The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has frowned on the importation of mosquito nets and directed that they should be produced locally in the country.
He endorsed the use of herbal drugs and recommended that they should be produced under the supervision of the Nigerian Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development and the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control.
Speaking at the presentation of “NAFDAC Guidelines 2016” on Tuesday in Abuja, the minister said billions of “hard-earned” money was being used to import mosquito nets and other drugs that could be produced locally.
He said the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria could produce mosquito nets.
Adewole directed NAFDAC to partner universities of Zaria, Enugu, Ibadan and Jos to enhance research into local production of drugs.
The minister said, “When we came on board, what we were mandated to do was to develop the health agenda for the nation. Doing so, we worked on delivering health to Nigerian citizens. The APC manifestoes documented a new commitment to health, but we needed to build on this.
“We will make essential medicines available; make sure that we have self-sufficiency in local production and clinical practice. We will also ensure that we keep substandard products out of Nigeria.
“I saw a challenge with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria. I believe that many of the key products that we use in this country can be labeled as medical devices, including the Long-Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets. Please, ensure that these are produced in Nigeria.
“In addition to this, we should also invest in local products. We call them traditional medicine. But, I want to call them Nigerian medicines. I think NIPRD will partner with us to research with your products, making sure that local preparations are available for Nigeria. I am sure NIPRD is aware of some of the commodities from the middle belt such as the one that when taken can prevent Nigerian women from getting pregnant for the next one year. This should be made available.”
He tasked NAFDAC to become a reference point with regards to regulatory activities worldwide.