By Naomi Uzor
TOWARDS reducing the high incidence of maternal death in Nigeria, oxytocin injection is now being produced locally. Disclosing this in a parley with pressmen, the CEO, Juhel Nigeria Limited, Dr. Ifeanyi Okoye, said Nigeria has the 4th highest maternal death rate in the world, accounting for 19 per cent of 830 global maternal deaths daily, but now produces Oxytocin injection and Magnesium Phosphate injection to stem the tide of maternal deaths in the country and Africa.
Okoye noted that Post-Partum Haemorrhage (PPH), or excessive bleeding after childbirth, is one of the major complications of child birth and accounts for 20-30 percent of all maternal deaths.
“However, PPH is treatable and preventable according to WHO recommended guidelines, Oxytocin injection as a frontline drug of choice. It is a safe and potent drug which has been in existence in the Nigerian pharmaceutical market for years but despite availability of myriad of imported brands, the rate and frequency of PPH and consequently, the fatality of maternal death is still very high.”
Okoye said a survey conducted in 2016 by United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) Convention/Promoting the Quality of Medicine (PQM) project, supported by USAID in conjunction with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, sought to determine the quality of oxytocin injections in hospitals and clinics across six geopolitical zones in the country.
According to him, the result indicated that 74.2 per cent of oxytocin in circulation failed quality laboratory evaluation, in other words, three out of every four imported brands are substandard.
“We don’t just sell oxytocin injection to a distributor or hospital, we have staff everywhere. We send our staff to check if you have the hospital has the storage facility before we can supply. If the person doesn’t have the storage facility which is between 2-8 Celsius, we will not supply,” he said.
Towards promoting the quality medicines in Nigeria, USP for two years collaborated with Juhel Nigeria Limited in the production of maternal commodities such as magnesium sulphate and oxytocin injection.
The Special Assistance to the Director General of NAFDAC, Mr. Williams Effiok said the production of the injections is timely and important to reduce maternal deaths in Nigeria and Africa.
“All those that failed the test has been withdrawn from circulation, once a product is unwholesome, we withdraw it from the market. Now that we have these injections in Nigeria, people will definitely prefer to buy from Nigeria than imported products because it is more effective and affordable,” he said.