The Former Director General Of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Dr. Paul Botwev Orhii has said that
as bad as this Coronavirus Pandemic might serve as a wake up call for Nigeria.
QUEEN AMINA BLOG gathered from his social media handle that during his tenure as the DG of NAFDAC ,one of the biggest items on his agenda was to make Nigeria self-sufficient in the manufacture of at least the most essential medicines.
Adding that to achieve that we proposed a N200 billion naira Pharmaceutical Intervention funds to be distributed as grants or soft loans to our local drug manufacturing companies to enable them expand their companies and upgrade their standards to global levels.
Orhii also said, “My question was always with our heavy dependence on imported medicines what were we going to do if a situation arose whereby we could not import medicines from other countries? “
“How were the almost 200 million Nigerians going to cope? Nigeria needed to produce enough essential medicines for its population and even for the entire West African Sub-Region.”
“We also proposed a 2% regulatory levy on luxury NAFDAC regulated products like the very expensive alcoholic beverages (some Champaigns cost sometimes up to N1 million per bottle). ”
“Some of those funds raised could go to fund research in our medicinal herbs by the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Production ( NIPRD).
Currently the most effective medicine for management of Sickle Cell Anaemia (NIPRISAN) was developed here in Nigeria by NIPRD, and I believe that they could have done a lot more for other conditions if they were properly funded.”
The former DG also said, Nigeria has a lot of highly potent Medicinal herbs that could be used to treat very serious conditions that have continued to pose a huge challenge to the global medical community.
Further more, We also have many herbalists claiming that their preparations can cure some of these serious illnesses like cancer, diabetes,hypertension, HIV/AIDS, etc. and so why not give it a scientific basis by researching and testing the efficacy or otherwise of these preparations? We even formed a joint committee of experts with NIPRD but again funding became our major constraint.Orhii said.
” I think this Coronavirus Pandemic that has created that kind of situation that I was warning about should be a wake up call for Nigeria to go back and revisit some of these issues and take appropriate proactive measures.”