People Living with NCDs Task Pharma Manufacturers on Inclusion

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Pharm. Kingsley Aguoru, COO, Colexa Biosensor (5th from right); Mrs Timi Edwin, editor-in- chief, PLWNCDs Newsletter (6th from right); Mr Abiola Awe, advisor, PLWNCDs Newsletter (2nd from left); and other members of the group.

Towards ensuring optimal and inclusive care for all Nigerians, the editorial board members of People Living with Non-Communicable Diseases (PLWNCDs) Newsletter have charged local drug manufacturers on inclusion of Nigerians living with NCDs  on their teams. They also the manufacturers to develop policies that foster destigmatisation of such persons.

They observed with displeasure that most drug companies embark on design and production of new products for the management of their conditions without sampling their opinions for acceptability, preferred choice of colour, taste and packaging for the products. They noted that these factors are crucial in influencing patients’ adherence to the products, and consequently ensure positive outcomes.

The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s list of NCDs includes heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung diseases, which account for 74 per cent of mortality globally. NCDs disproportionately affect people in low- and middle-income countries, where more than three quarters of global NCD deaths (31.4 million) occur.

Nigeria, like many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, is experiencing an epidemiological transition, with a rising burden of NCDs, with prevalence of 30 per cent deaths, as findings from BMC Public Health indicated.

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Members of the group during a facility tour at the Colexa Biosensor.

Aware of these grim statistics, and seeking urgent change, PLWNCDs Editorial Board members in a courtesy visit to the Colexa Biosensor, a sister company to an African health technology company, Codix Pharma Ltd, urged the management team to embrace inclusivity in all ramifications as a means of boosting its brands image among people living with NCDs.

The Editor-in- Chief, PLWNCDs Newsletter, Mrs Timi Edwin, in a chat with the Chief Operating Officer, Colexa Biosensor, Pharm. Kingsley Aguoru, underscored the essence of the pharma company and others in liasing with persons living with the conditions which their products address, saying this will enhance acceptability and affordability among patients.

Edwin, who is living with sickle-cell anaemia, pointed out that identification of manufacturers with patients will foster a win-win situation for both parties, stressing that it will create greater awareness for brands, while meeting patients’ needs effectively.

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Also speaking with the Colexa Director, another member of the group, Osarenkhoe Ethel Chima-Nwogwugwu, emphasised the need for manufacturers to formulate a policy that destigamatise persons living with NCDs. She said such should provide a certain percentage of employment for such people as a way of relieving their economic burden, and improving their health outcomes.

Chima-Nwogwugwu, who is living with diabetes and a pioneer member of WHO Global Diabetes Compact Forum, lamented how many NCDs patients have been out of jobs due to their health conditions. This, she said, negates the principles of Global Charter for People Living with NCDs, as she urged Colexa to embrace the charter.

Mr Michael Uchunor, a stroke survivor, who is also a member of the PLWNCDs Editorial Board, asked why the glucometer’s brand name “On point”, is different from the company’s name, as the norm with many companies.

In his response, the Chief Operating Officer, Colexa Biosensor, Pharm. Kingsley Aguoru, acknowledged the difference, saying it was strategically planned to ingrain the product’s name on patients mind.

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“There are two ways to recognise a company. There are companies that you recognise by their name, and there are companies that you recognise by their product.

“Sometimes the product is even more popular as a brand, than the company itself. So if you say Coca-Cola, the one that you drink, everybody is Coca-Cola. But nobody knows that the manufacturer is called Nigerian Bottling Company.

“But you are likely to recognise the name of the company by the brand of the product. We don’t even want you to know the name of Colexa. We want you to know the name of the glucometer is “On point”, Aguoru disclosed.

Speaking on the mission of the company, which is into the local assemblage of glucometers and strips, he noted that the first objective is to reduce the quantity of imported glucometers into Nigeria, by creating adequate market for their available stock of 13 million strips.

 

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