COVID-19: NAFDAC plans ahead, targets strong health sector after pandemic

As the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said it is working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to address drug insecurity in the country.

“We are working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to address drug insecurity in the country; that is part of our post-COVID-19 plan to revamp the health sector,” Director-General of NAFDAC,  Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday.

She said that the agency had been meeting with relevant stakeholders to achieve the feat.

Adeyeye said the agency had started working on the production of herbal medicine since March 2019.

“As soon as I came in as the DG, I started singing it everywhere I go that we have drug insecurity.

“If you manufacture 30 per cent of your drugs locally and import 70, you have made your nation a slave to the country that is supplying.

“We were slaves to China and India; we depended so much on them. With the outbreak of Coronavirus, China had their issues and everything stopped.

“India also stopped their own supplies because they want to conserve. It left us stranded, but the pandemic lingers on,’’ she said.

According to her, the agency met with the CBN governor two months ago to address challenges facing the sector.

“The CBN Governor has listened to some of the things that came from NAFDAC in terms of drug insecurity. He has said that it was high time for Nigeria to start looking inward.

“We have had series of meeting and NAFDAC is the go-between now.

“NAFDAC is the brigde between CBN and pharmaceutical manufacturing groups of Nigeria.

“We had a meeting last Saturday, so part of what the government has realised is that the health sector has been neglected.

“We have realised that we have to take care of some aspects of the health sector.’’

The director-general said that the Federal Government had been responding by allocating N100 billion to qualified pharmaceutical manufacturing companies for production of indigenous drugs.

“We left industrialisation decades ago but we are going back to where we came; the government is supporting and more companies are getting approval.’’

Adeyeye emphasised that Nigeria’s over-dependence on medicine importation had affected the production of locally made drugs.

She said that the lack of accessible raw materials had also posed a similar challenge, adding that the challenge needed to be tackled before Nigeria can attain a state of drug security.

“The CBN said we need to do sanitisers locally, that is the beginning of COVID for us; I told them, sanitiser has three ingredients and we import all the ingredients.

“We should wake up as a country; we import alcohol, one of the ingredients for sanitisers. We cannot continue like this,” he said.

(NAN)

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