By Demola Akinyemi,Ilorin..
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has begun a sensitization campaign among people in the North Central zone to protect them against negative effects of unwholesome food, fake medical products, harmful cosmetics, poor water and other substandard regulated products.
The Director-General of the agency, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, speaking at the event in Ilorin on Thursday, said the event became necessary because”Public Awareness Campaign is One of the veritable regulatory mechanisms put in place by NAFDAC to promote and protect the health of our people. “
She added that “A well informed, sensitized and educated Citizenry is the bedrock of effective regulation. This is why today’s event is another major milestone in our bid to protect Nigerians against the deleterious effects of unwholesome food, falsified medical products, Harmful Cosmetics, Poor Water and other Substandard regulated products.”
She said that” the Mass Media, Vibrant Youth Organisations and Civil Societies in the pilot states will be in the forefront of the Sensitization campaigns. The target audiences are Market Women and Men, Road Transport Workers and Employers, Community Youth Organisations and Students.”
Represented at the event by the Director, North Central of the agency, Mrs Bolaji Abayomi, she
warned people on the dangers of buying medicines from hawkers, saying that patients should buy medicines from only licensed pharmacies and medicine stores.
Professor Adeyeye also said that the campaign themes intended to address such public health challenges as abuse of Codeine and self-medication, especially among youths.
“Others include dangerous effects of using kerosene tanker to load groundnut oil, the dangerous practice of using potassium bromate to bake bread, use of Azo-dyes in palm oil which causes cancer, dangers of using sniper to preserve any type of food or to keep flies away from meat, dangers of transfat and consumption of excessive oil, and use of formalin on food and its associated health hazards.
The Director-General, who lamented the low level of exclusive breastfeeding practice by lactating mothers and its associated health hazards, encouraged mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding for two years for the good health of their children.
She also highlighted the dangers of the wrong use of pesticides and insecticides, wrong use of chemicals and their hazardous effects, as well as the problem of antimicrobial resistance arising from animal meat.
She noted that”The key objective of this sensitization programme is to intensify and expand the scope of our informal and formal behaviour change communication strategies in order to reach the vulnerable communities, especially at the grassroots. Dissemination of Food and Drug safety information is an important aspect of our regulatory work.
“It is common knowledge that Nigeria has a preponderant share of the global problem of falsified medical products and unwholesome food.
“The advent of Covid-19 Pandemic has aggravated the problem with the challenge posed by substandard and falsified Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).
“The sensitization campaigns will therefore contribute significantly to federal government’s efforts to inform, sensitize, educate and alert the public about inherent dangers of intake and use of those spurious regulated products.