi State.

However, defence counsel, C.I Chime prayed the court to admit his client to bail, notwithstanding the submissions of the prosecution counsel.

Justice Akinpelu in his ruling said the defendant failed to provide enough evidence to persuade the court to admit him to bail. He adjourned the matter to a later date to be communicated to all the counsels.

 

VON

 

Place a Ban on Styrofoam, House Urges FG

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Styrofoam not good for human health, environment –Experts

 

The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to ban the production, importation, distribution, and use of styrofoam and single-use plastics in Nigeria.

It also urged the Federal Government to implement a phased approach to the ban by providing sufficient time for businesses and industries to transition to alternative eco-friendly materials and practices.

The resolutions followed the adoption of a motion on the Need to Ban the Use and Distribution of Styrofoam and Single Use Plastic Across the Country moved by Muktar Shagaya at plenary.

The lawmakers urged the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and other relevant agencies to monitor the quality of packaging of foods and beverages, particularly in fast moving consumer goods (FMCGps), ensuring global best practices are followed and all appropriate regulations guiding the whole process are adhered to.

Shagaya, while leading debate on the motion noted that the provisions of Section 20 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), places a responsibility on the Federal Government to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations, and ensure the health and well-being of its citizens.

He further noted that the increasing use of Styrofoam and single-use plastics in Nigeria poses significant environmental and public health risks, including pollution of waterways, soil, and air quality.

“Chemical found in styrofoam is linked to health issues, such as cancer, vision and hearing loss, impaired memory and concentration, and nervous system effects.

“Aware that Styrofoam is prohibited in Taiwan, Rwanda, England, and many other European countries, together with some towns and states in the United States. Currently, the product is illegal in Lagos and Abia states.

“Alternatives to Styrofoam and single-use plastics, such as biodegradable materials, reusable containers, and recyclable packaging, can reduce environmental impact and public health risks.

“The need to address the environmental and public health crises posed by Styrofoam and single-use plastics to safeguard the future of Nigeria’s natural resources, ecosystems, health, and the wellbeing of its citizens”, he said.

The House therefore mandated its Committees on Healthcare Services, Environment, and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.

 

VON

NANNM Assures Nurses of Prompt Intervention

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Sequel to the staged protests of Nigerian nurses on Monday in Lagos and Abuja over the new certificate verification guidelines released by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) which states that nurses must work for two years post-qualification before they can travel abroad, the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has pledged a timely intervention on the matter.

Aside the new guidelines, the nurses during their protests demanded from the council other things relating to good working condition, such as nurses’ welfare, salary scale, staff shortage, respect for nurses, rights of nurses, among others.

NANNM, the umbrella body of professional nurses and midwives in Nigeria, in a circular titled “Re: Revised guidelines for verification of certificate(s), dated 13 February, 2024”, acknowledged the statewide agitations of the aggrieved nurses and promised to act on their demands.

The circular, signed by NANNM General Secretary, Thomas Ahmed Shettima, was addressed to the state secretaries/PROs of the association, NANNM State Councils and FCT Abuja, NANNM Secretaries, and NANNM Specialty Groups.

Shettima disclosed that the NANNM Secretariat is in receipt of letters of complaints from some state councils of the association against certain provisions of the revised guidelines.

“Arising from the foregoing, the national leadership of NANNM had engaged the Registrar/CEO of the NMCN on a series of meetings on 12 February, 2024, and is in consultation with relevant government agencies on the subject matter.

“We want to assure all our members nationwide and indeed the entire Nigerian Nurses and Midwives that the Association (NANNM) will stop at nothing to ensure that the concerns raised are properly and promptly addressed”, he promised.

The NANNM’s Secretary General further revealed that the Board of the NMCN like most Statutory Boards has been dissolved by the Federal Government, but the association won’t rest on its oars until the policy is addressed.

Shettima expressed optimism in the speedy resolution of the matter by all relevant agencies of government involved with the matter before the implementation of the revised guidelines on 1 March, 2024.

He said, “While we appreciate the commitment of the Nigerian Nurses to the promotion and maintenance of excellence in Nursing training, practice, verifications, and respect for the dignity of labour of nurses in Nigeria with the best global practice, we urged you to remain calm and be in the state of indestructible vigilance”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shalina Harps on Vocal Health Awareness for Nigerians

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…As UNIUYO graduate, others win Shaltoux Lozenges’ Contest

 

Shalina Healthcare Nigeria Limited, makers of Shaltoux Lozenges has stressed the need for industry leaders to create more awareness on vocal health, as it pledged its commitment  to continue championing  the course, through its online digital contest tagged ‘Shaltoux My Voice My Identify’ (MVMI).

Speaking at the prize presentation programme for the winners of the online vocal contest recently held at the corporate head office of the company, the Deputy General Manager, Shalina Healthcare West Africa, Mr Sandeep Sahu, noted that the voice is every human’s unique identity and should be well taken care of, adding that Shalina is already in the forefront leading the awareness campaign.

He said that voice is an incredible instrument that allows people to express themselves, communicate, and connect with others. Just like any other part of the body, the vocal system requires proper care and attention to maintain its health and functionality.

According to him, the company will take it further by joining the rest of the world in celebrating World Voice Day 2024 in a big way, adding that the contest was for music enthusiasts to showcase their unique voices and win prizes for creating freestyle 30 to 60-second-video with the name of one of the firm products, Shaltoux Lozenges.’’

He noted further that the company is proud of the product, Shaltoux Lozenges, and also proud to connect the product with its consumers in a very creative way, adding that the company is giving back to society. We are very grateful for the opportunity to give hope to the young ones through the contest saying the company is employing different ways to touch the lives of the people.

Also speaking, the Chief Commercial Officer, Shalina Healthcare West Africa, Mr Arun Raj, in his speech said the show of interest by Nigerian youths who participated in the contest was huge, saying the contest has brought out hidden talents in many Nigerian youths and has also given them financial reward for the past three years. While assuring that Shalina will continue to provide the enabling platform for them to express their creativity so that when they ‘’blow’’ become bigger artists, they will reflect and remember Shaltoux’s My Voice, My Identity as well as Shalina that has given them the platform.

On the motive behind the online vocal challenge, the Shaltoux brand manager, Pelumi Oyebanji, said the MVMI Season 2 is an online contest for the budding youth in the country, adding that the entries were massive that at some point that she couldn’t cope with the sorting.

Prior to the  presentation of prizes, Shaltoux’s Brand Ambassador, Zadok Aghalengbe, a Nigerian entertainer, music producer, songwriter, and the 1st runner-up in the Nigerian Idol season 7, commended the company for the opportunity given to youth to showcase their talents through the challenge. The winners were, Israel Ejike Uroko, a participant with an entry name, @ejiyk from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, who emerged as the 1st Prize Winner and was presented with a cheque of 1.2 million naira; Lawrence Kurah with the entry name, @dir_ten, who emerged as the 2nd prize winner and was presented with a cheque of six hundred thousand naira, and @dcapable_twins, the twin sisters from Rivers State, who came third and were presented with a cheque of three hundred thousand naira.

In his reaction, the grand prize winner, the 28-year-old, Estate Management fresh graduate from the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, noted that the feat was a dream come true for him, adding that he felt privileged to have won the competition out of the different talents that participated, having participated in the last two editions without winning anything.

NGO Establishes Vaccine Centres in Kebbi, Zamfara

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A Non-Governmental Organisation, eHealth Africa, has established Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs), in Kebbi and Zamfara to boost vaccination for polio and other vaccine preventable diseases.

The Executive Director, eHealth Africa, Mr Atef Fawaz said this in Abuja, that the centres were built with support from philanthropists including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Aliko Dangote Foundation, among others.

“The handover of the EOC signifies a new phase in the states’ fight against polio, other vaccine preventable diseases.

“The centres will also help to address other public health issues through effective stakeholders planning, collaboration and institutional strengthening.

“The handover ceremonies also provided a boost to Nigeria’s public health sector and signify fresh drive and vigor for eHealth Africa to support public health interventions.

“It will also help in providing underserved communities with tools to lead healthier lives, he said.

According to him, the organisation was satisfied with the quality standard of the EOCs.

He said that they are of high quality standard which was in line with global best practice.

“In line with the organisation’s mission of building stronger health systems through innovative strategies, eHealth Africa has been leading the establishment of EOCs across Nigeria and Africa since 2012.

“This experience of over a decade has positioned the organisation to understand and effectively implement an intervention of this magnitude.

“This is another milestone in our consistent resolve to support public health stakeholders in effective planning and coordination of emergency preparedness and response especially as Nigeria continues to win the fight against Polio and vaccine preventable diseases,” he said.

The Senior Programme Manager, eHealth, Mr Kazeem Balogun, said that the organisation was able to build the centres to a high standard using collaborative efforts with stakeholders.

Balogun said that it was crucial to get the support of stakeholders like the national and State Primary HealthCare Development Agencies, traditional and religious leaders and international partners to build the centres.

He said their inputs were instrumental to ensuring the successful completion and activation of the centres.

Navigating 2024: Survival Strategies for Pharma Sales and Marketing Leaders in Nigeria

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While it is expected to be better than 2023, the year 2024 will be a no-less challenging one for businesses, including pharma businesses, in Nigeria. A multitude of economic obstacles abounds, creating a landscape that demands unparalleled resilience and ingenuity. Senior sales and marketing leaders in the pharmaceutical sector find themselves at the forefront of this dynamic environment, requiring immediate strategies, tactics, and tips to navigate the complexities that extend beyond the previously outlined challenges.

This article explores a set of business and economic considerations – factoring in the recent surge in fuel prices that has led to a significant increase all other costs, the critical focus on healthcare professionals, and the substantial devaluation of incomes, due to ever-surging inflation. The following is my list of imperatives for survival and positioning for significant growth thereafter.

1. Manage/optimise your cost. The imperative to manage and optimise is both urgent and important if the firm will survive these times. The surge of 250 per cent in fuel prices significantly inflates transportation and logistics costs, causing a ripple effect across all operational facets. This necessitates a meticulous reassessment of every cost element.
Identifying and reducing non-essential expenses, negotiating short-term cost relief with suppliers, insisting on value from everyone, including salespeople and implementing lean operational practices become not only financial imperatives but necessary survival strategies in a landscape where the cost of doing business is rapidly escalating.
Directly, I will suggest that a company adopt a vehicle-ownership scheme for the field force, or at least monetise fuel, oil and repair costs for salespeople who own personal vehicles.

2. Adopt responsive pricing adjustments and trade promotions. Adapting pricing strategies takes on a new dimension as inflation devalues our currency by 40-60 per cent. Pharmaceutical leaders must navigate this reality by implementing highly responsive pricing adjustments. Additionally, short-term promotions should not only stimulate demand but must do so strategically to lessen the impact of increased costs of distribution and logistics.

3. Resist the urge to cut off marketing investments. Or at least do as much as possible. Environments like this reduce effective demand, translating to shrinking market size and intense competition for the smaller market. Firms in the market shrink rather at a slower rate, if at all.

The first instinct is to cut off marketing expenses. This is counter–productive and leaves the company weak for a resurgence/rebound when the situation gets better – that is, if it does not get crowded out during these lean days. Your eyes should be firmly kept on value-for-investment, effectiveness, sound strategy and frequent evaluation of result versus investment.

For every requested marketing investment, the question should be asked, “What are we gaining by investing here?” “Is this the best way to invest for the same outcome?” “Are there cheaper but equi-effective alternatives?”

4. Rapidly deploy digital options. The surge affects all operational costs, especially physical logistics, but makes a good case for the importance of a rapid adoption of the rather cheap digital deployment. Leveraging social media platforms for outreach and engagement, especially with healthcare professionals, ensures a continued presence in an environment where physical interactions may be restricted or, as in this case, its cost has sky rocketed so much.

So, direct outreach to healthcare professionals through technology should not be seen as a convenience but as an operational necessity. Virtual conferences, webinars, and targeted digital campaigns become vital tools for developing, maintaining and strengthening relationships in the face of economic challenges.

5. Drive field force for effectiveness and efficiency. Identifying and prioritising key short-term skills for sales and marketing teams should consider the changing dynamics, not only in the market but in the costs associated with field operations. Streamlining teams must not compromise effectiveness; instead, it should enhance the adaptive capacity of the workforce to the new economic realities. Increased supervision becomes a critical component in a dispersed and dynamically changing sector.

6. Align reward system with relevant and important performance metrics. A reward and sanctions system, now more than ever, should be closely aligned with performance metrics, ensuring that every effort contributes not just to sales targets but also to operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Adoption of CRM software is becoming a necessity to ensure the each and every member of the field force deliver on their KPIs on daily basis. This presumes a clear identification of KPAs/KPIs for all and every sales and marketing role.

7. Institute cost-efficient, customer-engagement strategies. Personalised and targeted communication with healthcare professionals should be a cornerstone of the pharmaceutical marketing strategy. As we know, these professionals are not just intermediaries; they are critical stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem. Addressing their needs, providing valuable information, and fostering collaborative partnerships will be essential components of effective customer engagement.

Before we go:
a) The emphasis on immediate adaptability and agility becomes not just a response to challenges but a blueprint for survival and success.
b) Cost management takes on heightened significance, effectively to manage the escalating costs.
c) Rapid digital deployment becomes more than a strategic choice but also a necessary adaptation to a changing environment.
d) Tactical field force optimization demands not just efficiency but also effectiveness
e) Cost-efficient customer engagement strategies are no longer optional but pivotal in a landscape where the devaluation of incomes requires a recalibration of loyalty programmes and feedback mechanisms.

Success in 2024 demands a nuanced and multi-faceted approach. By promptly implementing these strategies, I believe pharmaceutical leaders will not only weather the storm but emerge as resilient, adaptive, and thriving entities in Nigeria’s ever-evolving business landscape.

Plateau Stakeholders Decry Spike in Cases of Blindness

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Plateau Stakeholders Decry Spike in Cases of Blindness
Stakeholders in the health sector have decried the rise in various eye diseases among Plateau residents leading to the surge in cases of blindness in the state.

Some of the stakeholders said this at a meeting recently organised in Jos to review the result of Rapid Assessment of Avoidable Blindness (RAAB) survey conducted in 2023 in the state.

The survey, conducted in the 17 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state, was supported by Sightsavers Nigeria, Christian Blind Mission International (CBMI) and Health and Development Support (HANDS).

Dr Alice Ramyil, a consultant ophthalmologist with the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) and the principal researcher for the survey, decried the prevalence of blindness in the state.

She explained that the state currently has 2.7 per cent prevalence of blindness against the national figure of 0.7 per cent.

She said that according to the survey, Bokkos LGA has the highest prevalence of avoidable blindness in Plateau, adding that the cases in the locality was at 16.3 per cent.
“We discovered that the prevalence of blindness in the state is higher than the national quoted value, we have a prevalence of 2.7 per cent which is way higher than the 0.7 per cent national figure.

“The main causes of blindness in the state are cataracts and glaucoma, and these conditions are avoidable.
“For those with mild to moderate visual impairment and refractive error could easily be corrected with glasses.

“We are to up our game in the provision of quality eye care to tackle these conditions and this is why we are here.
“There are surgeries for cataracts but the cost is high and the coverage is not enough. We need to improve our output and quality to attract people with eye conditions,” the expert said.

Dr Sunday Isiyaku, the Country Director of Sightsavers in Nigeria and Ghana, said that his organisation had supported the Plateau government to set up an eye health programme in the state.

He explained that it had carried out some interventions in 2023, adding that the RAAB survey further revealed the magnitude of the challenges and how his organisation could support government toward addressing the menace.

“We have supported the state government to set up an eye health programme and we enjoyed a successful working relationship in 2023.

“The survey has revealed a lot of gaps and what we want to do is to see how we can roll out our services particularly in the southern and central parts of the state, by ensuring that anyone with eye condition get access to proper treatment.

“The survey has also given us a insight of what the issues are and the magnitude of the cases; we now know where to invest resources toward ensuring that Plateau residents have healthy sights.

“We want to commend the state for providing the enabling environment for us to operate and we pray this relationship will be sustained,” he said.

Also speaking, Dr Obiarairiaku Ukeme-Edet of CBMI, said that the huge gap in eye health in the state motivated her organisation in committing resources toward strengthening the system to address the concern.

She added that the programme had provided CBMI the opportunity to reach out to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the state, being one of its focal areas.
“We are deeply interested in the poor and vulnerable, especially PWDs.

“This is an opportunity to reach out to this category of persons with our services,” she said.

Abalis Dasat, the Eye Health Manager of HANDS said that the survey revealed that unoperated cataract, glaucoma, cataract surgical complications, refractive error, among others are the main causes of blindness in the state.
“The state government through its Ministry of Health has been in partnership with donor partners like Sightsavers International and CBMI.

“As a result of the partnership, the RAAB survey was carried out. Our concern is that no one needs to be blind, needlessly.

“The survey shows the magnitude of blindness that is particularly avoidable; we now know some of the hidden facts about the magnitude of blindness in Plateau.
“Moving forward, we are going to be guided, we are no longer going to be working based on assumptions but statistically directed because of the outcome of the survey,” he said.

 

Nigerian Nurses Protest in Lagos, Abuja over New Verification Guidelines

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Nurses at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja and Lagos are protesting the new verification certification guidelines released by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NCMN).

 

The ongoing protest holding concurrently at the NMCN’s offices in Abuja and Yaba, Lagos, with nurses in their scrub, displaying different placards against the new policy.

 

In a circular on Thursday, the NMCN announced that applicants seeking the verification of certificates to foreign nursing boards and councils must possess two years post qualification experience.

 

The council also said applicants are required to pay a non-refundable fee per application, for verification to foreign boards of nursing as specified on the council’s portal.

“Eligible applicants must have a minimum of two (2) years post qualification experience from the date of issuance of permanent practicing licence. Any application with provisional licence shall be rejected out rightly,” the circular reads.

“The Council shall request a letter of Good Standing from the Chief Executive Officer of applicant’s place(s) of work and the last nursing training institutions attended and responses on these shall be addressed directly to the Registrar/CEO, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria.

“Please note that Council shall not accept such letter(s) through the applicant”.

The statement has generated lots of reactions on social media, as nurses and other medical workers view the policy as violation of their rights to relocate.

The nurses are demanding an immediate withdrawal of the circular. They are also asking that the verification process should be completed in 48 hours and also be made free.

They are also demanding an increase in remuneration and hazard allowance.

Contraceptives: Lagos Residents Express Concerns Over High Cost

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Some residents of Lagos have raised concerns over the increasing cost of contraceptives, saying it will lead to unsafe sex and unintended pregnancies among citizens.

The residents spoke in separate interviews on Saturday in Lagos, that access to affordable contraceptives was critical in ensuring the health of both partners, protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and to plan the desired pregnancy.

A banker, Mr Felix Atuche, the increasing price of condoms had made him to resort to withdrawal methods, hoping it doesn’t lead to pregnancy.

“We got married two months ago and my wife and I are currently undertaking our masters degree, so for us, pregnancy has to wait for about two years.

“I usually use the Durex Fetherlite Elite condom because it heightens the feelings between partners, just like skin to skin.

“I used to buy the pack for N1,900 but now it goes for N2,500 to N3,500, depending on the pharmacy I buy from.
“The cost is getting unaffordable for me because of the number of packs I need.

“I resorted to the withdrawal method but my wife has been avoiding sex with me because she’s scared of getting pregnant,” he said.

Similarly, Mrs Monisola Ajayi, a businesswoman, said that she prioritised her sexual health by ensuring that she used female condoms during sexual intercourse.

“Few years ago, I contracted STIs from my husband. I got treated and forgave him, but the incident left a scar in my heart, so, I always ensure I use a condom to protect myself.

“Female condoms are available but more expensive than the male condoms.

“Ten pieces of Fc2 vaginal condom go for over N4,200 now, before it was around N2,000.

“If I don’t have a condom, then no show for oga except he buys it for me. The hardship in the country is negatively affecting our sexual health,” she said.

Also, a youth corps member, Miss Celestine Adesola, said the rising cost of condoms exposed many youths to unsafe sex, which could increase sexually transmitted infections including HIV.

“Valentine celebration is this week, and some parents would be shocked if they know the unimaginable and risky practices that their teens and youths want to indulge in for fun.

“I would advise that enlightenment should be intensified among teens and youths.

“Also, non-governmental organisations should increase the distribution of free condoms to protect the health of youths,” Adesola said.

Commenting, Mr Michael Achoji, a pharmacist, said the increase in condom prices was impacted by rising inflation, cost of production and foreign exchange rate.

Achoji appealed to the Federal Government to prioritise sexual and reproductive health issues through sustained interventions that would ensure access and affordability of contraceptives.

Foundation Partners NACA on Prevention of STIs, HIV

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Sexually-transmitted infections banner

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), an NGO, has partnered the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), to promote correct and consistent use of condom in preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV.

Mr Steve Aborisade, Advocacy and Marketing Manager of AHF Nigeria, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday, that the theme for AHF 2024 celebration: “Just Use It,” was to remind the public about the efficacy of condom as veritable means of preventing STIs, HIV and unplanned pregnancies.

He quoted Dr Echey Ijezie, AHF Nigeria Country Programme Director, as saying that the ICD gives people globally, an opportunity to receive free condoms and essential information about condom use and other sexual health issues.

“On ICD 2024, we urge everyone worldwide to remember that condoms save lives and remain the best option for preventing HIV, STI’s and unplanned pregnancies.”

The partnership among others, is part of advocacy ahead of the 2024 International Condom Day (ICD), annually celebrated on Feb. 13, and also the St. Valentine’s Day marked on Feb. 14.

According to Ijezie, the use of condom has significantly impacted the global HIV and AIDS response.

“According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over one million people globally acquire an STI every day, and 117 million new HIV infections since 1990 have been averted, thanks to condoms.

“This is why, on ICD and beyond, the world must remember that condoms are safe, sexy, and essential to ending HIV and AIDS,” he said.

He further added that the foundation on youth engagement would collaborate NACA, Viral Hepatitis and STIs Control Program (NASCP), National Youth Network on HIV/AIDS Population and Development (NYNETHA).

He said, the engagement on condom education would focus on adult and youth population, creating and expanding access to accurate information that support safer sex that could halt the tide of new infections.

He said, “There would be a road walk in Benue state with public education on condom to harp on correct and consistent use of the commodity, while free condoms would be distributed to the people.

“However, AHF Nigeria is strategically targeting the youth population with messages of abstinence, but for those who are unable to abstain, to use condom consistently and correctly.

“The emphasis on condom education stems from the need to create and expand access to accurate information that support safer sexual practices in the population, which can halt the tide of new infections being recorded.’’

AHF is a global non-profit organisation providing cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to no fewer than 1.9 million people in 46 countries including Nigeria.

 

 

 

Interswitch Partners OGSHIA to Transform Health Insurance Payments in Ogun State

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L-R: Dr Kayode Oladehinde, permanent secretary, Ogun State Ministry of Health; Ebere Aninyei, regional head of sales, Southwest, Interswitch; Dr Tomi Coker, honourable commissioner for health, Ogun State; Babajide Oyeduntan, vice- president, business development and sales, Interswitch eClat and Dr Afolabi Dosunmu, executive secretary, Ogun State Health Insurance Agency, during the signing of memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Interswitch and Ogun State Health Insurance Agency in Abeokuta, Ogun state, recently.

The significance of health insurance to the general populace cannot be overstated, as it offers a myriad of benefits that not only contribute to individual well-being but also plays a crucial role in the overall progress and prosperity of the nation. Health insurance serves as a financial safeguard, mitigating the impact of exorbitant medical expenses.

In today’s world, where healthcare expenses can be substantial, health insurance ensures that individuals can access necessary treatments without facing crippling financial burdens. This financial security encourages timely medical interventions, reducing the severity and complications of illnesses and promoting better health outcomes.

As parts of their efforts to provide the residents of Ogun State with quality healthcare insurance solutions, Interswitch, one of Africa’s leading integrated digital payments and commerce companies, has partnered with the Ogun State Health Insurance Agency (OGSHIA) to revolutionise health insurance payment transactions in the state, thereby enhancing accessibility and efficiency of healthcare services in the state.

This collaboration has enabled Interswitch to integrate its world-class, cutting-edge, multi-channel payments system into the OGHSIA platform. Consequently, residents will now enjoy carrying out seamless and secure health insurance transactions.

L-R: Dr Afolabi Dosunmu, executive secretary, Ogun State Health Insurance Agency; Dr Kayode Oladehinde, permanent secretary, Ogun State Ministry of Health; Dr Tomi Coker, honourable commissioner for health, Ogun State and Babajide Oyeduntan, vice-president, business development and sales, Interswitch eClat during the signing of memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Interswitch and Ogun State Health Insurance Agency in Abeokuta, Ogun State, recently .

Importantly, the solution will bring relief to residents in remote and underserved areas in the state, fostering a more inclusive approach to healthcare coverage, and allowing OGSHIA leverage the solution to deepen health insurance transactions and make payment processes seamless in the state.

Speaking on the partnership, Babajide Oyeduntan, vice -president, Business Development and Sales at Interswitch eClat, said, “This strategic partnership seeks to enhance accessibility and efficiency, ensuring that residents receive the highest standard of care while simplifying the payment process. Interswitch remains committed to leveraging technology for positive change, and this partnership is a testament to our dedication to redefine healthcare insurance payments in Ogun State and beyond”.

He noted that the partnership aligns with Interswitch’s unwavering commitment to driving innovation and financial inclusion across various sectors in the country.

Speaking in a similar vein, Dr Tomi Coker, honourable commissioner for Health in Ogun State, emphasised the importance of modernising healthcare insurance to better serve the community.

She said “This partnership aligns with our commitment to leverage technology for improved healthcare accessibility. With the expertise of Interswitch in the digital payment landscape, we are ushering in a new era of convenience and reliability for healthcare services in Ogun State”.

This collaboration represents a commitment to driving positive change, innovation, and financial inclusion in the healthcare sector. As Ogun State embraces digital payments in the healthcare sector, it positions itself at the forefront of contemporary advancements, offering residents a more patient-centric, technologically advanced, and responsive healthcare experience.

 

 

 

Pharma West Africa Exhibition Aims to Support Nigerian Brands, Says Organiser

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L-R: Pharm.(Mrs) Clare Omatseye, CEO, JNCI; Mrs Uche Sonny-Afoekelu, director, drug registration and regulatory affairs, NAFDAC; Pharm. Ahmed I. Yakassai, chairman, Pharma West Africa; (behind him) Mr Jamie Hill, managing director, B to B Events; Dr Tunji Alausa, minister of state for health and social welfare; (behind him) Prof. Akin Abayomi, Lagos State commissioner for health: Dr (Mrs) Pamela Ajayi, president, Healthcare Federation of Nigeria; Mrs Kemi Ogunyemi, Lagos special adviser on health, at the conference.

As the days are approaching for the biggest international pharmaceutical exhibition in Nigeria- Pharma West Africa Exhibition, the organisers of the global expo, B to B Events have disclosed the rationale for the programme, which is to boost local Nigerian brands and businesses.

The Managing Director, B to B Events, Jamie Hill, in a chat with Pharmanewsonline, at the ongoing 2024 Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria (HFN), at the Harbour Point, Victoria Island, said the whole concept of the exhibition resolves around developing the Nigerian Pharmaceutical industry towards attaining an effective medicines security system.

He expressed the organisation’s delight to be hosting over 150 exhibitors at the exhibition this year and much more delighted to be having a huge percentage of Nigerian exhibitors, between 25 to 35 per cent to be present at the exhibition.

Advantage Health Africa’s delegates, at their stand at the conference.

According to him,” Launching Pharma West Africa will boost the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria. The idea is to bring together representatives from the entire pharmaceutical industry from across the globe to Nigeria under one roof for three days.

“Unlike a number of other exhibitions taking place shortly afterwards, ours is 100 per cent focused on pharmaceuticals. We are not sharing our platform with other industries, such as laboratories or medical devices.

“We are proud to be hosting over 150 exhibitors at the exhibition this year and even prouder to say that a huge percentage of our exhibitors– between 25 to 35 per cent will be Nigerian companies. This is in line with our focus as a business across our entire portfolio to support the major Nigeria brand and to support the Nigerian businesses as much as possible”.

Hill hinted further that Egypt and India are each hosting country pavilions, with other exhibitors travelling from among others, Canada, Portugal, Thailand, Pakistan, France, the Caribbean and the ECOWAS region.

He also explained on their global spread of exhibitors, who represent thousands of different pharmaceutical brands.
“I think it’s important to be able to bring the number of international companies that we have to the shores of Nigeria for this exhibition to support local business in many ways, such as for distributors or retailers being able to find more cost-effective products”, he stated.

Also speaking with Pharmanewsonline at the conference, a former President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Pharm. Ahmed I. Yakasai, who will be chairing the international exhibition, said preparations are on top gear for the conference the conference.

He disclosed how international manufacturers that will be exhibiting at the conference have indicated their interest in exploring contract manufacturing with local manufacturers as a means of boosting the GDP of Nigeria going forward.

He said prominent national and international healthcare professionals will be speaking to the theme of the exhibition “New frontiers in pharma, equitable healthcare and business success”.

ACPN Partners Clean Healthcare Initiative on 3-Day Int’l Conference

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Rectify Lapses in NHIS Guidelines, Pharmacists Tell Govt
Pharm, Wale Oladigbolu

Towards building the capacity of Nigerian healthcare providers, the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), an umbrella body for all community pharmacists in the country, is set to hold a 3-day international conference in Abuja, the FCT.

The conference which is tagged the International Conference on Quality of Medicines and Healthcare Services is scheduled to hold on 5 to 7 March, 2024, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

Speaking at a press conference in Lagos, Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu, national chairman of ACPN, said the theme of the 3-day conference, ‘Quality of Medicines and Healthcare Services’, was carefully and scientifically chosen to ensure the impact of healthcare providers on society is better and the impact on their private practice would also be better.

He added that the conference would feature, a community pharmacy expansion scheme; leadership training; vaccination training, panel discussion; scientific abstract presentation and rapid-fire session; high powered meeting with PCN and NAFDAC; focus discussion on the drug use situation in Nigeria; investiture of patrons of Clean Healthcare Initiative; and national executive council meeting.

His words, “The conference is open to all healthcare providers across the country, as we are going to have panelists discussion and abstract presentation for the scientific community. Mr Mopa Esuga, country director of United States Pharmacopeia will present the lead paper on the quality of medicine. And our partner, Clean Healthcare Initiative would draw up a one or two years programme on all that would take place at that conference.

“We are doing this knowing full well that community pharmacy in Nigeria is growing and we need to equip future members with the skills and knowledge that are necessary to take the association to the next level. The leadership training programme on the second day would be open to all community pharmacists in Nigeria, so I, therefore, encourage our members from far and near to please make themselves available for this very important leadership programme.

Speaking on the cost of registration for the leadership programme, Oladigbolu said it would be subsidised by the ACPN. We hope that it would benefit us as an association in the long run and it would also benefit the individuals outside the community pharmacy practice.

Asked if there are basic reasons for organising the conference, despite their forthcoming national conference scheduled to be held in Ibadan, Oyo State later in the year, Oladigbolu noted that the leadership training is very important because they want to avoid recruitment error, especially as regards choosing the new crop of leaders, bearing in mind that by July, there would be a change of leadership in the association.

“We want to ensure that those who will come and takeover will do better than us. I am sure if we had this kind of opportunity, we would have done better, so we want to leave a good legacy behind. Also, this would serve as a good avenue to reiterate the call on our members to get involved in politics outside the pharmacy circle, and I am sure with the leadership conference, our members would begin to think along that line”.

This is the first edition, although we have had summits and retreats in the past, this is the first time we are having a 3-day package of the leadership conference, and this is also the first time we are having an international conference on the quality of medicine and healthcare services.

Also speaking at the press conference, the duo of Pharm. Chigozie Ezeugwu, chairman of the planning committee, and Pharm. Godwin Atta Okoh, secretary, noted that they are ready to gift to healthcare providers in the country, one of the best international conferences the country has ever witnessed, adding that they hope to have between 500 and 1000 healthcare practitioners in the country, as well many pharma exhibitors at the conference.

L-R, Pharm. Chigozie Ezeugwu, chairman of the conference planning committee; Pharm. Mrs Omokhafe Ashore, national secretary, ACPN; Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu, national chairman, ACPN; and Pharm. Godwin Atta Okoh, secretary of the conference planning committee, at the Press Conference in Lagos.