Director-General, NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye
By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos – The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC has reiterated the need for Nigerians to minimize the level of exposure to harmful chemicals which are used in bleaching the skin as such are capable of increasing the rate of cases of cancer in the country.
The Agency stated that a World Health Organization, WHO study has revealed that 77 per cent of Nigerian women make use of skin bleaching creams and the figure is the highest in Africa compared to 59 percent in Togo, 35 per cent in South Africa and 27 percent in Senegal.
The Director-General, NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, made the disclosure on Friday in her address at the North-Central Zonal Media Sensitization Workshop on the Dangers of Bleaching Creams and Regulatory Control held in Jos, Plateau State.
The DG who was represented by the Agency’s Director of Chemical Evaluation and Research, Dr. Leonard Omokpariola explained that the scary statistic has shown that the menace of bleaching creams in Nigeria has become a national health emergency that requires a multi-faceted regulatory approach.
Adeyeye stressed, “Last year, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha acting on the resolutions of the Senate wrote to NAFDAC stressing the need to take stringent regulatory actions to stem the dangerous tide of rampant and pervasive cases of Nigerians using bleaching creams.
“We immediately took some decisive steps such as sensitization of the public through different media outlets, enforcement through intelligence and raids in trade fair complexes that have resulted in large seizures and destruction of violative products…
“This sensitization workshop is a training the Trainers’ programme with the great expectation that participants will assume role of champions in the vanguard of the campaign against use of bleaching creams… It is imperative for me to warn that some of the harmful effects of bleaching creams include cancer, damage to vital organs of the body, skin irritation and allergy, skin burn and rashes, wrinkles, premature skin ageing and prolong healing of wounds.
“A World Health Organization (WHO, 2018) study revealed that use of skin bleaching creams was prevalent among 77 percent of Nigerian women which was highest in Africa compared to 59 percent in Togo, 35 per cent in south Africa and 27 percent women in Senegal.This scary statistic has shown that the menace of bleaching creams in Nigeria has become a national health emergency that requires a multi-faced regulatory approach…”
The Director, North Central zone of the Agency, Pharm. Mohammed Shaba, the Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, Deputy Directors in the Agency, Anto Ebele and Linda Halim respectively called on the media to join hands with the Agency to fight the menace of bleaching among Nigerians as NAFDAC alone cannot do it.
Participants at a day event, drawn from various media houses were taken through topics like An overview of skin bleaching: The NAFDAC perspective, Role of mass media in promoting public health in Nigeria, Safe handling of chemicals and ingredients in the cosmetics industry, and The cosmovigilance best practices, NAFDAC’s regulatory control of cosmetics in Nigeria.”
There was also a question and answer session as the Agency’s officials give explanations to issues raised.
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