By Peter Egwuatu
In a move to encourage local production of face masks in the country for the prevention of coronavirus, COVID-19, the Nigerian Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA) has expressed its readiness to help Transgreen Nigeria Limited create a path for the introduction of its World Health Organisation (WHO)-standard O-Care medical face masks in the United States.
Transgreen recently commissioned the first medical face masks factory in Nigeria with the capacity to produce 240,000 masks daily.
NAPPSA revealed this in its goodwill message sent by its President, Dr Anthony Ikeme, to Transgreen Nigeria Limited during the unveiling of the O-Care medical face mask factory in Lagos. NAPPSA said its proposed support for Transgreen is in line with its objective to help Nigeria build local capacity for the manufacturing of pharmaceutical and medical products in the country thereby ensuring less reliance on medical supplies from China and India.
“We commend the staff and management of Transgreen on the commissioning of a factory to produce medical face masks in Nigeria, the first in the country. NAPPSA considers this a huge accomplishment not just for Transgreen as a company but for Nigeria as a country,” Dr Ikeme says. “NAPPSA is committed to create a pathway for this product and other such products to be marketed in the US to help create foreign income earnings for these companies and also grow the sector” he adds.
Ikeme expressed his delight that the commissioning came shortly after NAPPSA reiterated the call for Nigeria to look inwards for its medical and pharmaceutical needs. At the donation of COVID-19 diagnostics, PPEs and other medical consumables to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Abuja last month, the association had called on stakeholders to “facilitate the creation of a national strategy for medical and pharmaceutical manufacturing in Nigeria” as a way to prepare for future health emergencies and also position the country “to earn foreign revenue as an alternative source for medical and pharmaceutical supplies.”
According to the NAPPSA president, the net effect of local production capacity is to guarantee the nation’s health security by making available much needed medical and pharmaceutical products, boosting employment generation and foreign exchange earnings from exportation.
“We are very proud to see that there is an industrialist in Nigeria who is well ahead of this curve by setting up a medical face mask factory,” Dr Ikeme says. “NAPPSA’s belief is that if Nigeria is to be a major player in the global pharmaceutical economy, if we are to lift the pharmaceutical sector to be a major driver for economic growth and for employment, more industrialists must follow in the footsteps of Transgreen and set up factories of this kind,” he adds.
NAPPSA believes the coronavirus pandemic has exposed the folly of the world, including Nigeria, in “putting their eggs in one basket, depending on China almost exclusively for all their medical and pharmaceutical products. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the great risk this portends to our national healthcare security.”
At the unveiling of the factory, the Managing Director of Transgreen, Cyprian Orakpo, said that as long as COVID-19 continues to ravage, facemasks and other medical devices will remain national security products.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who commissioned the factory, says, “We are going to support this company because this is a strategic production line that is important to us in our existence as human beings.” The governor placed the first order of 250,000 masks “on behalf of people of Lagos State.” Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who sent in a goodwill message, said the “sheer commitment and focus of Transgreen Nigerian team in establishing this factory in three months is remarkable and must be commended.”