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NIPRD emphasises increased research, local production of drugs

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National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) has stressed the need

for increased research and local production of pharmaceutical products to diversify the Nigerian economy and improve job creation.

The Director-General of the institute, Dr Obi Adigwe, made the call in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Monday in Abuja.

He said that products of NIPRD research would go a long way to improve revenue generation and create job, apart from being valuable to

improving healthcare.

He added that “pharmaceutical research and manufacturing is associated with one of the longest value chains.

“Each job you create in that sector, there is the possibility that you create 10 other complementary jobs simultaneously in other sectors,’’ he said.

The director general said NIPRD had started making efforts to manufacture some pharmaceutical products in Nigeria.

He noted that “we have started discussions with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients.

“We are also engaging other stakeholders on how we can make pharmaceutical manufacturing in Nigeria the hub within the African continent.”

Adigwe commended government for the effort to encourage local production of the certain categories of medicines through policy.

He explained that “in 2016, government evolved a fiscal policy where certain categories of medicines were reserved for local manufacturing.

“Based on that policy, there was close to double-digit growth in pharmaceutical manufacturing, and about 50 million dollars came into the industry

within one year. New factories were built and hundreds of youths got jobs.

“Government has also enacted a number of executive orders, and to demonstrate the importance of the pharmaceutical sector, Executive Order (3)

that stipulates procurement of locally manufactured products, pharmaceutical product is specifically mentioned.

“There is also the `Patient Bill of Right’’ which is aimed at improving access to healthcare.”

He said that products from NIPRD were no longer restricted to healthcare, but now had a multiplier effect on socio-economic conditions of Nigerians.

He expressed the institute’s determination to partner with as many state governments as possible to tap into their medicinal and pharmaceutical

raw materials for improved healthcare, economic growth and prosperity.

KAE/HA

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

Health

How harmful traditional substances contribute to childhood blindness- Expert

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A Consultant Ophthalmologist, Dr Olubusayo Adejumo, says application of harmful traditional eye medications contributes to preventable blindness in children.

Adejumo of Marilyn Miller Centre for Child Eye Health, Eleta Eye Institute, stated this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Ibadan.

According to the ophthalmologist, the use of traditional eye medicine and harmful substances is a common practice in the country and has resulted in avoidable blindness from corneal ulceration and consequent scarring.

“In children, we have the treatable and preventable causes of blindness and many of these cases are mostly issues relating to the cornea.

“The cornea is a transparent dome-shaped tissue that forms the front part of your eye. It functions as the window of the eye.

“The problem of low vision and preventable blindness in children can arise from the application of harmful traditional ointments such as kerosene, cassava water, urine, breast milk, sugar water, battery fluid and onion amongst others into the eye,” she said.

Adejumo said that the use of these harmful eye medications could lead to infection which destroys the cornea and eventually lead to blindness inspite of ophthalmic intervention.

She said other causes of preventable and treatable blindness in children include corneal scaring, measles, refractive error, childhood cataract and childhood glaucoma.

Adejumo also said: “45 per cent of blind children become blind from avoidable causes. A child’s quality of life and neurological development are highly dependent on adequate vision.

“A blind child has nothing less than 50years to contend with. When a child is blind, it affects her social, emotional and psychological set up.”

The ophthalmologist said that such children are eventually burdens to their immediate family and the entire community at large.

“There is a need for sustained public enlightenment on the effect of harmful traditional eye medication,’’ she said.

 

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NPopC, NOA target 1m new birth registrations in 2019 in Lagos

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To upscale birth registration in Lagos State, one million births are expected to be registered by 2019, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and the National Population Commission (NPopC) said on Friday.

According to the two Federal Government bodies, a total of 231,584 registrations comprising 117, 586 boys and 113,998 girls have so far been recorded in Lagos State.

They spoke at a tw-day “Media Workshop on the Need to Scale Up Birth Registration in Lagos State’’, in Ibadan, Oyo State.

The workshop was organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Lagos State, in collaboration with UNICEF Abuja Office.

Mr Waheed Ishola, the Director of NOA, Lagos State Directorate, said: “On the upscale of birth registration in Lagos State, we  found out that for some time now, the birth registration uptake  of Under-5 in Lagos State is pretty  low.

“And for us to meet the target that is being set, knowing that day in day out, we are having children born in the state, there is need for us to ensure that all the children born in Lagos are registered.

“We are targeting that one million children are registered before the end of 2019.’’

Ishola said registering the birth of a child had many benefits of which include the child having an identity.

However, he identified some challenges militating against the upscale of child birth registration to include lack of awareness on the importance of birth registration, touting, lack of manpower and equipment as well as adequate  funding.

Also, Murphy Adigun, State Director, National Population Commission, told the Nigeria News Agency that it was free to register new births as well as for persons below the age of 17.

“Registration of child births is free and registration centres are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Mondays to Fridays except on public holidays.

“There are 122 birth registration centres in Lagos State; the number of registration centres in each local government varies according to their sizes and rate of birth registration in the LGA.

`They are located at Local Government Headquarters, Local Council Development Headquarters, Public Health Centres, General Hospitals, Town Halls, Secretariats or any other strategic places designed for the purpose of registering births.

“Some other areas are covered during immunisation days and we also intend having mobile registration centres,’’ he said.

Adigun also restated the benefits of birth registration.

“Registering births enables governments to plan well and make projections.

“It gives the child access to certain essential social services.

“The birth certificate is a legal document which can be used to access visas, scholarships, education and even employment opportunities.

“Most importantly, it is a critical component of a child’s identity,’’ he said.

Adigun urged parents to ensure they report births or register their child after the child is born.

VIV/PDE

(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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Gov. Muhammed of Bauchi appoints PHCDA Executive Secretary, two others

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Edited by Isaac Aregbesola

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NGO carries out sensitisation on gender-based violence in 25 LGAs in Niger

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A non-governmental organisation (NGO), Rayuwa Sexual Assault Referral Centre, has carried out sensitisation on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in 25 local government areas of Niger.

 

Dr Inegbenose Inegbenijie, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the NGO, disclosed this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Minna on Friday.

 

He said that such sensitisation had become necessary because many did not know what gender-based violence was and ignorance would not be accepted.

 

He said that they embarked on such a tour to create awareness among the people, the community heads and the emirs.

 

“Some do not know that a man having sexual intercourse with a child is against the law.

 

“Also that some people used to initiate in-house settlements of such cases without the consent of the victim is also an offence.

 

“So many rape cases had been settled by community heads with the victims’ families in the past which most time used to involve the exchange of money and gifts.

 

“This necessitated the sensitisation tour because culprits have to be dealt with according to the law, the abused need justice; the law must take its cause.

 

“If the culprits are not dealt with, the ugly trend will continue,’’ he said.

 

Inegbenijie said that they might not be able to mitigate the incidence of rape and its kinds in Minna and Niger in general if the culprits were not brought to book.

 

The Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the NGO also said that they had been to schools to carry out sensitisation against the vice.

 

He said that they shared flyers, information materials and educative materials among students to help raise awareness about the scourge.

 

He added that they also gave their contact numbers to the authorities of schools they visited should there be the need for them to contact them.

 

 

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Unilorin professor discovers anti-cancer, anti-TB drugs, seeks commercialisation

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Prof. Joshua Obaleye of the Department of Chemistry, University of Ilorin,  says his team has discovered anti-malaria, anti-cancer and anti-tuberculosis drugs that can be mass-produced to save lives.

Obaleye told newsmen in Ilorin  that the team which he heads had tested numerous world-class metal compounds from his laboratory for the treatment of various diseases.

According to him, studies show that when a metal is attached with a pharmaceutical, it increases the efficacy of the drug.

The  don, who is also the President, America Chemical Society, Nigeria Chapter, and Chairman, Nigeria Chemical Society, Kwara State Chapter, said that he lacked funding t0 commercialise the drugs.

According to the professor, he has also produced anti-inflammatory drugs and vitamins.

“We need to commercialise all these drugs and invite the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control and other regulatory bodies to come over to examine what we have produced to confirm if what we say we have is what we have.

“When they investigate us and find out what we say is authentic, maybe they will be happy to help us.

“We have produced metal anti-tuberculosis, metal anti-malaria, metal antibiotics  and many more. We have produced a lot of them in this lab,” Obaleye said.

“Most of these drugs we have produced in our lab have other applications; even structural studies of them is enough. We can even use them as raw materials for other drugs,” he added.

Obaleye  called for effective collaboration among researchers in

the same discipline as well as interdisciplinary collaboration in order to come out with

world-class discoveries.

He said that collaboration had given him great opportunities to come up with groundbreaking researches.

“We are making a lot of achievements, we have many collaborators from India, we have collaborators in Malaysia, Japan and so many other countries.

“We work with people we know are experts in those areas; if you don’t collaborate, you just be a local champion without any progress,” he said.

He called for government funding  to facilitate  commercialisation of the drugs.

FATY/IGO

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