COVID-19 pandemic aggravated challenge posed by substandard drugs – NAFDAC

The Director-General, National Agency for Foods, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor Moji Christiana Adeyeye, has stated that the advent of COVID-19 pandemic aggravated the problem with the challenge posed by substandard and fake Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).

Prof Adeyeye made the declaration on Tuesday at a stakeholders’ meeting held in Bauchi.

Despite the challenge, she reassured Nigerians that NAFDAC under her watch would not leave any stone unturned in its concerted efforts to rid the country of the menace of fake medical products, unwholesome food, harmful cosmetics, poorly packaged water and other substandard regulated products.

The NAFDAC DG noted that a well-informed, sensitised and educated citizenry is the bedrock of effective regulation, particularly in the fight against consumption of uncertified and regulated food and drug items.

She added that it was in view of this that the regulatory body embarked on a public awareness campaign in order to promote and protect Nigerians’ health.

According to Adeyeye, “Public awareness campaign is one of the veritable regulatory mechanisms put in place by NAFDAC to promote and protect the health of our people.

“That is why today’s event is another major milestone in our bid to protect Nigerians against the deleterious effects of unwholesome food, falsified medical products, harmful cosmetics, poor water and other substandard regulated products.”

Represented by NAFDAC’s the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Pharmacist Fori Tatama, the DG informed that the Agency’s sensitisation campaigns would contribute significantly to Federal Government’s concerted efforts to inform, sensitise, educate and alert Nigerians to inherent dangers of intake and use of those spurious unregulated products.

She said that the key objective of NAFDAC sensitisation programme was to intensify and expand the scope of the Agency’s informal and formal behavioural change communication strategies in order to reach the vulnerable communities, especially at the grassroots, saying that, “dissemination of food and drug safety information is an important aspect of our regulatory work.”

Adeyeye drew the attention of people to the dangers of buying medicines from hawkers and advised that they should ensure that they always buy medicines from only licensed pharmacies and medicine stores.

She then lamented the increasing abuse of Codeine and self-medication, especially among the youth, which she described as alarming.

Adeyeye also stressed the dangerous effects of using kerosene tanker to load groundnut oil, dangerous practice of using potassium bromate to bake bread as well as the use of Azo-dyes in palm oil which causes cancer.

She disclosed that using Sniper to preserve any type of food or to keep flies away from meat and the dangers of trans fat and consumption of excessive oil were dangerous practices capable of impacting negatively on human health.

The NAFDAC DG also decried the use of formalin on food and its associated health hazards, low level of exclusive breastfeeding practice by lactating mothers and its associated health hazards and dangers of wrong use of pesticides and insecticides.

In his remarks at the meeting, the Emir of Bauchi, Dr Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu, commended NAFDAC for the sensitisation meeting, which he said was necessary as it would afford people to know what was right and healthy to consume.

The royal father, who was represented by the Sarakin Bauchi, Alhaji Abdullahi Abba, assured that the traditional institution in Bauchi State is ready to support the NAFDAC awareness campaign with a view to safeguarding the lives of the people.

The Emir, however, warned those involved in unwholesome practices relating to food and drugs to desist from such acts.

On her part, the State Director of NAFDAC, Mrs Josephine Daylin, assured that the Agency in the state is ready to ensure that regulations on food and drug administration are enforced in the state in order to make the people safe and urged people to report anyone caught using banned substances to preserve food to the agency.