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AfDB Approves Establishment of African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation 

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Press Release

AfDB Approves Establishment of African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation 
Akinwumi Adesina visiting Senegal’s Institut Pasteur

 

The African Development Bank’s Board of Directors has approved the establishment of the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation, a new groundbreaking institution that will significantly enhance Africa’s access to the technologies that underpin the manufacture of medicines, vaccines, and other pharmaceutical products.

African Development Bank Group President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina said: “This is a great development for Africa. Africa must have a health defense system, which must include three major areas: revamping Africa’s pharmaceutical industry, building Africa’s vaccine manufacturing capacity, and building Africa’s quality healthcare infrastructure.”

During the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa in February 2022, the continent’s leaders called on the African Development Bank to facilitate the establishment of the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation. Adesina, who presented the case for the institution to the African Union said: “Africa can no longer outsource the healthcare security of its 1.3 billion citizens to the benevolence of others.” With this bold initiative, the African Development Bank has made good on that commitment.

The decision is a major boost to the health prospects of a continent that has been battered for decades by the burden of several diseases and pandemics such as Covid19, but with very limited capacity to produce its own medicines and vaccines. Africa imports more than 70% of all the medicines it needs, gulping $14 billion per year.

Global efforts to rapidly expand the manufacturing of essential pharmaceutical products including vaccines in developing countries, particularly in Africa, to assure greater access, have been hampered by intellectual property rights protection and patents on technologies, know-how, manufacturing processes and trade secrets.

African pharmaceutical companies do not have the scouting and negotiation capacity, and bandwidth to engage with global pharmaceutical companies. They have been marginalized and left behind in complex global pharmaceutical innovations. Recently, 35 companies signed a license with America’s Merck to produce Nirmatrelvir, a Covid-19 drug. None of them was African.

No institution exists on the ground in Africa to support the practical implementation of Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) on non-exclusive or exclusive licensing of proprietary technologies, know-how and processes.

The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation will fill this important and glaring gap. When fully established, it will be staffed with world-class experts on pharmaceutical innovation and development, intellectual property rights, and health policy; acting as a transparent intermediator advancing and brokering the interests of the African pharmaceutical sector with global and other Southern pharmaceutical companies to share IP-protected technologies, know-how and patented processes.

Adesina said “Even with the decision of the TRIPS Waiver at the World Trade Organization (WTO), millions are dying -and will most likely continue to die – from lack of vaccines and effective protection. The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation provides a practical solution and will help to tilt the access to proprietary technologies, knowledge, know-how and processes in favor of Africa”.

The World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization, respectively, welcomed and lauded the African Development Bank’s decision to establish the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation.

The Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said “The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation is innovative thinking and action by the African Development Bank. It provides part of the infrastructure needed to assure an emergent pharmaceutical industry in Africa”.

The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, said “Establishing the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation, by the African Development Bank, is a game changer on accelerating the access of African pharmaceutical companies to IP-protected technologies and know-how in Africa”.

The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation will prioritize technologies, products and processes focused primarily on diseases that are widely prevalent in Africa, including current and future pandemics. It will also build human and professional skills, the research and development ecosystem, and support upgrading of manufacturing plant capacities and regulatory quality to meet World Health Organization standards.

While the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation is being established under the auspices of the African Development Bank, it will operate independently and raise funds from various stakeholders including governments, development finance institutions, philanthropic organizations among others.

The Foundation will boost the African Development Bank’s commitment to spend at least $3 billion over the next 10 years to support the pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing sector under its Vision 2030 Pharmaceutical Action Plan. The Foundation’s areas of work will also be an asset to all other current investments into pharmaceutical production in Africa.

Rwanda will host the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation. A common benefits entity, the Foundation will have its own governance and operational structures. It will promote and broker alliances between foreign and African pharmaceutical companies.
The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation will strengthen local pharmaceutical companies to engage in local production initiatives with systematic technology learning and technology upgrading at the plant level.

The Foundation will work with African governments, research and development centers of excellence to strengthen the regional pharmaceutical and vaccine innovation ecosystem for Africa and build skills of the kind needed for the pharmaceutical sector to flourish.
It will also promote closer coordination of the various ongoing medicines and vaccines’ manufacturing initiatives at the regional level to increase collaborative linkages, leverage synergies and partnerships in a pan-African context.

The African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation will work closely with the African Union Commission, European Union Commission, the World Health Organization, the Medicines Patent Pool, the World Trade Organization, philanthropic organizations, bilateral and multilateral agencies and institutions, and will foster collaboration between the public and private sectors in developed countries and developing countries.

Pharmanews July 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.

Pharmanews July PDF Edition Free Download

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 2022

PHARMANEWS JOURNAL EDITION 2021

PHARMANEWS JOURNAL EDITION 2020

Eminent Pharmacists Flay “Pharmacists not Trained to Offer First Aid” Claim

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Pharmacists not Trained to Offer First Aid
Pharm. Joseph Madu

National Chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN) Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu and National Chairman, Clinical Pharmacists Association of Nigeria (CPAN), Pharm. Joseph Madu, have condemned the statement allegedly made by a pharmacy manager that pharmacists are not trained to give first aid treatment, but to only sell medicines.

The pharmacy experts, who categorically decried the statement as unacceptable from a community pharmacist, said first aid treatment or wound dressing is one of the basics of pharmaceutical care and an obligation of community pharmacists, as directed by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria 4 Part Compendium on Pharmaceutical Care in Nigeria.

Pharmanews investigations revealed that the expression was allegedly made by the manager of a registered pharmacy (name withheld) on Victoria Island, as reported by a popular actress, Kate Henshaw on her Twitter handle @HenshawKate, on 19 May, 2022.

According to Henshaw, her staff had sustained an injury from an attack on the street, and was taken to the pharmacy but on getting there, the attendant refused to offer first aid treatment to her, saying she could only buy medicines.

Pharm. Wale Oladigbolu

Henshaw tweeted: “After she was stabbed in front of some people who saw the whole incident but offered no help, a mobile policeman then took her to [pharmacy name] on Adeola Adeku…She showed her wounds and  asked for help.

“They said they don’t treat wounds but that she could buy the items she needed. She then asked them that if she bought, who would help her with the stuff she was told she could buy…no response…She was then helped to a hospital where she got treatment.

“While at the police station, an officer was sent with my staff to invite someone from the pharmacy to tell us what occurred. They refused to come to the station, saying that the people on duty today were not there yesterday (no problem).

“I drove to [pharmacy name] in order to speak to the manager…I asked her why they did not offer first aid, at least, to someone in need of help, she said they are not trained to give first aid, only to sell medicines.”

The tweets went viral shortly afterwards, with many condemning the attitude of the pharmacy management.

In an exclusive interview with the ACPN National Chairman, he expressed outright displeasure at the alleged reaction and remark by the management of the concerned pharmacy, saying pharmacy practice has advanced beyond wounds dressing or first aid treatment, which any pharmacist should easily offer without any issue. He reiterated that pharmacists are, in fact, currently certified to administer vaccines, and offer pharmaceutical care to patients.

He explained further that even for pharmacists who might not have been able to receive all trainings from the four walls of a university the association has been organising continuous education to educate members on their practice.

He however said professionals are at liberty to choose the type of care they want to provide.

According to Oladigbolu,  “Pharmacists can dress wounds, pharmacists are certified to administer COVID-19 vaccines and there are lots of other things pharmacists can do for patients.

“But to say that pharmacists are not trained to give first aid treatment is a lie.

“No group of professional receives all the trainings they need from the four walls of university; that is why we organise trainings for pharmacists from time to time.”

Also speaking with Pharmanews, CPAN National Chairman, Dr Madu, corroborated his counterpart’s views, saying it is incredible that the highly commendable statement should have emanated from a pharmacist.

Madu emphatically stated that pharmacy practice is not about selling drugs, as drug dispensing is only a superficial aspect of the practice of the profession.

He said, “First of all, let me say that it is not true that pharmacists are not trained to give first aid, but only trained to sell drugs. Pharmacy practice is not about selling drugs.”

The clinical pharmacist noted that apart from drug discovery, design and manufacturing, which are major roles of pharmacists, direct patient care through clinical pharmacy, also known as pharmaceutical care, is another core aspect of the profession which makes it similar to the  sister professions such as Nursing and Medicine with nursing and medical care respectively.

He argued further that while every pharmacy establishment may have its standard operating procedures which may or may not include offering of first aid treatments, it is outrageous to say that pharmacists are not trained to offer the care.

“It is unbelievable that any pharmacist can say that pharmacists are not trained to do that. Most pharmacists have the Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD), which is a clinical and professional doctorate obtained after a six-year university academic programme and similar to Doctor of Nursing practice (DNP), Doctor of Optometry (OD), or Doctor of Medicine (MD) as all are patterned towards direct patient care, but vary according to professional roles” he emphasised.

Efforts by our correspondent to get the views of the pharmacist-in-charge of the affected pharmacy, (Mrs) Odunola Oyegade, on the alleged statement proved abortive, as she repeatedly queried the heightened interest in the matter. She added that Kate Henshaw is her client, and she had resolved the issue with her.

How to Prevent Death from Fibroids –Expert

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Detection of fibroid

 

A Consultant Gynaecologist, Dr Stanley Egbogu, has warned women against using natural remedies for the removal of fibroids.

Egbogu who works at Nnamdi Azikwe Teaching Hospital, Awka, Anambra, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Lagos.

Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb (uterus). The growths are made up of muscle and fibrous tissue and vary in size.

Egbogu said that many women take medicines that claim to be effective in removing fibroids.

He said that such claims were not scientifically proven and might lead to complications for the person.

Egbogu added that some of the medicines shrink the size of the fibroids for a while, noting that the tumour grows back.

According to him, many patients with fibroids present late for treatment at hospitals, when in actual fact the fibroids had become advanced.

He stressed that early presentation would prevent complications that accompany the surgical operation of huge fibroids.

“Fibroids should not lead to death if the surgery is properly performed by a well-trained doctor.

“However, quackery is an issue that affects the medical profession with many unqualified persons taking on responsibilities that they aren’t trained for and causing unnecessary complications and untimely deaths,” he said.

Egbogu urged patients to consult specialists for fibroids surgery and ensure the provision of blood in case the need for blood transfusion arises after the surgery.

He called for more measures and legislations to discourage quackery in the medical profession, stressing that achieving that would enhance quality healthcare services. 

(NAN)

Antidote to Worry

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

Everyone has one thing or the other to worry about. It is natural. We all worry about our businesses, jobs, investments, finances, families, children, parents, health, what to eat, dresses to wear, retirement, security of lives and properties etc. We worry about the future because we do not know what will happen. But God is omniscient. He knows what will happen in future and is in absolute control of tomorrow.

Isaiah 46:10 (NKJV) says “Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done.”  God knows the end-result even before anything is started. And in all cases, His purpose must be accomplished. Consequently, we should not worry but put our trust in Him.  He has assured us that His plans for us are for good, to have our expected end.

Studies have found that 40 percent of our worries relate to things that never occur, 30 percent to things we cannot change, 12 percent to health (while we are still healthy), and 10 percent to petty concerns. Only 8 percent of worries are about real problems. Thus, 92 percent of our worries are wasted.

It is noteworthy that 40 percent of our worries are for things that will not even happen. That means that if we know these 40 percent, we should not worry about them at all. But we do not know. Only God knows. Why should we worry for what we cannot change which constitutes 30 percent of our worries? But those things we cannot change as human beings can be changed by God, who is omnipotent. He is the unchangeable changer.

Worrying saps your energy and rarely solves problems. Productive people spend their energy doing something about their problems rather than just worrying about them. Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV) says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds through Christ Jesus.”

According to Apostle Paul, the antidote to worry is prayer. Worries must be   turned to prayers. The more you pray, the less you worry. God’s peace will guard our hearts against worry.

Worrying is bad for your health. A recent Mayo Clinic study revealed that 80 percent of their patients were ill directly or indirectly because of their mental stress. Stress is an automatic physical, mental and emotional response to a challenging event. It is a normal part of everyone’s life. The human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. When you experience changes or challenges (stressors), your body produces physical and mental responses called stress.

Physical symptoms of stress include aches and pains, exhaustion, dizziness, high blood pressure, muscle tension, stomach or digestive problems, weak immune system. Stress can lead to emotional and mental symptoms like anxiety, depression, panic attacks and sadness.

Today, the stress level in the country is high because of serious dislocation of economic activities, resulting from unprecedented insecurity of life and properties. The health, educational, agricultural, transport, power and other sectors are seriously disrupted.

Politicians are going through perilous times in their struggle for Aso Rock next year. Who will be the next president of our country is everyone’s concern today. Most of the politicians are holding meetings day and night with little or no rest or sleep. They do not have adequate rest of the body and peace of mind.  All these result in serious health issues. Heart attack and stroke are now prevalent in the country.

In order to tackle their stress, some resort to alcohol and drugs, thinking that the solution can be found there. Some resort to idols and false gods, thinking there is a way there but they are all a blind alley. Some wealthy ones resort to whatever is recommended for them that money can buy. But money cannot buy peace of mind and joy. Only a sound relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ can guarantee these.

Apostle Peter gives us a solution to stress in 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV), which says   “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” We should cast all our cares on God because He cares for us. Just throw your burdens on Him and let Him carry them. There is nothing we are going through that we cannot cast on the Lord. Matthew 11:28 says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Medical Laboratory Accreditation Ensures Accurate Test Result – Council

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Council Tasks Medical Labs on Quality Service
MLSCN Logo

The medical laboratory facilities in the country have been advised to accredit their programmes in order to upscale their services and ensure accurate and reliable test results.

Dr Tosan Erhabor, Registrar, Chief Executive Officer of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria (MLSCN), gave the advice in a statement signed by Mrs Fidelia Ginikanwa, Head, Corporate Affairs Unit of the council, on Saturday in Abuja.

Erhabor, who spoke at the presentation of ISO 15189: 2012 certificate of accreditation to Lifebridge Medical Laboratory in Abuja,, said that accreditation was the hallmark of quality, not only in medical laboratories, but also in other systems.

According to him, such systems globally are now increasingly embracing accreditation.

“The time has come for every medical laboratory in the country to begin to benchmark international best practices through accreditation.

“Such has been instrumental to the accurate and reliable medical laboratory diagnosis that we seek abroad.

“If it is good for the citizens of other nations, it should be good for our citizens too,’’ he said.

According to him, in some countries, no medical laboratory facility is allowed to operate without accreditation.

“We should, however, separate accreditation from certification, as the former is voluntary and connotes that the facility has climbed the quality ladder.

“It has also conformed to stipulations of the Quality Management Systems (QMS), and those claims have been verified and validated by an external agency,’’ Erhabor said.

He said that the council was ready to support as many medical laboratories in the country that were willing to key into the accreditation process.

According to him, patients expect and deserve the accurate and reliable medical laboratory results.

He further said that accreditation would stem the efflux of citizens to other countries in search of such opportunities

“It does not make economic sense that on one hand, we bemoan the paucity of foreign exchange that has contributed to the downward spiral of the naira.

“Yet on the other hand we spend the little we have on medical tourism to other climes instead of upscaling our health systems,” he said.

Erhabor said that it was in keeping with his pledge to turn around fortunes of the health laboratory systems that the council had accredited 14 facilities in recent times.

He said that the Independent Advisory Committee, led by eminent scientist, Prof Oyewole Tomori, recently approved the accreditation of three new facilities whose assessment had been concluded by the council.

The registrar assured stakeholders in the sector that the council would not unnecessarily delay the accreditation of any facility that had met the criteria for accreditation.

“`We have, therefore, presented accreditation certificates to two of the three deserving facilities approved by the IAC.

“The first was the Lagos-based Afriglobal Medicare Ltd. and Lifebridge Medical Diagnostics Centre based in Abuja, while the third facility is underway,’’ Erhabor said. (NAN)

 

Eminent Pharmacists Task KING Zone Members on Business Skills, Technology

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Eminent Pharmacists Task KING Zone Members on Business Skills, Technology
A cross-section of stakeholders and participants at the Annual Professional Summit, organised by the ACPN, KING Zone, recently in Lagos.

It was a gathering of who is who in the Pharmacy profession and community pharmacy in particular, at the First Annual Professional Summit of the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), KING Zone, comprising Ifako-Ijaiye, Iju, Agege and its environs, as business experts and stakeholders, took turn to speak to members on the importance of technology to community pharmacy practice.

The event, which was organised by the ACPN, KING Zone and held at the Women Development Centre, Agege, Lagos, had two topics, “Leveraging On Technology To Enhance Community Pharmacy Practice” and “Maximizing Losses In Pharmacy Practice”.

In his welcome address, the Zonal Coordinator, ACPN, KING Zone, Pharm. Stephen Nwaozuzu, described the summit which was the first by the zone as laudable, saying the topics were not only apt but also timely as community pharmacists in the zone are expected to be freed from all forms of financial restraints, improve their businesses, and move with the trend.

He further explained that the main motive of the programme was to help members of the zone grow a successful pharmaceutical business, and improve their practice to meet up with the global standard while improving the image of the pharmacy profession at large.

Eminent Pharmacists Task KING Zone Members on Business Skills, Technology
Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator, chairman, Lagos ACPN (right), presenting a plaque to Pharm. Joe Itaman, chairman, Summit Planning Committee, at the Annual Professional Summit, organised by ACPN, KING Zone, recently.

Speaking on the topic, “Maximizing Losses in Pharmacy Practice”, Pharm. (Mrs) Folashade Lawal, a seasoned pharmacist, and managing director, Victory Drugs, noted that technology plays a prominent role in minimizing losses, saying in order to drive business sustainability, owners or managers of community pharmacies should take additional measures to prevent unwarranted losses arising from the different types of losses, wastage, poor inventory system, theft, and others.

She added, “Most types of losses can be managed, using technology, by collecting data, financial, inventory, manpower data from all sources and storing it in a standard format in a central database. This would help in advanced business reporting and will be used for making faster business decisions.

Speaking further, she noted that a community pharmacy should have a flexible and adaptable business and operational model, adding that a flexible operational model will enable a pharmacy to adapt to sudden changes in a bid to reduce downtime caused by political instability, natural disasters, or facility renovation exercise. “A community pharmacy should be proactive in responding to sudden changes to minimize the losses that might occur as a result”.

“Losses, though inevitable, can be grossly minimized. The community pharmacist needs to acquire the needed knowledge and skills to bring losses to the barest minimum. It is very important to remember the saying of Robert Burton- “penny wise, pound foolish”.

In his lecture titled “Leveraging on Technology to Enhance Community Pharmacy Practice”, Pharm. Shina Opanubi, project catalyst, PharmAlliance, noted that technology is not an end, but rather a means to an end, an enabler or an amplifier, saying if you automate a broken system, you will get a more broken system.

While talking about technology as an enabler, Opanubi noted that any pharmacy in 2022 that is not computerized is only in business, but not in pharmacy practice, adding that platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, youtube, TikTok, Whatsapp, LinkedIn, and many others can be employed to the advantage of the user as the world become a global village.

He added, “Social Media and other platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Whatsapp group calls are powerful tools and can be used to engage customers, clients, staff and others in the quest to advance one’s business. Also, telemedicine, telepharmacy are also the new order, and the more one uses it to their advantage, the better for the person,” he said.

Speaking in an interview with Pharmanews, Chairman, ACPN, Lagos State, Pharm. Lawrence Ekhator explained that the need for a paradigm shift to a more advanced practice was what necessitated the organising of the summit, adding that the programme had the backing of the state ACPN, as the association at the state level itself is doing everything humanly possible to ensure it moves with the trend as far as technology is concerned.

“As we speak, we have launched a state website and it incorporates all the technology that each zone will need, also one of the fulcra of the website is to help to increase awareness of what the community pharmacists are doing and how they can be reached at the push of a button. We believe when the website is running, the public members can reach us even at the tip of their fingers.

Speaking in the same vein, the duo of Pharm. Iyiola Gbolagade, chairman, Lagos PSN, and Pharm. Tolu Ajayi, managing director, Shekinah Pharmacy, who were members of the panel, urged all community pharmacists in the zone to collectively embrace technology to further enhance pharmacy practice in the state and ensure they move with the trend as the pharmacy practice like every other practice is no longer what it used to be ten years ago.

The high point of the event was the presentation of award plaques to the members of the summit planning committee members, which included, Pharm. Joe Itaman, chairman, Planning Committee; Pharm. Paul Owolabi, secretary; Pharm. Chief Olaitan Ogunlade, member; Pharm. George Agbude, member, and Pharm. (Mrs) Ayodele Ogunlade, members.

Starting Bond Chemical in a Rural Setting was Tough, but we Persevered – Pharm. (Chief) Omotosho

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Starting Bond Chemical in a Rural Setting was Tough, but we Persevered - Pharm. (Chief) Omotosho
Pharm. (Chief) Adebowale Omotosho

Eminent pharmacist and octogenarian founder of Bond Chemical Industries Limited, Pharm.(Chief) Adebowale Omotosho, needs little or no introduction within the Nigerian pharmaceutical landscape. He is a trailblazer in local pharmaceutical manufacturing, having ventured into full scale local pharmaceutical manufacturing in 1986, at a time when the coast was largely hazy and untested. Even more interesting is that, unlike many other companies that started in major cities and state capitals, Bond has its birthplace in the agrarian town of Awe, in Oyo State, with its attendant infrastructural challenges.

In this interview with MOSES DIKE, Omotosho reveals how he was able to surmount the challenges at that time to build the reputable brand that Bond Chemical Industries has become. He also discusses his upbringing, career choice, and issues affecting local pharmaceutical manufacturing, while also advising young professionals on how to harness the potentials of their training for the benefits of humanity. Excerpts:

Kindly tell us about yourself, your education and early childhood experiences.

My name is Adebowale Omotosho. I was born in Kano, on 29 July, 1936. I started my elementary school at Kano CMS and later moved to Jos. I left Baptist Day School, Jos, in 1952 to Keffi Government College, and left in 1958, after my School Certificate (WASSCE). I was in the School of Pharmacy, Zaria in 1959 and left for Bradford Technical College, UK, in 1961 to study for my A-Level in science subjects.

I got into the University of Bradford for my pharmacy degree and completed it in 1967. I did my internship at St. James Hospital, Leeds, and was registered as a professional pharmacist by the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and Wales.

Looking back at your earlier days as a young person, did you have role models or personalities who helped to influence your choice of career, values and principles in life?

Looking back at my earlier days as a young person, the personality who helped to influence my choice of career was my distant cousin, named Deacon Oyelowo (now late). I was in Kano on holiday with my mother, between 1956 and 1957 when I met this cousin of mine who worked at Kano City Hospital as a dispenser. He trained as a chemist and druggist from old Yaba School of Pharmacy. He kept bringing different drug mixtures for my mother. I was highly impressed and wanted to study to be a chemist and druggist.

I believe that led me to Zaria School of Pharmacy for study. After two years, it was not possible anymore and so I had to go overseas to start all over. I got a job from the UAC in London and came back home in October 1968 to work for Kingsway Chemist. I worked at the Marina office and also at Benin Kingsway.

I left for Buroughs Wellcome and then Sandoz Pharmaceutical Company, as national sales manager. I left in 1977 to start my own business, which I called Bond Chemists – a community pharmacy. I later went into wholesaling and representing overseas companies.

 

Tell us the story of Bond Chemical Industries Limited which has grown to become one of the foremost local pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria. How did it all start and what is the vision and guiding philosophy behind its phenomenal growth?

In 1986, I decided to move into manufacturing and then called the new outfit – Bond Chemical Industries Limited. It was a strong determination, not minding what difficulties were on the way. To be honest, there were many difficulties to contend with, even in a place like Lagos. There were also difficulties in the state capitals; but in the village, there were virtually no noticeable amenities to set up a pharmaceutical manufacturing factory. We had to bring everything virtually from Lagos, including experienced workers. No one wants to stay in a rural area.

Ultimately, even the goods manufactured still had to return to the main market, which is in Lagos. I kept encouraging myself that if I could import drugs from abroad, why couldn’t I manufacture in Awe, in Nigeria, for the Nigerian market? It was not easy but I am happy we persevered and now feel quite comfortable and happy to continue in this rural setting.

 

What challenges did you face starting an indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturing company at a time when the coast was still very much untested and hazy? What challenges do you still face?

There were too many challenges. Imagine that there were many challenges for those who started in in Lagos and the few who started in the state capitals across the country, and we must be one of the very few who started in a rural setting. It is better imagined than recalled. No infrastructure of any kind, no road, no water or electricity to start with. No workers of other pharmaceutical companies to help. Everything – workers, raw materials, packaging materials – must be brought in from Lagos and the finished products taken back to Lagos, the main market for sale.

It was tough, very tough but we are very happy now and will not move out of the rural setting. We make sure that our quality is as good as anyone else. We have never been found wanting.

 

How would you like the government to address the current challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry?

We have and we shall always have more expenditure than income. The population continues to increase; so things can never be as they were. But good management of our resources, however small, will help us a long way.

Indeed, there is a lot that the government can offer in health, education etc. After all, poorer nations manage their economy better than us. We should get our priorities right, fight corruption then what we have will be enough.

 

As a stakeholder who is passionate about quality healthcare systems, how do you think Nigeria can meet the healthcare needs of its growing population?

The quality of the healthcare system is a job for every one of us to take a positive part in. It affects all of us; so it is our problem. We should stop buying equipment we cannot maintain. Lack of proper maintenance is one of our major problems. Everything boils down to good management.

 

If you were not a pharmacist, what would you be doing as a career? Aside from pharmacy practice, what other things do you have a passion for?

I had always wanted to be a pharmacist; but, on a second thought, if not a pharmacist, then maybe a farmer. Maybe because I am now in a rural area. I believe farming or going to the farm brings me close to nature and gives me inner peace. The seed that you plant first dies before it germinates. Watching all these, which can be called a miracle, brings you closer to God and gives you the belief that He lives.

 

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

I thank God for what He has done for me. I have eight children – four males and four females. Out of the males, one is a pharmacist and at the moment he is the group managing director of our industries.

Another male is a medical doctor at John Hopkins Hospital, USA. One of the females also studied Medicine at the University of Ibadan over 10 years ago. The others are in oil and gas, engineering, law, computer and business.

How do you relax? Tell us about some of the pastime activities you engage in to keep busy and fit in retirement.

Relaxation comes in various forms. I belong to many clubs and societies, whose activities help me to unwind and relax. I love listening to music and attending live shows. I also relax by watching good programmes on the television or listening to the radio. I equally enjoy and relax by travelling to neighbouring villages and cities.

 

 Finally, what advice would you give to the younger generation of pharmacists, some of whom were your students, on how to make the best use of their calling as healthcare professionals to impact humanity positively?

Times are changing. The youths must change with time. Be abreast of all developments. Never stop learning. This is the age of computer technology; don’t be left behind. Above all, be honest and dedicated to your work; work very hard and be focused on whatever you do.

Pharmanews Clinches NHEA Award for Record Fifth Time

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…As Omotosho, Braide, Aina Bag Lifetime Achievement Awards

Pharmanews Clinches NHEA Award for Record Fifth Time
Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, publisher, Pharmanews (2nd from left), in company of the Editor, Pharmanews, Mr Patrick Iwelunmor, receiving the Plaque and the Award Certificate at the award ceremony.

It was historic and unprecedented as Pharmanews Ltd, the 43-year-old Nigeria’s leading health journal, beat other publications like ER International Magazine; Health Standard Journal; and Pharmatimes to win for the fifth consecutive time, the Nigerian Healthcare Media Excellence Award –Print of the Year.

In the same vein, three healthcare professionals who had distinguished themselves in various health fields, including Chief Adebowale Omotosho, an industrialist, philanthropist, and renowned pharmacist cum elder statesman; Prof Ekanem Ikpi Braide, a renowned educationist, former vice-chancellor, Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH), and pioneer vice-chancellor, Federal University, Lafia, Nasarawa State, and Prof.Joseph Oyeniyi Aina, an Emeritus Professor of Nursing, were presented with Lifetime Achievement Awards to rousing applause from the audience.

Pharmanews Clinches NHEA Award for Record Fifth Time
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi (middle) receiving his award plaque, flanked by Ministry of Health’s delegates at the event.

The colourful ceremony which was held Friday, 24 June 2022, attracted several healthcare professionals, as well as eminent personalities from both pharmaceutical an medical subsectors, including the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnibe Mamora, who were both represented by Dr Adedamola Dada, chief medical director, Ebute Metta Federal Medical Centre; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by Prof. Akin Abayomi, commissioner for health, Lagos State; Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, director general, NCDC; Engr Yakubu Nuhu Danja, commissioner for health, Katsina State; Dr Olaokun Soyinka, former commissioner for health, Ogun State, and Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi, publisher, Pharmanews, among many others.

Speaking after receiving the award, the elated Atueyi, expressed his delight with the NHEA, which he said has carved a niche for itself in the healthcare sector, adding that its performance had continued to improve every year.

According to the octogenarian pharmacist, he was selected in 2015 as the first pharmacist in the country to receive the most prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, saying despite the fact that he has numerous awards to his credit, the NHEA Award gave him the greatest joy because it embraces the entire healthcare sector.

 

L-R: Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, publisher, Pharmanews; Mrs Omotosho, and Chief Adebowale Omotosho, chairman, Bond at the award ceremony.

Speaking further, the Pharmanews publisher noted that his media outfit has won in the category in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022, making it the fifth time consecutively, adding that it has been a manifestation of God’s grace, as the world has recognised the unique contribution of the journal in the healthcare space. It is now the time to take it a step further and win in other categories, he enthused.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman Advisory Board of NHEA Dr Anthony Omolola, applauded the contributions of all the nominees and winners to the development of the healthcare sector in the country, adding that the NHEA Award is an annual event that celebrates distinguished personalities and organisations who have contributed immensely to the growth of the Nigerian health sector.

He stated that NHEA which started in 2014 has become a high-profile event in the healthcare industry, gaining wide acceptance from stakeholders in the healthcare community, public and private sectors. He added that the award is an initiative of the Global Health Project and Resources in Partnership with the Anadach group.

“Over the years, the NHEA has endeared more awareness on the quality and standards of services provided by various stakeholders in the industry, by inspiring them to adopt International best practices and aspire to be the benchmark for excellent healthcare service delivery in Nigeria and Africa in general.

“NHEA’s recognition aims to stimulate quality improvement and innovation in the Nigerian health sector leading to improved service delivery & management of key health issues and the capacity of individuals to influence and set new performance standards in Nigeria and beyond”, Omolola said.

Described as the Oscar of the health sector, the Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award (NHEA) is jointly supported by Global Health Project & Resources (GHPR) in collaboration with Anadach Group in the United States.

 

 

Plateau to Establish Agency for Drug Administration, Control

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Plateau to Establish Agency for Drug Administration, Control

 

The Plateau State Government is set to establish a drug and commodities management agency.

The agency, the government said is to regulate and control drug administration in the state.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nimkong Lar, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on Thursday at the Government House in Jos.

He expressed joy over the approval of a bill, for a law to establish the Plateau State Drugs and Medical Commodities Management Agency, by the Executive Council.

“One of the major challenges of health services in the state is the difficulty to access quality and affordable drugs in our health centres.

”The issue of fake drugs will not be there again if an agency is established to monitor the administration of drugs.

”We also have big pharmaceutical companies operating to distribute drugs to health centres across the state,” he said.

He said the establishment of the agency would assure patients of the efficacy of the drugs they use.

“The agency is going to be very useful to us. A lot of development partners like the USAID and global fund will be there to help us get quality drugs for our people at a subsidised rate through the agency.

“Presently we have what is called the Global Health Supply Chain, it is to assist us,” he said.

On the patients who contracted monkeypox, he said they have been discharged.

”Samples have been taken from the three suspected cases for further investigations,” he said.

Also speaking at the driefing, the Commissioner for Works, Mr. Pam Bot-Mang said when established, the agency for drugs administration would provide quality and affordable drugs and other health commodities, for tertiary, secondary, and primary health care facilities in the state.

He said a governing board would be established for the agency, which shall formulate general policies and provide guidance to it concerning its functions.

He said the council was also intimated of the award given to the Plateau State Nigeria Erosion and Water Shed Management Project for the best state in financial management and reporting in the country.

The council thanked the Plateau people for the support to achieve the feat while commending Governor Simon Lalong for approving the project’s counter funding for its take-off in 2016, saying some of the projects have been completed.

”Two of the projects have been completed, the one in Mangu main market gully erosion site has been completed 100 per cent and one in Munchogopyeng site has been 90 per cent completed,” he said.

(NAN)

How I Survived Sickle Cell Anaemia – Consultant Haematologist 

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How I Survived Sickle Cell Anaemia – Consultant Haematologist 
Sickle cell anaemia symptoms. Image source: Mayo Foundation

Dr Adeyemi Olusegun,  a consultant haematologist with Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), says people living with sickle cell disease need love, support and understanding from people around them to enjoy full life.

Olusegun told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of an event organised by the Paediatrics Department of JUTH, on Thursday in Jos, to commemorate the 2022 World Sickle Cell Day.

The event was organised in collaboration with the Media Initiative for Sickle Cell.

The consultant, who survived sickle cell anaemia for over 30 years,  while narrating his ordeals, said that he was diagnosed with sickle cell anaemia when he was five years old.

Olusegun said he lost care and attention immediately his mother died.

According to him, he had it tough in secondary school and during his university days, but thanked God who kept him alive.

”I was diagnosed with sickle cell when I was five years old and I have been living with it for more than 30 years.

”My early life was okay because I had a caring an understanding mother who take care of me and ensure I take my medication as and when due. She also made sure I didn’t miss my doctor’s appointment.

”But the turning point was she died; I was 11 years old and that is when I began to experience series of crisis because that care and attention has gone.

”My father sent me to a boarding secondary school and that was a serious challenge for me; it affected my academic performance because my condition did not allow me to concentrate.

”I was hospitalised for three months because of complications. I was away from school at that period and it affected by my academic journey,” he said.

Olusegun also narrated how he nearly missed his final examination at the medical school because of his condition, but had to take deliberate steps in managing his crisis anytime it occurred.

”It was not easy at the university, but because I was little a bit grown and understood the triggers, I took very care of myself and avoided things that could trigger my crisis.

”Even at that, I had one crisis that made me nearly missed my final examination and because I didn’t want to wait for another six months or even repeat the class, I managed and sat for the examination but with serious crisis.

”After graduation, I came to JUTH for my residency programme and I went through three times the stress I had in the university.

”Again, my superiors during the residency were patient, understanding and supported me till the end,” Olusegun said.

He advised parents to show care, love and support their children suffering from sickle cell anaemia to achieve their dreams in life.

”I have never seen a sickle cell patient that is ugly; we are all beautiful, strong and very intelligent people.

”So, parents, don’t look down on your children because of their condition; they can aspire to be anything in life. So, support them to achieve their dreams.

”Today, I am a doctor because I got the support of my late mother, family members and other people I met throughout my journey in life,” he said.

The father of three, seized the opportunity and thanked his wife for her support and understanding, and called on spouses to support their partners who are sickle cell patients.(NAN)

COVID-19 Vaccines Saved 20m Lives in First Year, Study Says

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COVID-19 Vaccines Saved 20m Lives in First Year, Study Says

 

COVID-19 vaccines prevented nearly 20 million deaths in the first year after they were introduced, according to the first large modelling study on the topic released Friday.

The study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, is based on data from 185 countries and territories collected from December 8, 2020, to December 8, 2021. 

It is the first attempt to estimate the number of deaths prevented directly and indirectly as a result of COVID-19 vaccinations. 

It found that 19.8 million deaths were prevented out of a potential 31.4 million deaths that would have occurred if no vaccines were available.

It was a 63 per cent reduction, the study found. 

The study used official figures – or estimates when official data was not available – for deaths from Covid, as well as total excess deaths from each country. 

Excess mortality is the difference between the total number of people who died from all causes and the number of deaths expected based on past data. 

These analyses were compared with a hypothetical alternative scenario in which no vaccine was administered. 

The model accounted for variation in vaccination rates across countries, as well as differences in vaccine effectiveness based on the types of vaccines known to have been primarily used in each country.

China was not included in the study because of its large population and strict containment measures, which would have skewed the results, it said.

The study found that high- and middle-income countries accounted for the largest number of deaths averted, 12.2 million out of 19.8 million, reflecting inequalities in access to vaccines worldwide. 

Nearly 600,000 additional deaths could have been prevented if the World Health Organisation’s goal of vaccinating 40 percent of each country’s population by the end of 2021 had been met, it concluded.

“Millions of lives have probably been saved by making vaccines available to people around the world,” said lead study author Oliver Watson of Imperial College London. 

“We could have done more,” he said. 

Covid has officially killed more than 6.3 million people globally, according to the WHO. 

But the organisation said last month the real number could be as high as 15 million, when all direct and indirect causes are accounted for. 

The figures are extremely sensitive due to how they reflect on the handling of the crisis by authorities around the world.

The virus is on the rise again in some places, including in Europe, which is seeing a warm-weather resurgence blamed in part on Omicron subvariants.

(AFP)

New Booster COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Effective Against Omicron Subvariants.

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New booster COVID-19 vaccine candidate effective against Omicron subvariants, Moderna says
approved emergency use of COVID19 Vaccine

Moderna on Wednesday said its new COVID booster candidate, which it is hoping to get approved this fall, performed well against Omicron’s latest subvariants.

The US biotech company announced earlier this month that the so-called “bivalent” vaccine, which targets the original Covid strain and original Omicron BA.1, performed better against both compared to its original Covid vaccine called Spikevax.

In new results from a clinical study, the company said that the booster also did well against BA.4 and BA.5, Omicron’s latest subvariants that are becoming dominant thanks to their increased ability to evade prior immunity, and enhanced transmissibility.

The bivalent booster elicited high levels of infection-blocking antibodies against BA.4 and BA.5 both in people who were previously infected and those not previously infected.

However, even those high levels were still one-third the levels achieved against the original Omicron strain, BA.1

“We will submit these data to regulators urgently and are preparing to supply our next generation bivalent booster starting in August, ahead of a potential rise in SARS-CoV-2 infections due to Omicron subvariants in the early fall,” said Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel in a statement.

The BA.4 and BA.5 variants hammered South Africa, where they were first discovered, in April and May – despite high population immunity conferred by prior waves and vaccinations.

Like other Omicron variants, they tend to have a milder disease course as they settle less in the lungs and more in the upper nasal passages, causing symptoms like fever, tiredness and loss of smell.

Medical Guild Seeks Inclusion in NHIA Implementation

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Military Healthcare Provider urges Retirees to Enroll in NHISThe Guild of Medical Directors (GMD), has urged the Federal Government to appoint its members into committees that would formulate or upgrade the operational guidelines and tariff of the NHIA.

The guild made the appeal in a communiqué it issued at the end of its inaugural Business and Leadership Summit on Wednesday in Abuja.

It said that at the summit, it pointed out that for the National Health Insurance Act (NHIA) to be successful, key providers of health care need to be effectively involved with the operational guidelines of such health insurance.

The communiqué also said that the Federal Government should strongly review the issue of actively leasing out some of its facilities to be managed by the private sector under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.

According to the communiqué, rather than continuous engagement in medical tourism by Nigerians, the Federal Government should publicly advocate the use of Nigerian private hospitals with the innovative services that they go abroad to access.

The guild also advocated an urgent set up of the working committee for the continuous and permanent communication between the Federal Ministry of Health and the private sector with the representatives of GMD as key members.

However, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the National President, Dr Raymond Kuti, said that PPP was the way to go in delivering healthcare services to Nigerians.

“The way we want PPP to run is for the government to give backing to the policies that will allow and approve that those doctors in medical practices in private sector can partner and integrate with government hospitals.

“Lagos state is already doing that and there are hospitals in Lagos in which the sub services are being ceded to doctors in the private sector.

“And they run them for it, the agreement is there and I think this is what we can replicate all over the country,’’ he said.

According to Kuti, 70 per cent of doctors work in the private sector, so their skills should be used in government hospitals as well, which is the PPP segment the group is interested in.

“We have policymakers, let us sit down regularly and see how these things will work. Let us know the government policies and see how we in the private sector as doctors can use them.

“Not every hospital should have its own theatre. If the government hospital has, for example seven theatres, we have doctors in private hospitals that can take their patients there and even operate on government patients round the clock.

“So doctors in private hospitals can then be using or utilising government’s infrastructure to give the best to the patients at affordable prices.’’

He also said that the guild which was being repositioned to remain a strong partner in the Nigerian health care sector, was wholly complimentary to the public health sector and comparatively better equipped to deliver quality health care.

He said that the goal of the guild was to inaugurate and sustain constructive dialogue with policy makers in the legislative arm of government.

According to him, this is with a view to achieving win-win solutions to the numerous challenges in the Nigerian healthcare sector.

E-Health Africa Committed to Building Stronger Health Systems in Nigeria- Director

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eHealth Africa committed to building stronger health systems in Nigeria— Director
E-Health Africa comission

eHealth Africa (eHA), a Non-Governmental Organisation  (NGO), says it is committed towards building stronger health systems in Africa, especially in Nigeria in the area of Information Communication Technology (ICT).

The Executive Director, eHealth Africa, Ms Juliet Odogwu, said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Odogwu said that the organisation had been able to train over 200 males and females on technology and software-related skills at different stages of its programmes.

“As an organisation, eHA has more women at its senior management level and it’s working to see a balance in the ratio of women to men at all levels of its workforce.

“To achieve this, the leadership of the organisation designed some early career programmes to help young female graduates start and build their careers.

“We noticed that in the technology sector specifically, we have very few females, who are willing to develop the skills or even get jobs in technology sector because it is seen as a male dominated field.

“We have equally realised that obviously women are entering into the workforce in different capacities and technology should not be any different.

“We want to build that culture in Nigeria and even in the northern Nigeria to be specific to encourage women to see these as vibrant opportunities for them on the long run.

“We want to build the immediate capacity in the environment so we need to be able to see in the next one to two years the number of women in the technology sector increase by at least 30 per cent in the communities where we work,’’ she said.

According to her, one of such initiatives is an all-women cohort of the eHA Academy geared towards helping young women start their careers in software and web development.

She said there was also an all-female paid ”internship cohort” that exposes graduates to the organisation’s values, mission and better prepare them for full-time employment opportunities.

“We will continue our efforts to make eHealth Africa the best place to work and our mission is to build stronger health systems in Africa”.

She further said that the organisation was recently certified as one of the best places to work in Nigeria for 2022 by an international organisation called “Best Places to Work’’.

Odogwu said that the recognition gave the management the drive and motivation to keep raising the bar.

NAPharm Celebrates Prof Odukoya at 64

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NAPharm Celebrates Prof Odukoya at 64
The celebrant, Prof. Olukemi Odukoya (middle) flanked by (left -right) Prof. Lere Baale; Pharm. Tony Oyawole; Pharm.(Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi; Prof. Fola Tayo; Dr Lolu Ojo and Prof. Udoma Mendie, at the NAPharm Committee Meeting on Wednesday.

It was an exciting moment on Wednesday when Prof. Olukemi Odukoya, announced her birthday at the end of committee meeting of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy ( NAPharm) held at the Business School Netherlands, Ikeja.

The celebration of her 64th birthday was marked with cutting of birthday cake, prayers and compliments by committee members. Her commitment to the success of the recently concluded retreat, of which she served as the committee secretary was highly commended by the Cmmittee Chairman, Pharm.(Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi.

 

Prof. Olukemi Odukoya cutting her 64th birthday cake.

According to Sir Atueyi, Prof. Odukoya is endowed with divine wisdom and strength for her extraordinary performance. He disclosed that she made his work as chairman to be stress-free.  Odukoya, who is the Director of Administration of the Academy, reconstructed and furnished the secretariat of the Academy located in the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, Idi Araba.

Appreciating the show of love by her colleagues, the celebrant gifted them variety of products from her factory, including Afrites brands of bread, table water and Ijebu garri.

Leverage Expertise of Professionals for National Development, BOF Charges FG

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– As BOF prepares for its Annual Mid-Year Meeting/Public Lecture

Leverage Expertise of Professionals for National Development, BOF Charges FG
L-R: Pharm. Gbolagade Iyiola, BOF Lagos coordinator; Pharm (Chief) Yetunde Morohundiya, BOF vice-chairman; Pharm. (Dr) Joel Adagadzu, BOF chairman; Chief Lanre Familusi, BOF secretary; Pharm (Mrs) Ngozi Obikili, BOF treasurer, and Pharm (Chief) Christian Ibeto, at the briefing on Tuesday.

 

As a panacea to the economic downturn in the country, the Board of Fellows (BOF) of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has admonished the Federal Government to explore the expertise of Fellows of professional associations to lift the nation from its current doldrums, which will pave way for national development. Describing the present situation in the country as that of a sinking ship, the BOF says Nigeria needs its best hands to navigate through the stormy waters.

The BOF also craved the indulgence of the Federal Government to the precarious state of the pharmaceutical industry, which used to provide lifeline for pharmacists including Fellows, but now equally fighting for survival due to the unfavourable economic climate in the country and to some extent around the world. Government should also fine tune its policies to ensure the survival of the nation’s comatose pharmaceutical industry.

Announcing their forthcoming Annual Mid-Year Meeting in a press briefing, BOF Chairman, Pharm. (Dr) Joel Adagadzu,  said the meeting will hold at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja, from 28 to 29 June 2022.  He averred that the BOF through the Mid- Year – Meeting is determined to work closely with the support of relevant stakeholders in finding appropriate remedies that will re-energise, reinvigorate and enhance the self-esteem of the Fellows of PSN, so that they can fully assume their expected position as role models for pharmacists and other professionals and also participate actively in national development.

He disclosed the theme of this year’s Public Lecture, which is the fourth in the series, as “Harnessing the potentials of Fellows of professional associations in Nigeria for national development: The pharmacists perspective”.

According to the BOF Chairman “Nigeria at the moment is likened to a sinking ship that needs its best hands to navigate it through stormy waters and rescue it. Fellows of the PSN like those of other professional bodies constitute a significant part of the country’s useful crop of human resource potentials. No country that hopes to develop and progress can afford to ignore such resources.

“We call on the government of Nigeria and all those occupying positions of authority to focus their searchlight in the direction of Fellows of professional bodies to rescue the nation from its present predicament and for overall national development”.

Adagadzu also noted that the Public Lecture, will be delivered by a legal luminary and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in the person of Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama.  He said the meeting will also feature the usual Meeting of Fellows and a Closing Dinner, during which the BOF will honour some eminent Nigerians for their outstanding contributions to national development and their support to the growth of Pharmacy in Nigeria.

On the choice of the Public Lecture Speaker, Pharm. (Chief) Yetunde Moroundiya, BOF vice-chairman, explained how thorough they have always been in getting the best speakers since the inception of the lecture, as she chronicled the list of their former speakers as follows : Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, founder, Board of Directors, Savannah Centre for Democracy and Development;  Dr Chikwe  Ihekweazu, former DG, NCDC, and Dr Ayodele Lanre Teriba, CEO, Economic Associates Lagos, for the first to third lectures respectively.

Speaking on other activities of the BOF, the Secretary, Chief Lanre Familusi, hinted on the group’s collaboration with relevant agencies in their war against drug abuse. Decrying the height of drug abuse in the country, which is wasting the leaders of tomorrow in the flower of their age, Familusi said the BOF is teaming up with rehabilitation centres, NYSC “No to Drug Abuse Club”, and the NDLEA  in order to reduce the spate of the problem.

In her contribution, BOF Treasurer, Pharm (Mrs) Ngozi Obikili, reiterated the aptness of the theme of the Public Lecture, saying rather than government’s importation of expatriates, they should tap into the unused resources of Fellows of professional associations to develop the country.

 

 

Council Tasks Medical Labs on Quality Service

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Council Tasks Medical Labs on Quality Service

Dr Tosan Erhabor, Registrar, Medical Laboratory Council of Nigeria (MLCN) on Tuesday called on medical laboratories in the country to always adhere to professional standards in the discharge of their responsibilities.

Erhabor made the call on the occasion of presentation of ISO 15189 certificate to Lifebridege Medical Diagnostic Centre in Abuja.

ISO 15189 is an award of competence and quality by International Standard Organisation (ISO).

Erhabor said that quality and standard should not be uncompromised in the medical process, especially medical laboratory science.

The MLCN registrar, who congratulated Lifebridege on the award, urged the organisation to sustain the high quality and standard service delivery that earned it the award.

He said that laboratory samples were very critical in determining the direction of about 70 per cent of treatment and monitoring of patients.

“70 per cent of results provided by laboratories is what is used for treatment and monitoring of patients.

“The era of taking laboratory samples to three laboratories before getting results is over’’, he said.

Erhabor described Lifebridege as the first privately-owned laboratory with ISO 15189 certificate in the Federal Capital Territory.

MLSCN certificate of registration
MLSCN certificate of registration

According to him, it is a demonstration of its commitment to quality and standard in service delivery.

The registrar warned that by the year 2025 laboratories with low standard and poor quality management system would be stripped of their operational licences.

Earlier, Dr Godwin Sale, Managing Director, Lifebridege Medical Diagnostic Centre, said that the centre was set up to save both live and money for its clients.

Sale affirmed the determination of the centre in cutting down on resources spent by Nigerians on medical tourism by providing quality and laboratories services.

“Shortly after commissioning, we became a one-stop centre for all diagnostic needs within the first two years of operation.

“Lifebridege expanded its services to include Endoscopy, Histopathology and a world class molecular pathology laboratory where all DNA and RNA based-tests/investigations are carried out,” he said.

He assured of the preparedness of the centre to continue to provide quality and standard healthcare to Nigerians in partnership with the Federal Government.

The managing director described the ISO 15189 award of excellence as a booster for the organisation to deliver more quality service delivery.

Dr Ike Okonkwo, Consultant Pathologist, Maitama District Hospital, lauded Lifebridege Medical Diagnostic Centre for their commitment to quality services.

Okonwo who urged them to sustain the tempo, saying that quality service delivery was not negotiable in the medical sector. (NAN)

Sanwo-Olu, Abiodun Commend Chike Okoli Foundation on Empowerment

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Sanwo-Olu, Abiodun, Esimone Commend Chike Okoli Foundation on Empowerment, Healthcare
Wife of Lagos State Governor, Dr (Mrs) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu; Managing Director, Emzor Group and Chairman, Board of Directors, Chike Okoli Foundation; Dr Stella Okoli and wife of Ogun State Governor, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun at the  foundation’s 16th Annual Heart & Soul Gala 2022, held in Lagos recently.

 

The wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr (Mrs) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, has commended the Managing Director, Emzor Group and Chairman, Board of Directors, Chike Okoli Foundation, Dr Stella Okoli, for her efforts towards the sustenance of the foundation and its vision in the last 16 years.

While speaking at the foundation’s 16th Annual Heart & Soul Gala 2022, held in Lagos recently, the Lagos State First Lady said “for some people, when they lose their loved ones, after the burial, it ends there, but for the Okolis, it is a different thing.

“For 16 years, the foundation has been doing great and with the theme of this year’s edition which is “the legacy of empowerment, the future of hope”; it shows that the foundation still has so much to do. I therefore commend the Chairman and every other member of the Board of Directors of the foundation for the good work they have been doing to sustain the foundation till date”.

Also speaking at the Gala Night, the wife of Ogun State Governor, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun commended the Emzor MD for her partnership and support for the women and children in Ogun State through the foundation. She called on all well-meaning Nigerians to support the foundation, saying the good gesture of the foundation needs to be extended.

The Ogun State First Lady said “This year’s theme “the legacy of empowerment, the future of hope” is very apt in its representation of what the foundation stands for. For the past 16 years, the foundation has successfully run its program to enhance the life of young Nigerians through its various entrepreneurial initiatives to fight poverty and promotion of awareness for cardiovascular health to promote healthy living.

“The work the foundation is doing is very important as it gives out materials on information and communication that promote healthy living. We don’t pray for anyone to fall sick because somehow, many people cannot afford quality healthcare today. Beyond commending the foundation on what it’s doing, we need to support them in propagating healthy lifestyle across the country and this is where partnership comes to play. Government, non-governmental organisation, donor agencies have to play a big role to extend the reach of the foundation.

Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Professor Charles Esimone has applauded the worthy endeavour of the foundation in UNIZIK and across the country in promoting healthy lifestyle among Nigerians of all age bracket and empowering young Nigerians for a productive life through entrepreneurial and vocational skills acquisition.

He stated that he’s convinced that entrepreneurial and vocational skills acquisition that the foundation has been pushing vigorously is the panacea to the youth unemployment dilemma taunting Nigeria. He said he has resolved within himself, as the VC of UNIZIK, to give due attention to further empower the Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies in the university.

Among other things, he said he would see to expanding the portfolio of skills available for acquisition in the centre, re-invigorate efforts at promoting entrepreneurial and skill acquisition by students, irrespective of their disciplines of studies and reaching out to youths beyond UNIZIK.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the foundation, Dr Stella Okoli appreciated those who have been partnering with the foundation in the last 16 years. She said the foundation will continue to do better in its healthcare and empowerment programmes.

“God is still in the business of doing good. Love doesn’t mean you have to see the person physically, love is in the heart, hence we are trying to do better and add value to what we are doing, we will not relent to do more. Nigeria shall be great again so that we can continue to give glory to God”, the Emzor Managing Director said.

Chike Okoli Foundation, a non-profit organisation, was established in 2006 in memory of Chike Edward Okoli who passed away on May 31, 2005, due to an undetected coronary artery disease shortly after his 25th birthday.

Since established, the foundation has been making effort to ensure that Nigerian youths are fully aware of the dangers of cardiovascular disease (CVDs), and the available preventive measures and treatment options. The foundation has also been working to equip young Nigerians with entrepreneurial skills to enable them set up and manage profitable business of their choice.

Scientists List Benefits of Regular Consumption of Peanuts

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Scientists List Benefits of Regular Consumption of Peanuts
peanut as a legume crop

A recent study conducted by scientists from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, has revealed more reasons why regular consumption of groundnuts and other leguminous food crops could improve one’s health.

The findings affirms that groundnut  and leguminous food crops such as white beans, chickpeas, borlotti beans, adzuki beans, black beans and lentils, just to name a few are highly nutritious and sustainable sources of essential nutrients which are very key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The lead author of the study, Tahl Zimmerman, a senior researcher and lecturer, stated that such leguminous food crops are rich sources of magnesium, protein, fiber, Vitamin E, and arginine. The nutrients and minerals serve various vital functions in the body.

To build upon the research finding the researchers mentioned a few points on the benefits of consuming groundnuts on a regular basis stating that groundnut boosts memory power, lowers risks of developing heart problems and complications, lowers cholesterol level, aids in blood sugar regulation, helps in fighting depression, increases your stamina in bed, promotes fertility, aids  in treating skin disorders, aids in elimination of toxins and wastes in the body and  reduces risks of stomach cancer.

They further disclosed that not only are legumes one nature’s true superfoods, but they are pocket-friendly. The nutritionists concluded their findings advising that people make further discovery on what legumes are, why they are good to the body and how to use them.

According to another study conducted by researchers namely, Soraya C M. Leal- Bertoili from the university of Georgia and team members validated it that, being a grain legume, peanut has an important nutritional value for human beings, and its nutritional value has been exploited for combating malnutrition in children.

The study published on Research Gate Science noted that groundnut or peanut is an important legume food crop very much known for its diverse uses including oil production, direct human consumption as food and also animal consumption in the form of hay, silage and cake.

The researchers also made mention of the fact that the breeding objectives in groundnut are mainly focused at increasing yield and improving resistance to foliar diseases and nematodes, tolerance to drought, quality of oil and food and safety (resistance to aflatoxin contamination and reduced allergencity) by humans and animals.

Although groundnuts and other nuts have been said to be highly prone to foliar diseases and causes significant yield losses but various researches  have proven it  to be more helpful to the human body as groundnuts are abundant in protein, healthy fats and dietary fiber, immensely rich in potassium, calcium, phosphorus and B vitamins.

Nigeria Seeking Technology on Manufacturing— Health Minister

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Nigeria Seeking Technology on Manufacturing
Dr Osagie Ehanire

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja at the bi-weekly Ministerial Press briefing on COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance, announced the sum of N10 billion for the production of vaccines in Nigeria, to fight coronavirus.

Following the announcement of the disbursement of the sum to the Ministry of Health for the development of COVID-19 vaccine, the Joint Committee scheduled a meeting with the Ministers of Finance and Health for clarifications on the funds.

On May 11, 2021, The Minister of Health, Ehanire, said that the N10 billion earmarked by the National Assembly for the local production of COVID-19 vaccines was intact while explaining why local manufacturing of the COVID-19 vaccines cannot start in the country at the moment as the world continues to fight vaccines nationalism.

On April 21, 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari, directed the Minister of Health, to submit a progress report by the end of May 2022 on the indigenous production of vaccines in the country.

During the bi-weekly meeting, responding to a question by the NAN correspondent, the minister said Nigeria is yet to make do with the 39,800,000 doses of vaccines procured by the Federal Government – The single-shot J&J vaccine through the African Vaccine Acquisition Team (AVAT) of the African Union, a facility provided by AFREXIMBANK,”.

“The country has been making use of donated vaccines,“ he said, indicating that Nigeria has learnt key lessons from the pandemic, including that countries must look inward for medical supplies and other health commodities.

“So the urgency to be producing our vaccines now is a bit reduced because we still have few donations. We have the ones that the government has procured that we are yet to use. The urgency is now to have the technology to know how to produce vaccines.

“So we have brought together all our experts, including the producers of vaccines and manufacturers to find a way to have the technology in case of future outbreaks.

“We’re bringing together all our research capacities or assets, to have that knowledge, that skill or the technology for indigenous domestic vaccines production in case of any other such attacks,” he explained.

The minister said that the Technical Working Group (TWG) on local vaccine manufacturing would pursue that avenue for research and development.

According to him, “what is clear is that there’ll be days for the vaccine. There is also research going on in different countries trying to find the same vaccines and Nigeria wants to be part of that research, such as development efforts. For us to be part of it, we must have the technology, knowledge and all other requirements.”

Speaking on Mr President’s directive, Ehanire said the directive was given when the leadership of the Nigerian Integrated Biopharmaceuticals Industries Consortium, visited him to discuss vaccine manufacturing in the country.

The minister said that the FMOH has continued to drive collaboration with investors for vaccines, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices, in a move towards self-sufficiency in the country.

NAN recalls that the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO) had said “boosting local vaccine production will save lives, boost public health and strengthen the region’s economy.”

WAHO said that this would also encourage job creation and trigger technology sharing for the overall development of the region, indicating that this was why the region constituted the Regional Taskforce to conduct a feasibility study on vaccine production.

It added that the key to a successful local vaccine manufacturing was the market, which the region already has.

“The decision of the 58th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authorities of Heads of State and Government, held virtually on January 21, 2021, was to develop a strategy for the availability of anti-COVID-19 vaccines in the ECOWAS region and establish the Regional Revolving Fund for the pooled procurement mechanism to accelerate access to vaccines.

“The Africa Centre for Disease Control and Preventive (Africa CDC and African Vaccines Manufacturing (PAVM)-Framework for Action meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda, from Dec. 6 to 7, 2021, on the fourth objective was to build the momentum of vaccine manufacture hubs and pilot a drug API-final drug product Hub programme – Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API). “

The member states have also aligned their national and regional policies and strategies around local production, noting that this would help economies of all sizes build synergies, share the workload and avoid costly duplication.

The ECOWAS region shares 35 per cent of vaccine market volume demand on the African continent, driven by population size.

Society Advocates Support For Psychosocial Care Services

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Society advocates support for psychosocial care services
Advancing Cancer

Dr Elizabeth Akin-Odanye, the President of Psycho-oncology Society of Nigeria (POSON), has called on the Federal Government and relevant stakeholders to provide support for accessible and affordable psychosocial care to those affected by cancer.

This is contained in a communique issued at the 11th National Scientific Conference and Workshop of POSON issued by Akin-Odanye on Monday in Abuja.

The group appealed to the hospital managements and health policy-makers in the country to give greater support to ensure provision of affordable psychosocial care services to patients.

It urged the chief medical directors and management team of hospitals in the country to invest in the training of their oncology members of staff.

The group also promised to provide psychosocial oncology care in cancer clinics by enrolling their staff into the University of Ibadan MSc Psycho-Oncology Programme.

It said this would help to build needed manpower in the soft sub-specialty of oncology.

The group emphasised the need for all public and private health facilities treating cancer patients to create teams that would cater for the psychosocial care needs of the patients and their caregivers.

The communique also quoted Dr Tony Marinho, the Head, Department of Radiation Oncology, as saying that historical origin of psycho-oncology, UCH requested that the CMD takes positive steps in the realms of permanency to allocate some space for the provision of services within the hospital environs.

Similarly, the immediate past president and founder of POSON, Prof. Chioma Asuzu, expressed gratitude to God for how far POSON had come and the numerous supports the association had enjoyed from the past and present UCH management.

She explained that UCH is leading Africa in the practice of psycho-oncology and urged its management to appropriately recognise and encourage the team to do more.

Also, Prof. Adeniyi Adenipekun, a cancer specialist made a presentation on the ”Rising Burden of Cancer”.

He said that the increasing prominence of cancer as the leading cause of death aptly reflected the marked decline in the mortality rate of stroke and coronary diseases relative to cancer in many countries.

Adenipekun, however, encouraged individuals to adopt healthy lifestyles and engage in regular cancer screening as early detection is germane to improving cancer outcomes.

US Approves Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines for Youngest Children

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US approves Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for youngest children
vaccine injection

WASHINGTON: The US Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorisation Friday for the use of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in the youngest children, the final age group awaiting immunisation in most countries.

The agency authorised Moderna’s two-dose vaccine for children aged six months to five years, and three doses of Pfizer’s shots for those between six months and four years old.

“Many parents, caregivers and clinicians have been waiting for a vaccine for younger children and this action will help protect those down to six months of age,” Food and Drug Administration chief Robert Califf said in a statement.

“We expect that the vaccines for younger children will provide protection from the most severe outcomes of COVID-19, such as hospitalisation and death.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must now also recommend the vaccines before they are put into use — a final green light that will be given after a meeting of an advisory committee of experts that is expected to be held shortly.

But the US government has said that as soon as the FDA decision is made, 10 million doses could immediately be sent around the country, followed by millions more in subsequent weeks.

Both vaccines are based on messenger RNA, which delivers genetic code for the coronavirus spike protein to human cells that then grow it on their surface, training the immune system to be ready. The technology is now considered the leading COVID vaccination platform.

The vaccines were tested in trials of thousands of children. They were found to cause similar levels of mild side effects as in older age groups and triggered similar levels of antibodies.

Efficacy against infection was higher for Pfizer, with the company placing it at 80 percent, compared to Moderna’s estimates of 51 percent for children aged six-months to two years old and 37 percent for those aged two to five years.

But the Pfizer figure is based on very few cases and is thus considered preliminary. It also takes three doses to achieve its protection, with the third shot given eight weeks after the second, which is given three weeks after the first.

Moderna’s vaccine should provide strong protection against severe disease after two doses, given four weeks apart, and the company is studying adding a booster that would raise efficacy levels against mild disease.

However, Moderna’s decision to go with a higher dose is associated with higher levels of fevers in reaction to the vaccine compared to Pfizer.

There are some 20 million children aged four years and under in the United States.

AFP

Seaweed and 3D Printers: Chile’s Innovative Approach to Feeding Kids

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Chile's innovative approach to feeding kids
seaweed image

Some dehydrated “cochayuyo” seaweed, some instant mashed potatoes and hot water: these are the ingredients for a nutritious menu of 3D printed food that nutritional experts in Chile hope will revolutionize the food market, particularly for children.

With a 3D food printer and a modern twist on the traditional use of cochayuyo, an algae typically found in Chile, New Zealand and the South Atlantic, Roberto Lemus, a professor at the University of Chile and several students, have managed to create nutritious and edible figures that they hope kids will love to eat.

Pokemon figures, or any type of animal imaginable, are all fed into the 3D printer, together with the gelatinous mixture, and the food is “printed” out seven minutes later.

“We looking for different figures, fun figures…visual, colors, taste, flavors, smells,” Lemus told AFP.

But, he stressed, the main focus is on nutritional content. “The product has to be highly nutritious for people, but it also has to be tasty,” he said.

3D food printers are expensive, costing from $4,000 to more than $10,000, but Lemus hopes that as technology advances, their cost will come down and reach more people.

The technology is developing in the culinary field in dozens of countries, and 3D food printers are used to design sweets, pasta and other foods.

NASA already tested it in 2013 with the idea of expanding the variety of foods that astronauts dine on in space.

– Superpower algae –

Chile is making progress with cochayuyo seaweed, one of the typical ingredients of the coastal nation´s cuisine, and which is rich amino acids, minerals and iodine, according to Alonso Vasquez, a 25-year-old postgraduate student who is writing his thesis on the subject.

The young researcher takes dehydrated cochayuyo, cuts it and grinds it to create cochayuyo flour which he then mixes with instant mashed potato powder.

He then adds hot water to the mixture to create a gelatinous and slimy substance that he feeds into the printer.

“It occurred to me to use potatoes, rice flour, all of which have a lot of starch. The starch of these raw materials combined with the cochayuyo alginate is what generates stabilization within the 3D printing,” he says, waiting for the printer to finish creating a Pikachu figure of about two centimeters (just under one inch) and a taste of mashed potatoes and the sea.

The project has been underway for two years and is still in its infancy, but the idea is to apply ingredients such as edible flowers or edible dyes to the menu to make them more attractive to children.

AFP

Prof Mora Appointed as Member, Igbinedion University Council

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Prof Mora Appointed as Member, Igbinedion University Council
Prof. Ahmed T. Mora

Professor Ahmed T. Mora, chairman, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) Governing Council, has been appointed member, Igbinedion University Governing Council, for a three -year term with effect from April, 2022.

In a statement made available to Pharmanewsonline, it was disclosed that the inauguration ceremony will take place on Thursday, 30 June, 2022, by His Excellency, Sir Chief (Dr) Gabriel O. Igbinedion, CFR, the Esama of Benin Kingdom, who is also the chairman of the Board of Reagents of the University.

Prof. Mora joined the services of the university in 2016 and has been lecturing in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy of Igbinedion University as a lecturer and first professor of clinical pharmacy and pharmacy practice in the university.

He earlier served as the foundation Dean, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kaduna State University (KASU) as well as the pioneer Head, Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Management from 2012 to 2016.

His first involvement in academic pharmacy was in 1986 in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), as a part-time lecturer on ‘pro-bono’ basis.

He is a member of the National Institute (mni), and a Fellow of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists. Prof. Mora has undertaken several professional and management programmes in various universities and institutes such as Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, UK and the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON).

Mora has practised Pharmacy in all the core areas of the profession across academic, industrial, administrative, and community practice, and garnered wide range of experience.

The West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP) has since 2008 been benefitting from his wealth of academic experience as an astute Examiner.

 

 

 

 

Early Diagnosis, Key to Tackling Sickle Cell Disorder Complications — NGOs

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The President, Sickle Cell Aid Foundation, Ms Elmer Aluge, says early diagnosis of the Sickle Cell Disorder (SCD) disease is key to ensuring that patients live normal lives.

Aluge said this on Saturday in Abuja in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the Red Umbrella Walk to commemorate the 2022 World Sickle Cell Day.

World Sickle Cell Day is commemorated on June 19 every year to raise awareness about the disorder and bring to the fore, measures that could be taken to avoid or manage it.

The theme for the 2022 celebration is “Sickle Cell Disorder: Importance of Self Care”.

Aluge, who spoke on behalf of the Coalition of Sickle Cell NGOs in Nigeria, said early detection would help patients to begin to receive treatment early enough and avoid complications later in life.

She said “we are advocating for early diagnosis in babies in Nigeria because with this, we will know whether the genotype is SC or SS or if they have the sickle cell trait at all.

“Once that is identified early, patients can start receiving treatment and treatment prevents prolonged issues or complications in the future.

“Also, people with the disorder can live as long as they need to in Nigeria if they have access to quality healthcare from an early age.”
She, therefore, called for affordable medicare for people living with the condition, noting that a Sickle Cell Bill, which passed third reading at the National Assembly had been in the works since 2015.

She added that “sickle cell patients cannot access health insurance on low premiums because they are seen as high risk so we need their premiums to be reduced so that they can access it and maintain their health on a regular level.

“Our educational system should accommodate patients that have to be in hospital for extended periods of time to be able to take their examinations outside the classroom.

“We want offices to understand that not everyone can sit in air cconditioned environment from morning till night, so providing more enabling environment or even office blankets for people that have this ddisorderwill greatly assist.”

Aluge said that living with the disorder was not a death sentence, adding that Non-Governmental Organisations were trying to champion the narrative that patients could live and thrive with it, if they were aware of their symptoms and found avenues to support themselves.

She also said that the coalition was looking forward to seeing government, health agencies, financial institutions  help in eradicating the stigma around sickle cell and also provide financial opportunities to patients to be able to get jobs and access to health insurance.

Josephine Olunaike, Founder, Beulah Sickle Cell Foundation, said that the Red umbrella walk was to create awareness about the disorder.
According to her, there is high rate of newborns with the disorder in Nigeria, indicating that awareness about the disorder is low.
On stigmatisation, the 50-yyea-old sickle cell warrior, said it was still much in existence.

She added that “a lot of people still think that it is a spiritual problem or a curse for the parents as punishment for something they have done, they are still making incisions on children, teachers too stigmatise them in school.

“So, it is still there, though it is better than what it used to be when we were growing up when they would bring some pastors to come and flog it out of us. It is better now but still existing.”

For 11-year-old Nafisat Oladele, living with the disease is not a big deal as far as she knows her limits and is ready to abide by them.
She said that she only confirmed two years ago that she had the disorder when she had a major crisis.

“At first, I did not know I had the disorder but when I finally did, I already knew what to take and my mum usually makes sure I complete my dose of medicines. It has not really been terrible but it could be better.

“I found out when I was 16. I am not sickly though and do not usually have crisis but my parents knew but did not tell me and in my mind I did not see myself as one with the disorder so when I had the crisis I requested for a test and that was when I confirmed it.”

She, however, advised those living with it to accept it because it is not the end of the world.

She added that they should ensure they took their medications when due and not succumb to peer pressure.

“Do not say this is what my friends are doing so I want to do it knowing fully well that you do not have the capacity to do it because of the stress.

“Just know yourself and keep to your limits. It is not really a big deal”, Oladele said.

NAN reports that Sickle Cell Disorder is a genetic disease that affects red blood cells and changes them into stiff, sticky, sickle cells that blocks blood flow and can cause pain and tissue damage.

June 19th was officially designated by the United Nations in 2008 as World Sickle Cell Awareness Day to recognise the disease as a public health problem and to promote education about its genetic condition. (NAN)

Chronic Kidney Diseases: Expert Tasks Nigerians on Healthy Lifestyle

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World Kidney Day: Towards a National Policy on Kidney Care
Human kidney. Image Source :Kidneyfund

 

Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, a human resource expert has called on Nigerians to live a healthy life to prevent chronic kidney diseases.

Abdullahi made the call at an event organised by Nigerian Association of Nephrologist, to mark the World Kidney Day on Saturday in Ilorin, Kwara.

According to Abdullahi, who is also a fellow of Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria, kidney disease is rated as 5th source of death the world over.

He explained that the disease could be prevented if sound and frequent public awareness is created to educate the masses on its causes and preventions.

“These are better done through Lectures, Symposia, Conferences, Radio and TV Presentations and as well as Newspapers and Journals.

“Every family should make it an annual routine to screen themselves medically at a good healthcare facility to know the performance of their organs, such as kidney, liver and the heart.

“The essence is to diagnose and discover early whatever is going wrong. This will help prevent the progression of the aliment to a life-threatening one.

“Diabetes, hypertension and chronic malaria are common factors responsible for CKD,’’ he stressed.

Abdullahi advised the public to ensure that while on regular medications for any of these diseases, one must be in constant touch with their healthcare givers and also use their drugs to prevent complications.

He, however, called on federal, states and local governments in the country to redesign the nation’s healthcare system with a view to carrying out effective implementation.]

He added that some of the facilities for management of the disease were lacking and those available were absolutely inadequate to care for large number of patients, thereby making treatment unaffordable or inaccessible.

Abdullahi blamed poor healthcare service delivery system in the country to corruption, uncared attitude and selfish approach to governance.

According to him, these are responsible for the brain-drain, where better Nigerian health professionals are seeking better environment in other parts of the world.

He, however, appealed to the citizens to correct mistakes of the past by voting for responsible leaders in the forthcoming general elections.

He maintained that the health and education sector should be well taken-care of by those in leadership. (NAN)

Tackling Malnutrition in Nigerian Children and Mothers: LSMH and Nestlé’s Examples

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Tackling Malnutrition in Nigerian Children and Mothers: LSMH and Nestlé’s Examples

 

Titi, a seven-year-old child, had been expected to grow healthily like her mates born in the same Likosi Community of Ogun State, but that was not to be. Rather, she suffered from repeated infections and stuntded growth. Worse still, she continued to show signs of mental retardation, making it difficult for her parents to enroll her for formal education. Thus, while Titi’s age mates within the community are in their second or third year in elementary school, she is still struggling to put a meaningful sentence together.

Titi’s condition had thrown her artisan parents into dejection for the past 6 years, as they assumed that she was a sickle cell carrier. A neighbour, however, advised them to take her to a nearby hospital. When they did, she was diagnosed of marasmus, a form of malnutrition, and started receiving treatment immediately.

Now, Mr and Mrs Joel Kolade, Titi’s parents, who have since regretted their error in underfeeding her, due to their low income level, have pledged to improve in the family’s feeding habit, as well as to intentionally supplement their food with essential micronutrients.

Forms of malnutrition
Marasmus is a form of malnutrition that occurs when the intake of nutrients and energy is too low for a person’s needs. It is a severe form of protein-energy malnutrition that leads to wasting, or the loss of body fat and muscle. Experts opine that a child with marasmus may not grow as children usually do. It is established that marasmus also affects adults, but it most often affects young children in developing countries.

Generally, malnutrition refers to the poor intake of food which may manifest as either excess consumption of food, known as overnutrition; or inadequate nutrition consumption, referred to as undernutrition, like that of Titi. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) malnutrition is a global challenge, with serious and far-reaching developmental, economic, social, and medical impacts on individuals and their families, communities and countries.

A Nutrition Officer with the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Mrs Olubunmi Ibrahim, described malnutrition as a public health disease condition of great concern. “It is a triple burden disease condition with over-nutrition, undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, popularly called “hidden hunger”.

Anaemia is another global public health problem associated with nutritional deficiencies that particularly affects young children and pregnant women.

Figures of malnourished children and women
WHO estimates that 42 per cent of children less than five years of age and 40 per cent of pregnant women worldwide are anaemic. It is so worrisome that the apex health institution further estimates that one-third of all women of reproductive age are anaemic. It identified causes of anaemia to include iron deficiency, shortage of vitamins B12 and A, as well as infectious diseases.

With the global burden of malnutrition from the WHO 2021 Report indicating about 45 per cent of mortality in under five years children; stunting in 149 million children under 5; wasting (too thin for height) in 45 million; and overweight or obesity in 38.9 million, the situation is alarming. The health condition also accounts for 1.9 billion overweight and 462 million underweight in adults.

Food fortification and bio-fortification as panacea to malnutrition
In tackling the burden of malnutrition, experts are advocating bio-fortification and food fortification as measures for enabling everyone across the globe to enjoy their right to adequate nutrition. Bio-fortification is a breeding process of specific grains with the aim of enhancing both their mineral density and bioavailability. Food fortification is the practice of adding vitamins and minerals to commonly consumed foods during processing to increase their nutritional value.

Canvassing the need for food fortification, UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, at the Second Global Summit on Food Fortification, said: “We estimate that at least one in two of the world’s children suffers from hidden hunger – deficiencies in vitamins and other essential nutrients. Large scale fortification and bio-fortification can help us address this issue.”

Buttressing same idea, Director of Nutrition at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Andreas Bluethner, called for worldwide solidarity on food fortification: “The worldwide COVID crisis puts millions of people additionally at risk of poverty and malnutrition. We need governments, donors and private sector to partner for resilient nutrition programmes, such as staple foods fortified with essential nutrients. Adequate nutrition is a human right and an outstanding investment in a nation’s health, educational opportunities and productivity at marginal cost.”

The CEO of HarvestPlus, Arun Baral, in his remarks at the summit, as published on GAIN’s website, also emphasised the the adoption of food and bio-fortification with a call to action. “Food fortification and crop bio-fortification are complementary interventions that can ensure all people can get the essential micronutrients they need for good nutrition and health. It is time to rapidly scale them up to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

Food fortification: Lagos State Ministry of Health’s model
It comes as no surprise that the Lagos State Ministry of Health (LSMH) has embraced food fortification in addressing the “hidden hunger” burden in the state, through the introduction of micro-nutrient powders (MNPs) as supplement to be added to infants and young children’s meals. It is a routine service designed as an intervention to prevent and treat malnutrition in children of six to nine months.

In an exclusive interview with Mrs Olubunmi Ibrahim, the state nutrition officer, she explained the objective of the state in embarking on the project. “MNPs are products designed to address micronutrient deficiencies, including anaemia, by improving the quality of children’s diets, to prevent vitamins and minerals deficiencies where access to diverse nutritious foods is limited.”

She remarked that while the programme recorded a huge success, as the MNPs were widely accepted by children as reported by their mothers, shortage in supply was a limitation due to the large population of the state.

In a peer reviewed report titled, “Evaluation of MNPs Distribution through Maternal Neonatal and Child Health Weeks in Nigeria: Process Evaluation of Feasibility and Use – A Case Study of Four Local Governments in Benue State”, it was found that MNPs coverage was low, but consistency was typically achieved with other services delivered through Maternal, Neonatal And Child Health Week (MNCHW) in Benue.

“Among caregivers who received MNPs, acceptance and use among targeted children was high. While some weaknesses in knowledge and delivery of MNP by health workers were observed, health system strengthening and more extensive social mobilisation would be key to achieving higher coverage with MNPs and other health services provided through MNCHW”, the document stated.

While the LSMH’s food fortification project is a laudable one that should be sustained, the Nestle’s example of tackling micronutrient deficiencies and other forms of malnutrition provides a more in-depth insight for stakeholders in the health and nutrition industries to emulate.

Food fortification: The Nestle’s success story
In an exclusive interview with Nestle’s Nutrition Institute Manager for Central West Africa Region, Dr Kanalio Yvonne Olaloku, she revealed how the company has leveraged food fortification and intensified awareness creation on the importance of iron, for the benefits of Nigerians and Africans, including those in the low income level.

She said Nestle embarked on the “Live Strong with Iron” campaign in 2021 to senstitise Nigerians about iron deficiency, which is the largest micronutrient deficiency globally, accompanied by low awareness which predisposes people to iron deficiency anaemia.
According to her: “Nestle’s ‘Live Strong with Iron’ campaign is ongoing with the different brand categories. The awareness is embedded in the different brands of products containing iron such as Milo, Golden Morn, etc.

“Over 95 per cent of our products are fortified to provide at least 15 per cent of our daily needs in one serving. Each product is fortified with at least one of the big four nutrient deficiencies: Iron, Vitamin A, iodine, and zinc”.

Asked about the affordability of these fortified food products to the poor families who live on less than two dollars a day in Nigeria, she said Nestle’s products are also packaged in small size sachets to ensure affordability for everyone, adding that a sachet and contains at least 15 per cent of the required daily allowance of iron to prevent iron deficiency.

While some Nigerians interviewed on the affordability of Nestle’s Golden Morn and Milo said they might not be able to purchase the products on a regular basis for their families, Olaloku remarked that the goal of the campaign is not for people to drink Milo twice a day or every single day but “to ensure that people are consuming all round foods rich in iron (Nestle products inclusive)”.

She continued: “The main objective of the campaign really is to increase awareness amongst employees, distributors, stakeholders and consumers so that there is a call to action across the communities.”

Aside from fortified processed foods, the nutrition expert mentioned other iron-rich natural foods that people can eat, such as dark green leaves, egusi, beans, nuts, meats, fish, and chicken. She urged Nigerians to endeavour to eat more of these local foods, stressing that they provide other essential nutrients for the body such as folate, calcium, fibre, and protein.

Lady Pharmacists Elect New National Executives

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Lady Pharmacists Elect New National Executives
Newly elected ALPs National Executives reading their oath of office.

Members of the Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPs) National have elected new officials to pilot the affairs of the group for the next two years. Election of the new national executives of the association took place during the Biennial General Meeting at the just concluded 15th Biennial Annual Conference held at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Lagos.

The names and posts of the newly elected officials are : Pharm.(Mrs) Scholastica Mnena Lan, national chairman; Pharm. (Mrs) Rose Aghaebe Oluchukwu, vice-chairman North-Central Zone; Pharm. (Mrs) Anna Samndi vice-chairman North-East Zone; Pharm.(Mrs)  Salamatu Ohunene Ibrahim, vice-chairman North-West Zone; Pharm. (Mrs) Sandra Timiendu Dandyson, vice-chairman South-South Zone; Pharm. (Mrs) Omobolanle Adetoun Ajao, vice-chairman South-West Zone; Pharm.(Mrs) Uzoma Emmanuela Umeononihu vice-chairman South-East Zone; Pharm. (Mrs) Ngozi Josephine Egboh, national secretary; Pharm. (Mrs) Regina Mngohol Chichi-Agir, national treasurer.

Others are Pharm. (Mrs) Modupeore Alli, national financial secretary; Pharm.(Mrs) Hafsah Ameen-Ikoyi, national publicity secretary; Pharm. (Mrs) Agbomma Emmanuela Esom-Ibe, editor-in-chief; Pharm.(Mrs)  Salamatu Orakwelu, un- officio member North; Pharm.(Dr) Modupeolu Ologunagba, un-officio member South and Pharm. (Mrs) Victoria E. Ukwu, immediate past national chairman.

Congratulating Lan and other executives for their successful emergence at the polls, Ukwu urged all members of the association for full support of the new crop of leadership saying their cooperation is key in order for the executives to succeed.

Lady Pharmacists Elect New National Executives
Prof. Mbang Femi-Oyewo (4th from right) presenting an award to the Lagos State First Lady, ably represented by Pharm. (Mrs) Lydia Adedayo. flanked by some ALPs executives at the opening ceremony of the conference

Rendering the stewardship of her four year-tenure, she  recalled impacts made in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as public education and campaigns on drug and substance abuse in secondary school, humanitarian services through visits to orphanages and elderly homes, commemoration of the International Day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking, International Day of the Girl-Child, among others.

As an expansion of the group’s girl-child support, she disclosed that ALPs has instituted an Education Fund for daughters of indigent widows and orphans in the six geopolitical zones of the Federation.

She listed the names of the children benefiting from the association’s Education Fund to include: “Mary Ajiji from Makurdi, Benue State (North Central): Aisha Shatima MaIna from Gwarge, Borno State (North East); Amina Said from Gusau LGA, Zamfara State (North West); Chiwendu Victoria Iwu from Mbaise, Imo State (South East); Joy Chinedu from Benin, Edo State (South South); Saffiyat Ajayi from Ikorodu, Lagos State (South West).

In her acceptance speech shortly after the swearing-in of her team of executives, the newly elected National Chairman, Pharm. (Mrs) Scholastica Mnena Lan, expressed profound appreciation to all members for the confidence reposed in her and other officials of the group, assuring them of their commitment to take the association to a greater height.

She assured all members of an inclusive administration, saying her administration will leave no one behind, as her lines are opened to receive ideas, suggestions and innovations that will lift the association to the desired height.  “We as an executive need prayers, support in cash and kind and cooperation of all. We request the “I CAN” spirit in all members and partners so that together we will achieve much more”.

She said her administration is hinged on four action points which are: establishment of branches in states where the association is non-existing yet, mentorship for young colleagues, increase recognition for ALPs achievements, and sustenance of existing projects of the association.

According to her, these action points are: “Reach out to states that have not established branches of ALPs to get them active, vibrant and promotion of the dreams of our founding mothers for service to humanity and professional excellence can be achieved and felt by their communities; Giving guidance, support, mentoring and motivation to young colleagues so that they get it right with their careers. We seek the support of senior colleagues to adopt young ALPians and mentor through post-graduation and the real-life practice and reach career zenith with integrity and professionalism.

“Increase recognition of ALPS achievements by having them documented and shared with strategic partners in order to attract partnerships and collaboration. We will from time to time hold online discussions to understand which issues are most pertinent to lady pharmacists, and use the results to inform projects agenda.

“Continue and sustain the already existing projects of the past executive like the educational scholarships for the girl child, recognition of senior colleagues and founding mothers, partnerships with relevant corporate bodies, ALPs cooperative support for set up of laudable enterprises, medicinal natural drugs discovery and production, mentoring of the young and securing internship placements for fresh graduands, collaboration with other professional groups just to mention a few”, she quipped.

Welcoming delegates across the country to the conference, the host, Pharm.(Dr) Afusat Adesina, chairman, Lagos State ALPs and the Chairman, Conference Planning Committee, Pharm (Dr) Monica Eimunjeze, urged them to use the opportunity to upgrade their practice knowledge as well as interact for the purpose of collaboration.

The duo who acknowledged that the planning process of the conference wasn’t without challenges, but they expressed their delight in the overal success of the conference.

 

 

COVID-19: Foundation Engages Women Leaders to Curb Vaccine Hesitancy

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COVID-19: Administered Vaccines in Lagos Hit Over 2.3m Doses

 

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), a Non-Governmental Organisation, on Thursday, engaged over 40 women in Cross River as champions to curb COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. The engagement, which took place in Calabar, had women groups from the 18 local government areas of the state like the Ekori Women’s League, Ambitious Ladies Foundation and others.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that even though COVID-19 vaccines and others are available in most of healthcare centres, residents of Cross River have refused to take them for fear of the myths mostly read on social media and fear of reactions.

Dr Echey Ijezie, the Country Programme Director of AHF Nigeria Country Office, said the essence of the gathering was to make women champions in the fight against COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in the state.

Ijezie said women played key roles at the community level and highly influential and so were important in any form of advocacy and information dissemination.
He added that in spite of the false information being peddled on social media, COVID-19 was still very much around and killing people.

“We decided to bring women together as champions to fight the challenge of vaccine hesitancy and also listen to their fears because the public trust women.

“We want to ensure that we let the people know the importance of getting vaccinated and also assuage their fears, which are mostly myths peddled by uninformed people.

“It is not fair that government is spending so much to acquire vaccines, including the ones donated by other nations and we don’t use them, preferring to believe
falsehood on social media”, he stated.

Mrs Joy Chabo, the Cross River Immunisation Officer, disclosed that the state was targeting 70 per cent COVID-19 vaccination of its residents.Chabo said available data shows only 17 per cent of Cross River’s target population received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and only 11 per cent took the first and second doses.

“This means that those that are fully protected are just 11 per cent of the target population; this is very poor when compared with some other states that have
achieved over 90 per cent vaccination success.“My message to the public is that those not yet vaccinated should respond as the vaccines are free in all health facilities in the state.”

On the issue of adverse reactions after receiving the vaccine, Chabo said that Adverse Event Following Immunisation (AEFI) was normal as different body
compositions responded differently to vaccines.

She said that due to the low rate of immunisation, Cross River had not attained herd immunity, so, it was important for everyone to use the nose mask, wash hands frequently and sanitise properly whether vaccinated or not.

“Vaccinated persons can still get infected, they may not go down with severe illness and death but can be healthy carriers, spreading the virus to others, this is why you still need to protect yourself and those around you,” she asserted.

One of the participants, Mrs Itam Ofor, the President of Ekori Progressive Women’s League, said she had a lot of misgivings about the vaccine before the engagement. She, however, added that she was now better informed and would go back and sensitise her people on the need to get vaccinated. (NAN)

Local Drug Manufacturing will Boost Nigeria’s Currency – DG

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Local Drug Manufacturing will Boost Nigeria’s Currency – DG
Local drug manufacturing process

Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, Director General (DG) of National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), said that when pharmaceutical companies start local manufacturing of drugs, the strength of the naira will increase.

Mustapha said this at a press briefing on the significance of the NABDA 2022 Establishment Act to national development in Abuja on Thursday.

He disclosed that NABDA recently formalized partnership with the government of Cuba to promote joint research in tissue culture, drug and vaccine manufacturing.

“At the moment, Nigeria imports 70 per cent of medicines used in the nation, this collaboration holds the possibility of reducing it to about 20 per cent in the next few years.

“One of the implications of this is that the era of substandard drugs is coming to an end as local production will lead to quality enhancement,’’ Mustapha said.

According to him, biotechnology is an accelerator of inclusive national growth, providing a knowledge-based approach to solving public problems and ensuring future sustainability.

He said the passage of the Act would catalse the stimulation of rapid commercialization of biotechnology research and development products and afford the agency a platform for collaboration.

The DG said NABDA would work with international centres, NGOs, national and international biotechnology agencies and institutions and ensure sustainable mechanism for adequate funding of biotechnology activities through national and international funding agencies.

Mustapha stated that the Act mandates the Agency to create public awareness of biotechnology application and its values in Nigeria’s development.

“In fact, the Act recognizes the imperative of public education for groundswell private-sector participation in biotechnology enterprises.

“It stipulates that the agency should coordinate and conduct `strong advocacy programs, seminars, conferences and workshops’ to foster multi-stakeholders’ cooperation for inclusive national development,” he said.

He noted that the passage of the Act is a testament to Nigeria’s readiness to harness cutting-edge technologies for sustainable development, particularly those that guarantee better life for all Nigerians.

“With this development, we are optimistic that the agency will be able to consolidate Nigeria’s leadership in Africa’s biotechnology space, and launch the nation into the stratosphere of global economic players.

“The Act makes NABDA a `body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal”.

Accordingly, Mustapha said the Act has also strategically pushed the agency to pursue its mandate of driving national development by ethically harnessing applications of biotechnology.

He mentioned some of these applications to include; green biotechnology which encompasses the agricultural field, red biotechnology, which relates to the medical field, blue technology which consists of the aquatic field and white biotechnology, relating to industrial domain.

The NABDA boss expressed optimism that the private sector participation in biotechnology would extend the frontiers of economic development and abate Nigeria’s over reliance on petrodollar.

He said the private sector participation is needed for mass production, commercialization and supply to end users of the bio-digesters invented by the agency.

“These bio digesters which were locally fabricated with locally sourced material would foster energy generation and efficiency,” Mustapha said.

He further said that the agency, through its research activities, is facilitating Nigeria’s dairy industry and working on how to improve livestock genetics aimed at ensuring indigenous cattle increase their milk and beef production capacity.

Mustapha listed various research activities of the agency aimed at improving the livelihood of Nigerians while improving national economy. (NAN)

Industrial Pharmacists Examine Challenges, Opportunities in Essential Drug Production

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… As NAIP holds 25th Annual National Conference

Industrial Pharmacists Examine Challenges, Opportunities in Essential Dug Production
A cross session of dignitaries at the NAIP conference

Following the downward trend of the Nigerian economy, industrial pharmacists in the country assembled on Wednesday to examine the challenges and opportunities before them even as they strive to provide essential drugs for the Nigerian citizens.

The gathering was the 25th Annual National Conference of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP). The theme of the conference is “The Role of Industrial Pharmacists in a Depressed Economy: Opportunities, Challenges and Solutions in Providing Essential Drugs”.

In his remarks, Chairman of the occasion, a former President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, lamented the current state of the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector, saying the industry relied on importation of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) and excipients. “We can’t continue like this. We need to address the several challenges facing us”, Yakasai said.

According to the former PSN president, the challenges facing the industry includes infrastructural decadence, lack of power, lack of fund, insufficient data as well as unavailability of petrochemical industry that can produce raw materials among others. He urged all industrial pharmacists to study the history of Indian pharmaceutical industry so that they can apply their strategies to develop the pharma sector.

The Keynote Speaker, Pharm. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okoye, MD, Juhel Nigeria Ltd, while delivering his keynote address explained that a depressed economy is a period of sustained economic slowdown or more severe than a recession, which is a mere slow downturn in economic activities over the course of a normal business cycle which leads to rise in poverty.

The industrial pharmacist, according to the speaker is an expert in drugs, who engages in the research, testing, and analysis related to the development, production, storage, quality control and distribution of drugs and related substances. He pointed out that the COVID-19 has posed a serious problem leading to the current depressed economy in the country.

While there are several challenges currently confronting drug production in the country, he noted that there are several opportunities that industrial pharmacists need to explore. Dr Okoye however called on all industrial pharmacists to cooperate while also calling on the regulatory agencies to regulate in way that will encourage drug manufacturers in the country. He also called on the government.

“At $2.5BN, the Nigerian pharma market has the potential to hold about 40 per cent of the African pharma market. To achieve this, it is essential that the NAIP, PMG-MAN, ACPN should work as a team, collaborate, cooperate and carry out healthy competition that promotes quality and growth. Health is wealth; a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Nigeria cannot achieve an acceptable health policy without the easy availability of essential drugs, which can only be made possible by the Nigerian association of industrial pharmacists in cooperation with other pharmacy practitioners”, the speaker said.

Also speaking in his presentation titled professional collaboration and coordination as a panacea to industrial growth, the vice-chancellor Nnamdi Azikwe University, Prof. Charles Esimone pointed out that unless the various technical sectors in the pharmaceutical industry collaborate, the industry cannot get anywhere.

He noted that NAIP has been collaborating with the pharmacists in academia, noting that the collaboration has given birth to some products. He therefore called for more of such collaborations between the industrial pharmacists and those in the academia.

Earlier in his remarks, the National Chairman of NAIP, Pharm. Ken Onuegbu said the association will not relent until it achieve its set objectives to take the industry to greater height.

Pharm. Onuegbu noted that his led executives have been channeling its talk on some endeavours in the last one year when they came on board which include the NAIP House Estate in Ogun State, the Pharma Park in Ebonyi State, promotion of drug/medicine security in the country, support for local contract manufacturing, API production in the country, NAIP House project as well as pharmaceutical products marketing regulation among others.

“We are not going to relent until we have addressed the challenges posed by the above talking points and ensured that we successfully move every item above to victory lap”, the NAIP Chairman said.

The Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Professor Moji Adeyeye, who was represented at the event by Pharm. Ijeoma Nwankwo as well as the Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) Babashehu Ahmed who was also represented by Pharm. (Dr) Ukamaka Okafor presented goodwill messages at the event, so also did the President of PSN, Prof. Cyril Usifoh.

 

Care For Older Persons, Key to Reclaiming Societal Heritage – Group

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Care for older persons, key to reclaiming societal heritage – Group
elder care image

Save Our Heritage Initiative (SOHI), an Abuja based NGO, has said that care and love for older persons is imperative and key to reclaiming the society’s lost heritage.

Ms May Ikokwu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the group, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the occasion of International Day against Elder Abuse in Abuja on Wednesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that World Elder Abuse Awareness day is celebrated every year on June 15 to raise the voice on caring for elders.

Elder abuse is a global social issue that affects the Health and Human Rights of millions of older persons around the world.

The day was officially recognised by the United Nations General Assembly.

NAN reports that Elder abuse is an intentional act or failure to act that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.

An older adult is someone aged 60 or older. The abuse occurs at the hands of a caregiver or a person the elder trusts.

Ikokwu, who restated the need to end elder abuse, urged the society to always listen to older adults and their caregivers to understand their challenges and provide support.

“Report abuse or suspected abuse to local adult protective services, or the police where there is a desk officer for Elder Abuse. Use the National Senior Citizens’ Centre (NSCC), government agencies, state laws, and other resources.

“Educate oneself and others about how to recognize and report elder abuse, given that worldwide one in six older adults are abused but only about 4 per cent of cases of elder abuse are reported,” she said.

She explained that elder abuse ranged from abandonment, neglect, physical abuse and others capable of leading to psychological trauma and death.

The Chief Executive Officer therefore, expressed the need for the society to provide over-burdened caregivers with support such as help from friends, family, or local relief care groups.

Ikokwu called on the society to resist all forms of elder abuses, including financial abuse or stereotypes, to preserve and protect elders whom she described as God-given heritages.

She explained: “Physical abuse is when an elder experiences illness, pain, injury, functional impairment, distress

It can also be “death as a result of the intentional use of physical force and includes acts such as pushing, slapping etc.”

She said others included “humiliation or disrespect, verbal and non-verbal threats, harassment, and geographic or interpersonal isolation.”

“Financial Abuse is the illegal, unauthorised or improper use of an elder’s money, benefits, belongings, property, or assets for the benefit of someone other than the older adult.”

According to the SOHI boss, older women are not spared from the sexual abuse suffered by younger women, such as rape and being forced to undress and these tend to cause psychological trauma in the victims. (NAN)

 

Bridging the Gap in Nigeria’s Health Sector Beyond COVID-19 Pandemic

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Bridging the Gap in Nigeria’s health sector beyond COVID-19 pandemic
United Nations Flag

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) describes the COVID-19 pandemic as a defining global health crisis of our time and the greatest challenge faced since World War II.

The UN agency argues that since COVID-19’s emergence in Asia in 2019, the virus has spread to every continent except Antarctica.

It says the pandemic is in fact much more than a health crisis taking into consideration its unprecedented socio-economic impact.

Stressing every one of the countries it touches, it has the potential to create devastating social, economic and political effects that will leave deep and longstanding scars, UNDP says.

Countries have diverse shares of the devastating impact of the pandemic, no matter its scale, with many yet struggling to recover or stabilize from its multidimensional impact.

For these reasons, in Nigeria, the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF) was established in 2020 to intervene in the nation’s health sector and bridge the gap that exists therein.

The NSSF’s identifies some of the challenges of the health sector to include over stretched healthcare facilities, inadequate budget allocation for health and insufficient support base for individuals and businesses, among others.

The fund believes that the government alone cannot shoulder all these responsibilities hence the need for support from individuals and corporate organisations.

Consequently, it defines its priority areas to include supporting vulnerable groups, re-skilling and re- tooling Nigerians and the strengthening of primary healthcare system.

Achieving this goal requires funding from individuals and corporate entities who believe in its social re- engineering agenda and sustainability goals.

No wonder, the fund set aside June 9 to honour and recognise these individuals and corporate entities who supported the NSSF to bring succor to Nigerians during the pandemic.

The General Manger/ Chief Executive Officer of NSSF, Dr Fejiro Chinye-Nwoko, says the fund is poised to see the recovery of Nigeria’s health sector beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chinye-Nwoko tells the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on the sidelines of the award and recognition ceremony that the NSSF’s vision is to champion a healthier Nigeria.

According to her, several hands are on deck to strengthen the healthcare systems through building resilience and providing support for the most vulnerable in our communities.

She says from the inception of the fund, the goal has always been to complement what the Federal Government is doing in the country’s health care management value chain.

She says the fund is vested with the task of sensitisation and creating awareness of its functions, vision and goals.

The CEO says it is necessary to get more Nigerians, both individuals and corporate organisations, to sign up and join the effort to contribute to national development.

According to her, the fund is in need of committed citizens in a sustainable basis who will support it in fulfilling its mission of transforming health outcomes in Nigeria.

“No doubt, the NSSF is an organization set up by Nigerians for Nigerians as a movement of citizens participating in development.

“Our goal is to reach 500,000 citizens to make contributions, both those in the country and those in the Diaspora.

“The Fund looks to support and fund impactful initiatives that provide critical intervention in Nigeria’s healthcare sector and upscaling available capacity and resources in the fight against COVID-19.

“The focus would be to support urgent aspects of the healthcare system and provide humanitarian support to those people whose lives are disrupted by COVID-19 while working closely with the public institutions and private sector actors,” Chinye-Nwoko says.

She also says the NSSF is mapping out plans to strengthen the health system, beyond vaccination.

“Naturally, out of all the sectors that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the health sector tops the list.

“So, it is a priority for NSSF to see the health sector recover from the assault of the pandemic even as it pursues efforts to re-skill the youths to help jumpstart economic recovery , post-COVID-19,” Chinye-Nwoko says.

The CEO underscores the importance of providing support and assistance to Nigerians by drawing on practical lessons learned globally and focusing on creating awareness and healthcare systems and infrastructure.

She emphasizes that the government cannot do this alone and calls for support.

“It needs support from all well-meaning citizens and organizations.

“Everyone can contribute.

“Everyone can join,” Chinye-Nwoko said.

She says every planned action in NSSF is geared toward set objectives to help transform the lives of vulnerable Nigerians, strengthen healthcare systems, and reskill the Nigerian workforce.

The CEO appeals to philanthropists, corporate organizations, Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora, public sector institutions and international donor agencies to join hands and support the Fund which has been created by Nigerians for the benefit of Nigerians.

“In truth, the biggest problems can be solved with collective effort.

“We are building a new narrative of a healthier Nigeria and an approach toward a strengthened economy.

“We are grateful to all our donors and partner organizations who have worked tirelessly with us on this journey to create the impact needed to solve our healthcare problems.

“We, however, need more partners, NSSF’s objectives cannot be achieved in silos.

“We need to establish increased partnerships and drive this change through collaboration,” Chinye-Nwoko tells NAN.

The CEO says the Fund is excited by the number of donors it already has but that it is still keen to onboard even more donors.

On some of the achievements of the Fund, the Chairman of the NSSF, Mr Tunde Folawiyo, says the Fund has been able to achieve most of its objectives so far.

Folawiyo says the NSSF vaccinated no fewer than 1.6 million Nigerians within four months, instead of the projected six months.

According to him, one of the major objective of NSSF is to strengthen the health care systems in Nigeria, and to assist the most vulnerable Nigerians to recover from the effects of the ravages of the COVID pandemic.

“And of course, the third pillar is to reskill and re-tool Nigerian youths”.

He says the Fund has also been able to make make good strides on all set objectives, led by the GM/CEO, Chinye-Nwoko.

The chairman says the fund assisted the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to roll out vaccination in the six geopolitical zones faster and quicker than NPHCDA could have done.

“And it was a fantastic collaboration. And that’s what we’re talking about strengthening.

“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. We’re not trying to do anything super new.

“We’re just trying to strengthen what we have on ground and help them achieve their objectives.

“So, that was a perfect example of what collaboration can be where people are already on ground doing great work.

“And then, we can just add value and make it faster and more effective and beyond,” Folawiyo says.

On the re-scaling re-tooling objectives, the chairman says the Fund organised a photography competition for Nigerian youths.

“The competition, which involved the use of camera phones, saw the youths unleashing their creativity.

“You will be amazed at how much creativity we found amongst Nigerian youths.

“We were alarmed in a nice way.

“The winner of the competition was a young Nigerian of probably 23 or 24 years of age.

“He had fantastic sharp pictures and strong images.

“We have one of the big auction houses auction those photographs,” Folawiyo says.

For Mr Pattison Boleigha, Group Chief Conduct and Compliance Officer for Access Bank, the bank is proud to collaborate with NSSF because of its sustainability agenda.

Boleigha says the bank is happy with NSSF’s drive in its sustainability goals towards human capital improvement.

He says that globally, there has been a clarion call for some level of inclusiveness and for people to come together to pursue sustainable goals.

He says that the re- tooling and re-scaling drive of NSSF is commendable as it builds self-esteem in people to believe in themselves to do things sustainably, and to bring out the best in them.

“And so events like this actually helps to promote those kinds of behaviors and different positive vibes into the system.

“This brings the whole society to understand that life is actually much more valuable than we see today.

“The banker says his job as Chief Conduct and Compliance Officer, enables him to ensure fairness, equity, justice and fair play in the system,” Boleigha says.

Some personalities have got awards for their support to the fund and they include the Tengen Family Office, NSSF Corporate Sponsor Award; Mr Tunde Folawiyo, NSSF Sponsor Award and Mr Anthony Oputa, NSSF Ambassador Award.

Others include Olaniwun Ajayi LP, NSSF Corporate Partner Award and Dr Ajoritsedere Awosika for the NSSF Female Sponsor Award.

In summary, it is worthy to note that while the initial ravage of the pandemic has reduced drastically, the need for social reengineering in consolidation on the reforms and interventions in the healthcare value chain remains germane.

It is pertinent that Public Private Sector partnerships will engender the much needed impact in bridging the gap in Nigeria’s healthcare value chain.

Infants With Changes in Brain Visual Areas Susceptible to Autism- Study Finds

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Infants With Changes in Brain Visual Areas Susceptible to Autism- Study Finds

 

Researchers from the University Of North Carolina School of Chapel Hill, have recently found that infants who were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at 24 months old already had differences in the visual processing areas of the brain that would have been apparent at 6 months old.

The study conducted by Jessica Girault, PhD and her colleagues affirms that disruption in visual processing could bring about some changes on how infants see the world and interact with people around them. These early changes could affect development and play a role in ASD symptoms, they maintained.

The research sponsored and overviewed by the National Institutes of Health was set up with enrolment of 384 pair of siblings with the eldest sibling who has been diagnosed with ADS and previous studies by the team found that younger siblings were more likely to develop ASD if their older siblings had higher levels of ASD traits.

To arrive at their conclusion, the scientists performed Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans on the brains of the younger siblings at 6, 12 and 24 months of age.

The findings from the National Institute of Health shows that It was theorized that amongst the 89 younger siblings who developed ASD,  there were  those whose older sibling had severe ASD traits such as surface area of the cerebrum, which controls speech, thought, emotions, reading, writing, and learning; larger surface area in the part of the visual cortex important for recognizing objects; and less mature connections in the splenium, which connects the brain’s left and right visual cortices that plays a vital role in visual attention.

Commission Calls For Investment In Nigeria’s Blood Services

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Commission calls for investment in Nigeria’s blood services
National Blood Service Commission stamp logo

The National Blood Service Commission (NBSC) has called for a more robust Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the blood services for improve availability of safe blood in the country.

The Acting Director-General of the commission, Dr Omale Amedu, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday, to celebrate the World Blood Donor Day.

The World Blood Donor Day, held annually on June 14, is aimed at raising global awareness on the need for safe blood and blood production for transfusion.

Amedu said investing in blood services would improve the availability of blood and blood products such as whole blood; red cell concentrates; platelets; fresh frozen plasma, cryoprecipitate and others.

He also added that it would also provide avenue for the production of plasma-derived medicinal products (PDMP), which can also be sold within and outside the country.

“The aspect of ensuring safe blood for Nigerians cannot be complete without the private sector.

“So we need them to invest in providing blood services not just as whole blood, but as blood products and plasma derived products.

“These products are products that are sold as drugs. This aspect is business oriented.

“Investors who are able to put together good initiative can go into the business, where they can separate blood into its components and produce drugs like antigen, haemoglobin and several others.

“All these are sold not just in the local market, but international market as well.

” And the federal government will collaborate with anyone who is interested through Public Private Partnership (PPP) to ensure they fully establish this venture and make profit out of it,” the acting D-G said.

According to him, the commission’s mandate was to regulate, coordinate and ensure the provision of safe blood and blood products.

He, therefore, appealed for more voluntary unpaid donors to donate blood to save lives, improve their health status and increase the nation’s blood bank.

“Our target is to ensure that blood units collected will increase from the present 25,000 to one million by 2023 and three million by 2030,” Amedu said.

The director-general further described blood donation as an act of solidarity and urged Nigerians to join the effort to save lives.

He said that the act highlights the critical contributions voluntary, unpaid blood donors make to national health systems.

WHO to Rename Monkeypox, Publishes Guideline on Vaccination

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World Health Organisation (WHO) says it is working with partners on renaming Monkeypox and its variants, and also to put in place a mechanism to help share available vaccines, more equitably, as the need arises.

WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, disclosed this at a news conference on Tuesday in Geneva.

He said WHO had published guidelines on vaccination against Monkeypox and also published recommendations for governments regarding case detection and control of the disease.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva, WHO Smallpox expert, Dr Rosamund Lewis, said it was crucial to raise awareness in the population about the level of risk and explain the recommendations to avoid infecting close contacts and family members.

Lewis explained that although the disease sometimes only produced mild symptoms, such as skin lesions, it could be contagious for two to four weeks

“We know that it is very difficult for people to isolate themselves for so long, but it is very important to protect others.

“In most cases, people can self-isolate at home and there is no need to be in the hospital,” she said.

Monkeypox is transmitted through close physical contact with someone who has symptoms.

The rash, fluids, and scabs are especially infectious. Clothing, bedding, towels, or objects such as eating utensils or dishes that have been contaminated with the virus can also infect others.

However, it is not clear whether people who do not have symptoms can spread the disease, the expert reiterated.

While some countries have maintained strategic supplies of older smallpox vaccines – a virus eradicated in 1980 – these first-generation vaccines held in national stockpiles are not recommended for Monkeypox at this time.

This is because they do not meet the current safety and manufacturing standards.

Newer and safer (second and third generation) smallpox vaccines are also available, some of which may be useful for Monkeypox and one of which (MVA-BN) has been approved for the prevention of the disease.

According to the UN health agency, the supply of these new vaccines is limited, and access strategies are being discussed.

“At this time, the WHO does not recommend mass vaccination.

“Decisions about the use of smallpox or Monkeypox vaccines should be based on a full assessment of the risks and benefits in each case,” the guidelines indicate.

For the contacts of sick patients, post-exposure prophylaxis with a second- or third-generation vaccine is recommended, ideally within four days of first exposure to prevent disease onset.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis is recommended for healthcare workers at risk, laboratory personnel working with orthopoxviruses, clinical laboratory personnel performing diagnostic tests for Monkeypox, and others who may be at risk.

Lewis explained that most of the data on the smallpox vaccine was old or from animal studies. “There aren’t a lot of [current] clinical studies,” she said.

WHO underlined the importance of vaccination programme being supported by comprehensive surveillance and contact tracing, and accompanied by information campaigns and robust “pharmacovigilance”, ideally with collaborative studies on vaccine efficacy.

Donate Blood on Your Special Days, Haematologist Tells Nigerians

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Donate Blood on Your Special Days, Haematologist Urges Nigerians
Unveiling of the BloodHup App by dignitaries at the symposium.

 

Consultant Haematologist. Prof. Vincent Osunkalu, has appealed to Nigerians to choose their special days like birthdays, wedding ceremonies, house warmings, and others to bridge the gap in the national blood bank by donating blood voluntarily on these days.

Prof. Osunkalu, who works at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), decried the perennial acute shortage of blood at every emergency in the country, saying the only solution to this frequent unavailability of blood is for Nigerians to cultivate the habit of donating blood regularly, especially during their special days, which gives them a sense of fulfillment in saving lives.

The haematologist, in an exclusive interview with Pharmanewsonline on Tuesday, averred that if only one per cent of Nigerians, which is about 2.4 million people decide to donate blood regularly, the national blood bank will never be short of blood at any time, and this will go a long way in saving lives across the country, whether in public or private practice.

Speaking on the theme of the 2022 World Blood Donor Day, which is “Donating blood is an act of solidarity. Join the effort and save lives”, he said the day is usually commemorated on every 14 June, to draw attention to the roles that voluntary blood donations play in saving lives and enhancing solidarity within communities.

As one of the keynote speakers at the World Blood Donor Day Symposium & BloodHub App unveiling organised by the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Osunkalu countered the widespread notion that blood donation kills, saying it is totally wrong, as empirical findings have validated the benefits of blood donation to the human system.

He enumerated some of the health benefits of regular blood donation to include lower risk of high blood pressure, less risk of cancer, better emotional balance, less risk of depression, reduction in harmful iron stored in the body, less risk of heart attack, among others.

The medical specialist however condemned the act of commercialising blood donation, saying the price of blood can’t be qualified because blood is life. “The amount hospitals charged for blood transfusion can’t be compared to the value of blood, because no one can pay for life. The charges are merely for screening blood and other logistics”.

Asked about how many units of blood generated annually in the country, he said there is paucity of data regarding that, as he charged the government to establish central blood data base which will aggregates all units of blood generated in public and private practice in the country.

Prior to the unveiling of the BloodHub App invented by Dr Olufemi S. Amoo, in collaboration with Co-creation Hub, he established the need to leverage technology in the blood donation process, saying it makes the whole process more efficient, acceptable, faster, cheaper and he real time.

With the huge population of Nigeria which is over 216 millions, he emphasised that the role of such digital applications cannot be overemphasised in the process of blood donation.

PPP, Evidence-Based Solution to Pandemic – ICS

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International College of Surgeons (ICS) has identified Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the health industry as an evidence-based solution to ameliorate the effect of global pandemic.
Dr Ibrahim Wada, Medical Director, Nisa Premier Hospital and Nisa groups, said this at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the International College of Surgeons, Nigeria Section, while delivering the 14th Eruchalu Memorial Lecture on Monday in Abuja.
In his paper, tagged “The role of Public Private Partnership Value-Chains in Improving Healthcare Services in Nigeria during COVID-19 pandemic,” Wada described the pressure brought by COVID-19 on health system globally as enormous.
Wada explained that the PPP arrangements secured the needed cold chains and rapid movement of goods and services to the required places.
The partnership, according to him, helped in ameliorating the rapid growth of the pandemic as well as reduction in mortality rates.
The theme of the conference is “Global COVID-19 Pandemic: Effects on Safe Surgical Services, Training and Research”.
Wada said that through PPP arrangements and collaboration of all and sundry, the nation was able to mitigate the disruptions caused by the pandemic in the system.
He identified the disruptions and inadequacies in the country’s health system due to the pandemic to include disruptions at the level of patients, hospital services, supply chains and availability of manufactured goods.
Wada defined PPP as a cooperative venture between the public and private sectors, built on the expertise of each partner that best meets clearly-defined needs through the appropriate allocation of resources, risks and rewards.
“In the healthcare provider environment, it became rapidly apparent that there were acute shortages of isolation wards and intensive care facilities.
“Evidence of PPP which is collaboration emerged quickly whereby philanthropic organisations put up isolation centres and provided Intensive Care Unit (ICU) spaces in support of government efforts to contain the pandemic.
“The government provided the lands, policies and license while the private organisations provided funds, buildings, personnel, training and equipment,” he noted.
Wada further said that the private sector supported government hospitals to be able to float ICU facilities with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), facemask, ventilators and volunteer personnel.
Wada, who decried the dearth of testing centres in the wake of the pandemic, said the gap resulted in several days of delays to obtain test results, referral and individual apathy.
According to him, this gap was also closed through PPP as private testing centres were licensed by the government to complement what it had and this eased testing delays and allowed for quicker diagnosis.
“There is no doubt that the licensing of private labs, working in collaboration with government committees, the NCDC and  Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, eased the delays in obtaining results and improved treatment outcome for patients.
“Also on vaccines production, foreign manufactured vaccines were obtained through COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to vaccines.
“This was directed by GAVI vaccine alliance, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO alongside key delivery partner UNICEF”.
He added “the critical collaboration aided the unprecedented large-scale distribution of the vaccines among others,” he said.
Wada, who frowned at the death of 20 Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) members due to patients affected by the pandemic, blamed the number on inadequate testing and screening.
According to him, had the public-private cooperation in the management of the pandemic started early enough, perhaps more lives would have been saved.
He, however, called for local production of vaccines as well as medical implements and consumables like PPE, medication and hand gloves.
Wada emphasised “this can be best achieved if the government enters into PPP arrangements with relevant manufacturers as quickly as possible.”

World Blood Donor Day: Donating One Unit of Blood Can Save Three Lives -WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that donating just one unit of blood can save the lives of up to three patients.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said this in a message to commemorate the 2022 World Blood Donor Day, celebrated every June 14.

“This year’s theme, `Donating blood is an act of solidarity. Join the effort and save lives.

“The day highlights the critical role of voluntary blood donations in saving lives, and enhancing community solidarity and social cohesion.

“Donating just one unit of blood can save the lives of up to three patients,” Moeti said.

According to her, the global community marks the day to focus on the gift of life from voluntary unpaid blood donors around the world.

“On this day I urge African governments and political leaders to prioritize the provision of adequate human and financial resources to secure the future of national blood transfusion services.

“A blood service that gives patients access to safe blood and blood products, in sufficient quantities, is a key component of an effective health system,’’ she said.

Moeti said that the organization in the African Region, joined the call for more people to become regular blood donors.

She said compared to other regions globally, the African Region saw a disproportionate number of conditions requiring donor blood, impacting as many as seven million patients every year.

“Examples include hemorrhage associated with pregnancy and childbirth, severe anemia due to malaria and malnutrition, bone marrow and inherited blood disorders, trauma and accidents, as well as man-made and natural disasters.

“While the need for donor blood is universal, access for everyone who needs it is not,’’ she said.

Moeti said in the African Region, demand regularly outstripped supply negatively, impacting timely access for all patients who needed safe and quality-assured blood to save their lives.

“As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, voluntary unpaid blood donations dropped significantly. Malawi, for example, registered a 46 per cent decrease in donations,’’ she said.

Moeti said that countries across the African Region worked hard to improve blood donation frequency, and the situation was showing signs of stabilizing.

She said that blood transfusion services in many countries reached out to blood donors through public awareness campaigns, transporting donors from and to their homes, using digital platforms and establishing call centers.

“The situation remains challenging, and it is exacerbated by issues such as staff shortages and limited funding from governments and partner organizations for effective blood donor education, recruitment, and retention,’’ Moeti said.

According to her, as WHO in the African Region, “we provide support to countries at various levels, including resource mobilization for the implementation of national blood transfusion plans”.

She said others were advocacy for integrating blood safety in the plans and strengthening the legal and regulatory framework for blood safety.

“Seeking out opportunities for partnerships and collaborations with media, the private sector, faith-based and non-governmental organizations will help increase the recruitment and retention of voluntary unpaid blood donors.

“I want to sincerely thank Africa’s blood donors for their selfless contribution to national health systems, through this life-saving gift to patients who need transfusion therapy.

“I want to acknowledge the tireless efforts of blood services staff who are deeply committed to maintaining critical blood supplies.

“Also, the research and development professionals pursuing new technologies and uses for donated blood, as well as the medical teams who use blood rationally to save lives,” Moeti said.

According to her, “by becoming a blood donor, you will help ease the pressure on health systems still struggling under the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic”. (NAN)

Success in Salesmanship is about Strategy, not about Relatives

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Brian Tracy- endorsed speaker and training consultant
George O. Emetuche

“Try not to become a person of success, but try to become a person of value.” – Albert Einstein”.

Build your business around professionalism, value delivery and consistency. I talk a lot to entrepreneurs, sales professionals, startups and businesspeople. When I have the opportunity to interact with this set of people, I tell them that success in business or sales is about being professional, delivering value in your offerings, and being consistent in pursuing your vision, mission and goals. This is my simple formula for success in professional life. It works for everyone in business and career life. When you sell as a salesperson, ensure you go with the formula.

Sell everywhere within your market
One of the reasons sales professionals fail is because they sell the right products and services in the wrong market. Some salespeople think that going to places they know someone is the only way to sell their products. Sell everywhere within your target market!
Once you are sure of your products and services, the next thing to do is to take it to the right market. The right market is a function of the right buyers and users. The right buyers are people who need your products and can pay for them. The right users are people who know about your products through sales presentation or by marketing activities.

Your duty as a sales professional is to attract customers, retain customers and expand customers. You attract customers by winning new customers. You retain customers by finding smart and productive ways to ensure you keep them when they are attracted. You expand customers by creatively bringing new customers to the fold. This is your first assignment as productive sales professional.

Relatives and friends may not necessarily buy from you

Do you think that friends and relatives must buy from you always? This may not be so. If it is so, sales won’t be tough!

Don’t just depend on the assumption that people you know must patronise you. It’s another form of entitlement mentality to think this way. Don’t get me wrong, please. I want my people to buy from me. It’s beautiful when we sell to relatives, umunna, schoolmates, neighbours, village people, and so on. But the truth is that 80 percent of your friends and people close to you may not patronise your products or business.
I have done several informal studies to confirm my take on this issue. Ask startups and businesspeople to confirm this position. Going into the reasons relatives and friends are not buying from you is a topic for another day.

Let me say that the Pareto Principle applies here too. In your sales activities as a sales professional, know that 80 percent of your sales will come from 20 percent of productive business relationships you developed overtime and not necessarily from family members, classmates and neighbours.

A Facebook friend, who is an author, once posted on Facebook that if 50 percent of his friends bought his books on social media, he would become a success story. I think I agree with him.

I have since learnt that you must expand your circle if you want to be successful in your business or career. You must develop good products and services and reach out to people who will need them. You must create value. You must be outstanding. Attaining excellence is by taking action. This is my belief pattern.

Make giving value an attitude
I believe that the more value you give as a professional, the more you expand your opportunities to receive value. This is what I teach in negotiation skills. Take value along everywhere you go. People flock around folks who bring VALUE!

I don’t believe in doing nothing and waiting for people to patronise my business. We do our best to create value within our target market. We target the right market and sell value to them. This is the way not to notice whether relatives or friends are buying from you or not.
In my book, The 25 Unbreakable Laws of Sales, The 17th Law says: ‘’Some Doors Are Walls, Some Walls Are Doors.’’ This may seem deep but let me explain it a little. Some doors are walls when we believe that our products and services will sell in a place – because we have contacts there; only to be disappointed, for one reason or the other. Some walls could be doors when we succeed in places we know no one.

This is why I tell sales professionals to take their products and services to everywhere within their target market. Show customers and prospects in your market the benefits in your products and services. This is the productive and smart way to sell. It wins all the time.
I have been a sales professional for over 25 years to conclude that success in sales and salesmanship are about strategy. The rule I promote is: SHOW PEOPLE WHY THEY SHOULD BUY YOUR PRODUCT – whether you are selling to your friends or enemies. If you can show them reasons to buy, and the reasons are convincing enough, they will buy and buy again.
Don’t depend so much on relatives or friends. Be a hard working and creative professional who discovers the right market for his or her products and services.

George O. Emetuche, CES, is the convener, Nigeria Sales Conference.
Buy books by George O. Emetuche from popular bookshops near you: Roban Stores nationwide, Alpha Pharmacy and Stores, Jumia; and E-books on: Amazon, Okadabooks, Kobo, and Bambooks. Reach us today on 07060559429 for productive training of your Sales Team. www.thesellingchampionconsulting.com.

ALPs Awards Scholarship to Secondary School Students

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-Organises 15th Biennial National Conference in Style

 

ALPs Awards Scholarship to Secondary School Students
Presentation of the First Prize to the winning school, Ikeja Senior Grammar School, by outgoing ALPS National Chairman, Mrs Victoria Ukwu, after the Quiz Competition.

It was indeed a great sight to behold at the Lagos Country Club recently as students from different secondary schools in Lagos State, displayed academic prowess on different segments of the Interschool Quiz Competition and Award of scholarship, organised by the National Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPs) as part of activities in celebrating the 15th Biennial Annual Conference of the association.

The conference tagged “EKO 2022” with the theme: Pharmaceutical Value Chain for Optimal Utilisation, Where are We?, held at different locations within the state, with the Interschool Quiz Competition/Award of Scholarship as the starting point.

The event, which was widely attended by Lady pharmacists across the country, saw the award of scholarship to four indigent students, which will run till the end of their secondary school education.

Three schools namely Ikeja Senior Grammar School; Community Senior High School and Ikeja Senior High School, emerged first, second and third respectively from the competition, and they were rewarded accordingly.

The first school was given a desktop and the second school got a printer combined with the scanner while the third school got a public address system and cash prizes. Consolation prizes were also given to other participants such as sanitation materials among other gifts.

In an interview with the National Chairman, ALPS, Pharm (Mrs) Victoria Ukwu, she noted the interest of the association in girl-child education and empowerment, saying the group is currently sponsoring a child from each zone due to limited funds.

ALPs Awards Scholarship to Secondary School Students
Presentation of the Second Prize to the first runner up, Community Senior High School by outgoing ALPS National Chairman, Mrs Victoria Ukwu, in the company of Chairman, Conference Planning Committee, Dr Monica Eimunjeze; Chairman, Lagos State ALPS, Pharm(Dr) Afusat Adesina, and others Alpians after the Quiz Competition.

According to her “ ALPs has instituted an ALPs Education Fund for daughters of indigent widows and orphans in the six geopolitical zones of the federation”. She listed the names of the students, as she called for massive support of the Foundation by members of the public.

Also speaking with the ALPs Lagos Branch Chairman, Dr Afusat Adeshina, she explained the essence of the quiz competition, which was set up to fulfill the vision of the association in reaching out to schools on drug use advocacy.

She said:” We normally visit schools, do moral campaigns on drug usage and abuse, career development, environmental hygiene, but we decided to use the schools around ikeja, the venue of our conference, Radisson Blu Hotel and brought out all the schools in that environment for the quiz competition.

“ALPs national body also awarded scholarship to four indigent students and the scholarship runs till the end of their secondary school”.

As the quiz competition was brought to a close, the chairman welcomed all delegates to the years’ conference as she appreciated every lady pharmacists that contributed to the success of quiz competition .

Dialogue on Vaccine Production to Receive Boost at NAIP Conference

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…As Eko 2022 kicks off Tuesday June 14

Dialogue on Vaccine Production to Receive Boost at NAIP Conference
L-R: Vice-Chairman, Conference Organising Committee, Pharm.Kunle Ademola; National Chairman, NAIP, Pharm. Ken Onuegbu; Chairman, Conference Organising Committee, Pharm. Bankole Ezebuilo and Pharm. Emeka Ndinechi during the press briefing preceding NAIP 25th Annual National Conference, held in Lagos on Friday.

As the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) looks forward to hold its Annual National Conference tagged Eko 2022, the National Chairman of the association, Pharm. Ken Onuegbu, has said discussion on vaccine production and intervention will be given priority.

Pharm. Onuegbu said this on Friday at a press briefing preceding the 25th National Annual Conference of the association, held in Lagos; saying the conference was scheduled to proffer workable solutions to the challenges facing the industrial sub -sector of the nation’s pharmaceutical industry.

According to Onuegbu, the conference will hold at Providence Hotel, 12a, Oba Akinjobi Way, Ikeja, Lagos from Tuesday 14 June to Thursday 16 June, 2022 and the theme of the conference is “The Roles Of Industrial Pharmacists In A Depressed Economy: Opportunities, Challenges And Solutions In Providing Essential Drugs”. The Keynote Speaker for the conference is the Chairman/CEO, Juhel Pharma Nig. Ltd., Pharm.(Dr) Ifeanyi Okoye.

He noted that there will be a welcome cocktail in the evening of Tuesday 14 June, 2022.

According to the National Chairman, the theme of the conference was chosen because of the importance of medicine and job security in every country in which Nigeria can never be an exception. He said “Nigeria faced a lot of challenges when COVID-19 pandemic broke out, but in the midst of these challenges, what is supposed to be the roles of pharmacists in ensuring medicine security in the country? One of our top entrepreneurs, Dr Okoye will do justice to the topic during the opening ceremony”.

The main conference, which is scheduled for Wednesday 15 June is expected to be chaired by the Past president of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), who is also the Chairman, Evans Baroque Pharma Ltd., Pharm. Ahmed I. Yakassai.

Other sub-theme for the conference, are “Professional Collaboration and Coordination as a Panacea to Industrial Growth”; Technology Regulation and Data Centricity in Strengthening Local Capacity as Pharma Industries Evolve, Napa-Naip Example”, and “The Role Of Pharmacists in Vaccine Interventions”.

Pharm. Onuegbu also explained that the speaker for the plenary sessions are VC Nnamdi Azikwe University, Anambra, Prof. Okey Esimone; MD, Impact Pharmaceutical Ltd., Pharm. Jasper Onyeka and the Chairman/CEO,  Anchor Healthcare Ltd., Pharm. Steve Onya. The CEO Neitherland Business School, Lagos, Professor Lere Baale is expected to be the lead discussion.

There will be another interesting plenary session, said Onuegbu, where NAFDAC, CBN, Custom as well as NDLEA, among other stakeholders will have a round table discussion. And in the evening of that same Thursday, there will be closing dinner.

“It’s going to be three days of interesting events. Vaccine production and intervention will also receive good attention, because we have identified big gap in that area. One of our erudite resource person, will do justice to the subject. The PSN President, Professor Cyril Usifoh is the chief host of the event”, Pharm. Onuegbu said.

Corroborating the National Chairman’s remark, the Chairman of the conference organising committee, Pharm. Bankole Ezebuilo, said the event promises to be exciting, pointing that measures have been put in place to ensure that the event meets the various reasons people attend conference, which according to him, could be for relaxation, for connection, for knowledge acquisition among others.

“We are going to have social night which is meant for relaxation. We don’t want the conference to be too boring with academic papers, so we have lined up interludes and different plenaries to spice up the event. We have put things in place to cater for reasons people may want to attend the conference and I am sure anybody that attend the event for one reason or the other will be happy that his reason for attending is met”, Ezebuilo said.

He expressed optimism that the outcome of the event will cause a positive change in the industry, saying measures have been put in place to ensure that working paper for a favorable policy that will benefit the industry will be generated from the conference.

NAPharm Holds Retreat to Prepare Pharmacy for Future

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NAPharm Holds Retreat to Prepare Pharmacy for Future
NAPharm executives and participants at the retreat in a group photograph.

 

As part of efforts in living up to its creed, as a foremost catalyst of growth and development of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPharm) recently staged a two- day retreat to prepare the Pharmacy profession and the pharmaceutical industry for a better future.

According to the President of the academy, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adelusyi, the retreat, which was attended by major stakeholders in the Pharmacy space, was organised after a similar programme scheduled to hold in year 2020 was put on hold by the academy due to COVID-19 pandemic.

“A little over two years after a pandemic forced us to put on hold the programme which the academy had been planning on a review of pharmaceutical education in Nigeria, we have returned to the visioning table. The objective? To prepare our profession for a future, which as the COVID-19 pandemic has so palpably demonstrated, is in such a state of flux that is almost impossible to imagine”, the president said.

He noted that such retreat becomes imperative for every profession that focuses on the future to carry out dispassionate self-examination, review past and present as well as the assessment of what the future holds. He said “If we must correctly imbibe the lessons that today’s development possibly underscore for the future, then we must eschew ego and emotion and dispassionately seek a pathway into a future that will best guarantee a win-win for mankind and our profession”.

Prince Adelusi-Adeluyi noted that the academy is known over the years as a front-runner in the advocacy for enhanced government and policy-making which focus on pharmaceutical research and scientific research in general. He stated that the efforts of the academy at various fronts are well documented, adding that the academy will continue to drive the process that foster interprofessional collaboration between medical and pharmaceutical professionals.

The NAPharm president expressed optimism that the retreat will not be a one off. He said “We hope that every few years, we should be able to re-assemble to re-examine our circumstances and how well we are positioning our profession for the future”. Prince Adelusi- Adeluyi posited that the wellbeing and the direction that Pharmacy profession is going should the concern of every professional.

Speaking earlier in his welcome address, Pharmanews Publisher, who was the chairman, Retreat Planning Committee, Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi, said NAPharm has considered it expedient to pool together stakeholders from various sections of Pharmacy to deeply reflect on the current position of Pharmacy and the desired direction the profession should be going. The octogenarian also pointed out that the public perception of pharmacists and how to improve it should be a subject that every pharmacist should always think about so as to take the Pharmacy profession in Nigeria to greater height.

Sir Atueyi, welcomed members to the historical facility of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, Yaba, from where the early pharmacists were trained as chemists & druggists up to 1956. According to him, pharmaceutical education metamorphosed to Diploma of the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology Ibadan from 1957 and then the Diploma of the University of Ife, Ibadan Branch up to 1965. The Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm) of the University of Ife, Ile Ife, started in 1962 at the Ibadan Campus.

He said, “The early medical doctors were also trained in the Yaba Medical School which was founded in 1930. The NAFDAC laboratory also started in this location. The pharmaceutical manufacturing laboratory that served the basic needs of government hospitals was also in this premises. The office of the Registrar of the Pharmacists Board of Nigeria (now Pharmacists Council of Nigeria) started from this place also. This venue is the cradle of pharmaceutical and medical education and thanked God for bringing us back to the ancestral home of Pharmacy in Nigeria”.

Goodwill messages were received from the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN), National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).

The Retreat functioned in six major subcommittees namely:  Pharmacy Situation Report (SITREP); Education;  Professional Practice; Regulatory; Mentoring; and Leadership chaired by  Prof. Cyril Usifoh; Pharm. Prof. Isa Marte Hussaini; Pharm. Olumide Akintayo, Pharm. (Dr) NAE Mohammed; Pharm. Olu Akanmu and Pharm. (Chief) Paul Enebeli respectively.

Participants comprised pharmacists from various sectors – Deans of Schools of Pharmacy, hospitals, community practice, industry, pharmacy students, young pharmacists group, ministries of health, West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP), PSN,  PCN,  NAFDAC, NIPRD, SON, and Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA) represented by the President, Dr Teresa Pounds.

Meet Pharm. Aderemi Olayinka Omotosho, our June Personality

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Meet Pharm. Aderemi Olayinka Omotosho, our June Personality
Pharm. Aderemi Olayinka Omotosho

A native of Awe in Oyo State, Pharm. Aderemi Olayinka Omotosho was born in Lagos State in 1973 into the family of Asiwaju Theophilus Adebowale Omotosho. He had his early education at Command Secondary School, Ikeja, and the Nigerian Military School Zaria, Kaduna State, respectively. This foundation prepared him for a lifestyle of Spartan discipline.

He later proceeded to Nigeria’s premier university, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, where he graduated with honours from the Faculty of Pharmacy. He also had his MBA from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), 0gbomosho, Oyo State.

Omotosho started his professional career at Mopson Pharmaceutical Limited, Lagos. He later joined Bond Chemical Industries Limited in 2000, where his unparalleled dedication to duties ultimately made him to assume the position of managing director in 2005. Under his leadership, the company has grown in all measurement areas as one of the major indigenous pharmaceutical industries in Nigeria.

Omotosho’s commitment to excellence in pharmaceutical manufacturing is evident in the arrays of products by Bond Chemical Industries. As an astute businessman, the customer base, scope of operation and assets of the company have been on an upward increase every year. It is worthy of note that under him, the company has shown consistent commitment to a high standard of manufacturing, making it one of the indigenous companies that pioneered the production of quality yet affordable ethical pharmaceutical products that are readily available.

Significantly, the company is the only indigenous pharma company producing Hydroxyurea at a subsidised rate for the management of sickle cell disorder. Also, under him, the company in its quest to meet international standards and attain global best practices in pharma manufacturing has commissioned its newly constructed WHO standard factory.

Omotosho is an active member of PSN, NAIP, PMG-MAN, and NACCIMA, and has attended various local and international conferences, seminars, workshops and exhibitions. His commitment to the development of the pharmacy profession in Nigeria includes the following: Year-round internship and NYSC opportunities for pharmacy students and graduates; supporting faculties of pharmacy in various higher institutions; provision of active pharma ingredients for research activities in universities; sponsoring of various programmes of professional pharmacists associations, such as PSN, ACPN, NAIP, and others; sponsorship of pharmacists to both local and international conferences and exhibitions.

As a philanthropist, Omotosho, founded an NGO that has consistently catered for over 400 widows and numerous orphans on monthly and quarterly bases for the past 24 years in the area of provision of shelter, foods, medical aids, and clothing materials; as wells payment of school fees to indigenes of Afijio Local Government, Oyo State.

He is a Fellow of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria and a recipient of distinguished awards from numerous organisations in different areas of endeavour.

Omotosho is married to Mrs Tope Omotosho and they are blessed with children.

 

NGO Launches Toll-Free Hotline for Assistance on Mental Health

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NGO Launches Toll-Free Hotline for Assistance on Mental Health
Mental health

The Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative, an NGO, has launched a toll-free hotline through which people with mental health challenges can contact counsellors or therapists for advice and help.

The Training Coordinator of SURPIN, Ms Titilayo Tade, disclosed this at a news conference in Lagos on Thursday.

She said that the motive was to prevent suicide tendencies and to create an avenue where people with such challenges could speak out and seek help.

Tade explained that the newly launched hotline – 0800 078 7746 – was not to replace the previous fee-paying lines, adding that “the old English and Hausa speaking lines – 09034400009 and 08142241007 are still valid.’’

She said the major complaint of people in the past was usually the charges/fees paid for placing a phone call to SURPIN, saying that the toll-free hotline would provide relief to people with a financial burden.

According to her, the free line will not only help to prevent and reduce suicide cases in the country but also increase access to mental health services, as SURPIN has offices in all states of the federation.

She added that “with the free line, people can easily call in respect of the challenges they are facing at any point and we will give them the necessary counselling or even direct them to an appropriate mental health facility for medical attention.

“In the past, we’ve had calls concerning people on the verge of committing suicide or even people that drink substances to terminate their lives.

But through the calls, SURPIN came in and rescued them.’’

The SURPIN training coordinator identified stress and depression as factors that could lead to suicide if not properly managed.

According to her, suicide and other outcomes of mental ill-health are on the increase in Nigeria.

“We are dealing with a lot of issues in the country; businesses are falling, things are expensive, cash is hard to come by and the basic amenities are lacking, affecting the mental health of many.

“Problems can make people vulnerable to suicide, aggression, violence, and other anti-social behaviours.

“The statistics may not be there, but by observation, people are bottling up their emotions and challenges, instead of speaking out.

“There is a need for people to speak out; let us not be intimidated to bottle up our anxieties, challenges, and frustrations; considering suicide should never be an option for life challenges of any sort.

“We should learn to share our worries, speak out and seek help because a problem shared is half-solved,’’ she said.

Tade emphasised that bottling up emotions and challenges were the highest tendencies that could lead to suicide.

She said that the first line for managing life challenges or depression was counselling and therapy, adding that it could be from family members, friends, religious leaders, and medical experts.

She warned that an individual should not wait until he or she was battered, violated, injured, or close to committing suicide, before seeking help. 

(NAN)

Pandemic: Experts Warn of More Animal Disease Threats

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Monkeypox: Avoid Contacts with Monkeys, Squirrels & Rodents, NCDC Warns

 

With the spread of monkeypox across the world coming hot on the heels of COVID-19, there are fears that increasing outbreaks of diseases that jump from animals to humans could spark another pandemic.

While such diseases – called zoonoses – have been around for millennia, they have become more common in recent decades due to deforestation, mass livestock cultivation, climate change, and other human-induced upheavals in the animal world, experts say.

Other diseases to leap from animals to humans include HIV, Ebola, Zika, SARS, MERS, bird flu, and the bubonic plague.

The World Health Organisation said on Thursday that it is still investigating the origins of Covid, but the “strongest evidence is still around zoonotic transmission”.

And with more than 1,000 monkeypox cases recorded globally over the last month, the UN agency has warned there is a “real” risk the disease could become established in dozens of countries.

The WHO’s emergencies director Michael Ryan said last week that “it’s not just in monkeypox” – the way that humans and animals interact has become “unstable”.

“The number of times that these diseases cross into humans is increasing and then our ability to amplify that disease and move it on within our communities is increasing,” he said.

Monkeypox did not recently leap over to humans – the first human case was identified in DR Congo in 1970 and it has since been confined to areas in Central and Western Africa.

Despite its name, “the latest monkeypox outbreak has nothing to do with monkeys,” said Olivier Restif, an epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge.

While it was first discovered in macaques, “zoonotic transmission is most often from rodents, and outbreaks spread by person-to-person contact,” he told AFP.

 Worse yet to come? 

Around 60 percent of all known human infections are zoonotic, as are 75 percent of all new and emerging infectious diseases, according to the UN Environment Programme.

Restif said the number of zoonotic pathogens and outbreaks have increased in the past few decades due to “population growth, livestock growth and encroachment into wildlife habitats”.

“Wild animals have drastically changed their behaviours in response to human activities, migrating from their depleted habitats,” he said.

“Animals with weakened immune systems hanging around near people and domestic animals is a sure way of getting more pathogen transmission.”

Benjamin Roche, a specialist in zoonoses at France’s Institute of Research for Development, said that deforestation has had a major effect.

“Deforestation reduces biodiversity: we lose animals that naturally regulate viruses, which allows them to spread more easily,” he told AFP.

And worse may be to come, with a major study published earlier this year warning that climate change is ramping the risk of another pandemic.

As animals flee their warming natural habitats they will meet other species for the first time — potentially infecting them with some of the 10,000 zoonotic viruses believed to be “circulating silently” among wild mammals, mostly in tropical forests, the study said.

Greg Albery, a disease ecologist at Georgetown University who co-authored the study, told AFP that “the host-pathogen network is about to change substantially”.

We have to be ready

“We need improved surveillance both in urban and wild animals so that we can identify when a pathogen has jumped from one species to another — and if the receiving host is urban or in close proximity to humans, we should get particularly concerned,” he said.

Eric Fevre, a specialist in infectious diseases at the Britain’s University of Liverpool and the International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya, said that “a whole range of new, potentially dangerous diseases could emerge – we have to be ready”.

This includes “focusing on the public health of populations” in remote environments and “better studying the ecology of these natural areas to understand how different species interact”.

Restif said that there is “no silver bullet – our best bet is to act at all levels to reduce the risk”.

“We need huge investment in frontline healthcare provision and testing capacity for deprived communities around the world so that outbreaks can be detected, identified and controlled without delays,” he said.

On Thursday, a WHO scientific advisory group released a preliminary report outlining what needs to be done when a new zoonotic pathogen emerges.

It lists a range of early investigations into how and where the pathogen jumped to humans, determining the potential risk, as well as longer-term environmental impacts.

(AFP)

NHEA to Organise an Innovative HealthTech Webinar

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Sterling Bank Signs Three-Year Partnership with Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Awards
NHEA Logo

The maiden edition of Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award (NHEA) Webinar will come up on 14 June, 2022. Selected HealthTech startups will also be given opportunity to pitch to investors. This was disclosed recently by the organisers of the Award as part of the pre-event activities to kick off the 8th edition of this annual award ceremony.

The webinar theme is the same as this year’s edition of NHEA2022 – Innovative Healthcare Services in the Era of Change.

In a press statement sent to Pharmanewsonline by the organisers of the Award, Dr Egbe Osifo-Dawodu, principal partner, Anadach Group, spoke on the webinar “Post COVID, the healthcare system worldwide has undergone a paradigm shift and healthcare organisations have been forced to innovate to stay in business. New and updated methods of delivery of healthcare services are also common place. This webinar aims to showcase how innovation has improved healthcare delivery.”

Dr Wale Alabi, NHEA project director says it took a while coming but we are happy that this NHEA pre-event webinar has finally belted. It will be a great platform to interact, intergrate and collaborate with our young and upcoming innovative geeks into the values and benefits of the Award.”

The webinar is expected to present an opportunity for HealthTech promoters to pitch to industry stakeholders in the audience, as well as an opportunity to solicit real time feedback, advice and connect with stakeholders in the health tech ecosystem to encourage further collaboration. NHEA has sent a call for pitches and the screening process will be done by Anadach and Global Health Project and Resources (GHPR).

NHEA is an initiative of Global Health Projects & Resources in collaboration with Anadach Group. The award is an annual event aimed at celebrating individuals and organizations that have contributed to the development of the healthcare sector through innovative, efficient and qualitative healthcare delivery services that have significantly impacted the health and wellbeing of Nigerian citizens at home and abroad.

 

 

SON Seeks Strengthening of Pharmaceutical Sector

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Mr Farouk Salim, the Director-General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), has canvassed for the strengthening of pharmaceutical sector in the country through development of standards that deal with the peculiar problems.

Salim made this call on Thursday while delivering the maiden Public Lecture of the Dora Akunyili College of Pharmacy, Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lecture was themed: “The Impact of Standards on the Practice of Pharmacy Profession”.

The SON boss said the call became necessary as standards in pharmaceutical sector is crucial given its role in the care of the sick.

“It is the existence of standards that assures the safety of lives and properties as they establish boundaries and advocate responsibilities.

“In addition, the pharmacy practice in its entirety both in the clinical and industrial practice has tolerance for error as derived from standards,” he said.

Salim, who is also a pharmacist, regretted that only three per cent of the drugs in the Nigerian market are produced locally.

“In spite of the great potential for the pharmaceutical industry in Africa with increasing urbanisation, healthcare capacity and supportive business environment as the major drivers of the Africa pharmaceutical market, 95 per cent of all medicines produced in Africa are imported with only three per cent being produced locally,” he said.

Salim noted, however, that SON given its statutory function as the facilitator and enabler of standards and Secretariat of the Standards Council of Nigeria, was critical for the survival of the country’s industrial sector.

In his opening remark, Prof. Lawrence Ezemonye, Vice-Chancellor of the university, said the event signposted the commitment of the institution to scholastic engagements and community services aimed at strengthening its relationship with society.

Ezemonye said the management of the university recently awarded a grant of N2.5 million for the College of Pharmacy for research and drugs development.

The vice-chancellor announced that the college’s Cancer and Reproductive Research Group is currently working on development of therapeutics useful in easing labour, reducing postpartum haemorrhage and reduction in mother/child mortality/morbidity. (NAN)

 

Council Seals 25,000 Illegal Pharmaceutical Premises – Registrar

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Defeat of NAPPTON Bill proves healthcare professionals can collectively transform health sector – PCN registrar
Image of the PCN logo

The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has sealed up no fewer than 25,000 illegal pharmaceutical premises in eight years.

Dr Elijah Mohammed, Registrar of the council, made this known on the sidelines of the Public Presentation of his Scorecard on Wednesday in Abuja.

Mohammed said the premises were sealed due to poor documentation, poor hygienic environment, non regularisation of papers and inappropriate and unethical behavior or conduct.

The registrar said “the scorecard is an account of my stewardship as registrar of PCN from June 2014 to June 2022.

He further disclosed that before he was appointed eight years ago, there were 17 pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences faculties in the country, however, eight years after, the number of faculties have increased to 30, some will kick-start in the next few months.

“The illegal pharmaceutical premises that we closed down within the past eight years are over 2,5000 across the federation.

“They were closed down due to various reasons including poor hygienic environment, poor documentation, improper regularization of papers and improper behaviours in the shops and premises,” he stressed.

Speaking on achievements he said the PCN is in charge of the control and regulation of the pharmacy education, training and practice.

“In education, we have been able to put in place a new programme which is Doctor of pharmacy which combine both clinical and non-clinical concept of pharmacy practice.

“Before now, the practice was product focused, but now it is patient focused. What that means is that whether you are in production, sale, distribution or dispensing of drugs, the patient is the focus and what impact it is going to have on our patient and with that concern, everybody is sitting up now to ensure that whatever product is coming out, the patient is paramount.”

Mohammed further noted that some of the challenges the PCN was confronted with within the past eight years were that human resources and infrastructure.

“We don’t have enough human resources, two; is infrastructure, we don’t have enough vehicles to go round to monitor and carry out enforcement across the community,” he noted.

He, however, applauded regulatory agencies including NAFDAC, the Nigeria Police Force and the others for their cooperation and support over the years.

“The Federal Ministry of Health have been very wonderful in our operations. They have been giving us all the policy support. The judiciary has also been supportive in terms of dispatch of cases,” he said.

On his part, the Chairman of the PCN, Prof. Ahmed Mora, applauded the outgoing Registrar for putting together the scorecard saying that his efforts in mobilizing development partners to support the activities of the Council made the difference.

While describing Mohammed as a very lucky person, Prof Mora, said: “One of the many things that he excelled as Registrar is his relationship with Development Partners.

“The capacity building programmes initiated by these partners have been wonderful. Indeed, the Development Partners were to some extent deeply immersed in the implementation of the mandates of the Registry.

“Today’s programme, which is with the full support of Society for Family Health (SFH) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is one of such commendable collaborations for which the Council is very appreciative.” (NAN)

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