President Bola Tinubu
By Dickson Omobola, edited by Chioma Obinna
President Bola Tinubu has been urged by stakeholders in the pharmaceutical sector to extend the State of Emergency declared on food security to indigenous medicine.
The stakeholders spoke on Tuesday at a three-day pharmaceutical training themed: “Nigerian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Quality Improvement and Capacity Building (part 2),” which was held in Lagos.
They said indigenous medicine and agriculture cannot be separated, adding that such proclamation would be beneficial to the development of the nation’s pharmaceutical industry.
The guest speaker, Professor Martins Emeje, who urged pharmacists to domesticate the training that they acquire in other countries, explained that pre-qualification training and indigenous drug development are vital to the growth of the sector.
He said: “160 million people in Nigeria don’t have access to foreign drugs. According to World Health Organisation, WHO, about 80 per cent of people in developing countries use traditional and herbal medicine. In our country, we cannot develop traditional medicine without support from government and the private sector.
“If we want to develop as a country, we cannot continue to be the market for others. We must create so that others can be a market for us. When you hear about about medicine security, it means making one’s medicine. If you don’t, you are not secured as a country but vulnerable.”
On the need for the President to extend the State of Emergency declared on food security to indigenous medicine, he said: “Our indigenous medicine and agriculture cannot be separated. Our indigenous medicine is about our plants, animals and soil, which is agriculture.”
On his part, Executive Officer of Bloom Public Health, Professor Chimezie, who lauded the government for supporting the training, said manufactures should also do the same.
He said: “The reason for this training is to make sure that people are supported so that they will be able to produce quality medicines. That way, Nigeria will stand strong. We cannot continue to have Nigeria as a dumping ground. This is a massive effort and I am happy that the Nigerian government is supporting it.
“The vision is to be the India of Africa. There are over 140 people here to be trained, which shows the hunger. People want to be trained and want to get to the level of quality manufacturing. We have to learn what we are doing to be technically strong and confident.
“When we get to that level, we can seek means to expand our medicine by looking at local leads and move them to the next. We have to get to a level where we have quality manufacturing. While government is supporting this project, we hope that it continues and we hope that the manufacturers get into the picture.”