Saturday, 12 September 2015

Hoodlums attack NAFDAC officials in Lagos, Ogun states

…As agency raids markets for unregistered products

Officials of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC and mobile Police men attached to its enforcement directorate were yesterday attacked by traders and touts in Lagos and Ogun States.

A statement signed by Anselm Okonkwor Public Relations Officer, Enforcement Operations, NAFDAC, said that the attacked enforcement teams of the agency were on a nationwide raid for fake, unregistered, counterfeit and suspected contaminated vegetable oil in major markets and distribution channels in the states when the traders and touts swooped on them seized some of the products already evacuated by the teams and beat up one of the Agency’s staff identified as Miss Evelyn Chiemeke.

According to an eye witness, the exercise which was almost successful turned rowdy when the members of the Union at markets trooped out in their hunadreds with the help of ‘area boys’ preventing the enforcement team from evacuating the offending “MOI Vegetable oil” and other products already seized from the markets.

From Mile 12, to Ikorodu, Sango Otta, Alaba-arago in Ojo, Boundary market in Ajegunle, Suru Alaba and Oke-arin markets, there were pockets of attack on the officials despite the presence of armed mobile police men attached to the teams.

At the Ikorodu market where four shops were sealed, 438 gallons of fake vegetable oil valued at N6, 576,000, and two traders arrested, the officials narrowly escaped mob attack as the traders resorted to carrying all forms of weapons for a free- for- all at the instigation of a market leader who later admitted being the importer of the unregistered vegetable oil from Cotonu into Nigeria.

At Sango market in Ogun State, where NAFDAC aofficials were also assaulted by the market Union members, six shops were sealed and one of the staff of the Agency was roundly manhandled.

At Alabarago Market in Ojo LGA where the team forced open a warehouse stock with fake products after the owners had absconded on the sight of NAFDAC’s official, one of the Mobile Police men attached to the team was attacked and almost lost his gun to the mob in the process.

Briefing journalists shortly after the raids, at Boundary market in Ajegunle area of Lagos, NAFDAC’s Chief Regulatory Officer, Enforcement operations, Mr. Joseph Folorunsho-Idowu, regretted that the exercise was marred by pockets of violence saying, “the Agency stormed the markets following intelligence reports over illegal importation and indiscriminate circulation of unregistered vegetable oil in the Nigerian markets.”

Idowu expressed surprise on the shocking discovery of unhygienic warehouses right inside the markets, adding that consuming such vegetable oil refilled in such a dirty environment would not only expose consumers to infections but could lead to untimely deaths.

“We have been going round other markets. This is Ajeromi market. We have seen smuggled oil and we have seen equally a place where they are refilling empty kegs of registered oil like Kings vegetable oil. They are refilling them with adulterated oil. We also have Emperor Vegetable Oil that is also being refilled.

The owners have taken to their heels. We have sealed about 15 shops today including warehouses where they refill these adulterated vegetable oils. We will invite the owners through the market leaders for further investigations.”

He further warned the public that by NAFDAC definition, any regulated product not registered is considered as fake because such products have not been tested or certified fit for human consumption by the Agency.
The NAFDAC officer who x-rayed the health implications maintained that consuming such oil is tantamount to taking poison.

“Allowing it in public domain is 10 times risking the lives of poor Nigerians. You could see the unhygienic environment where they operate and there is no way NAFDC will approve any repackaging or refilling of any edible oil in this market,” he added.

He explained that the exercise was a continuation of its nationwide regulatory exercise aimed at ensuring that Nigerians consume healthy oil as studies have linked consumption of adulterated vegetable oil to rise in heart related diseases.

On the seizures in various markets visited, he said: “At Alabarago market, a total of 1,040 kegs of “Moi vegetable oil” were found, thousands of products mutilated labels, six shops sealed but evacuation hampered by members of the union and area boys. One of our officials by name Evelyn was beaten up by the mob who also attempted to collect the gun belonging to one of the mobile police men.

“At the Mile 12 Market in Kosofe LGA, a major distributor of fake vegetable oil was raided and market men and women in their hundreds trooped out and assisted by touts to cause commotion thereby preventing the team from raiding other shops. 33x 25Litres of the offending “MOI Vegetable oil” were eventually evacuated to our office. Two arrests were made and another 438 gallons of 25litres valued at 6,576000 were discovered. Also 247 were evacuated at Ikorodu market while 55 gallons were kept on hold after forcing the shop open due to the uncooperative posture of the traders,” he explained.



This story was published in Newswatch Times on September 10, 2015.

Alaafin facilitates $300,000(N70m) mobile medical clinic for Oyo State

The Alaafin of Oyo,Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III has facilitated a three hundred thousand dollars(N70m) mobile medical clinic for the use of people of the state.

Facilities inside the mobile clinic include those for surgery,x ray,recovery room as well as toilet and bathroom,among others.

The mobile clinic was donated by a United States of America(USA) based couple who are from Oyo town,Honourable Bode and Dr.(Mrs)Anu Esuola who are already in Oyo town to offer a three day free medical treatment to people of the town as part of activities to mark this year’s 4th Oranyan festival in the town.


A prominent indigene of Oyo town,Retired Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu confirmed the development yesterday in Oyo town while briefing newsmen on activities lined up for the one week festival .

The cleric who is also the coordinator,Oranyan festival Committee disclosed”The multi -faceted Mission is a joint initiative of two indigenes of Oyo,Hon.Bode Esuola and his wife ,Dr.Commissioner Anu Esuola ,both residents of Maryland,USA ,through their Company,Community Dentistry on Wheels Inc.based in Maryland,USA,voluntarily donated a well-equipped,$300,000 Mobile Hospital to Oyo state as a legacy of Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III.They have also organised a Medical and Trade Mission to Oyo state and Oyo Metropolis as part of the 2015 Oranyan festival.”

Honourable Esuola who is an accountant, in a chat later with journalists also revealed that in addition to the Mobile clinic,drugs and medical dressings worth $200,000 as well as 3,000 pair of glasses have been brought to be given to people of the state,free of charge.

He said a Foundation would be set up to see to the maintenance of the mobile clinic and the personnel to be employed for the clinic.

Speaking on the 4th Oranyan festival,Retired Archbishop Ayo Ladigbolu said it is meant to promote Yoruba culture and attract home,the Yoruba in diaspora.

His words”Our reasons for celebrating Oranyan festival is to maintain our undeniable link to our progenitor while it is also a strong way of linking the Yorubas with their kit and kin(sons and daughters of oranyan) in the diaspora,strongly reminding them that the ALAAFIN is the symbol per excellence of this legendary Oranyan, and the urgent need to accord him due recognition,respect and honour ..”


This story was published in Newswatch Times on September 10, 2015.

Hope for health tourism in Nigeria

…As Nordica opens cosmetic surgery centre in Lagos

To save millions of huge capital flight lost annually through those who seek for human body restructure to look young, restore their appearance and confidence abroad, Nordica Fertility Centre has opened a Body Art Cosmetic Surgery Centre and Wellness Clinic in Lagos.

The centre, which is due to commence full-operation next month, is geared to improve health status of Nigerians.

Addressing journalists at the Nordica Fertility Centre, Ikoyi, the Clinic Manager, Tola Ajayi, on Tuesday, said that the cosmetic surgery center is a combination of cutting edge-technology with an eye for artistry to ensure natural results, timeless beauty and lasting satisfaction.

L - R : Dr Abayomi Ajayi ( Managing Director, Nordica Fertility Centre) Damilola Atiba (Embryologist),
Mrs. Tola Ajayi (Clinic Manager and Infertility Counsellor), Esther Odiete (Infertility Counsellor/Acupuncturist)
 and Gbemisola Babalola (Infertility Nurse/ Clinic Coordinator during the press briefing at the opening of the Body Art Cosmetic Surgery Centre and Nordica Wellness Clinic in Lagos by the centre... Tuesday
The Nordica Clinic boss said: “Today, we reveal to you – Body Art Cosmetic Surgery Cente and Nordica Wellness Clinic, a result of research and development. You will agree with me, that there is nothing like looking, feeling young and feeling good. We desire and love you to have the body of your dreams, and that is our strong message. We offer a refreshing approach to renew your appearance and restore your self-confidence.

“Our cosmetic surgery center is a combination of cutting edge-technology with an eye for artistry to give you natural results, timeless beauty and lasting satisfaction. This is what Body Art Cosmetic Surgery Center epitomizes,” she added.

Ajayi added that the Clinic would engage in other services, which include: egg cryopreservation, counseling, weight loss, mind-body medicine, acupuncture and genetic compatibility testing.
According to her: “At the Body Art Surgery Centre, our services will include Liposuction, Tummy Tuck, Breast Augmentation, Arm lift, Breast Lift, Cheek Augmentation, Chin Augmentation, Vagina tightening, Butt Enlargement and Botox.”

Ajayi also said that the surgical team will be led by the world renowned plastic surgeon, Dr. Guillermo Blugerman, and assured that he will provide a world class service.

Her words: “With his artistic vision, you are sure of a world class service. Dr. Guillermo Blugermaji has performed surgical demonstrations live in Germany, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Austria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Curacao, Ecuador, Spain, Philippines, France, H illand, Israel, Mexico, Montenegro, Paraguay, Romania, Thailand, US and Venezuela. He is a consultant for cosmetic surgery centers in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Chile, Ecuador and USA. And we are glad he is coming to Nigeria to help renew your appearance and make you feel good inside and out. The same with our Wellness Clinic, where we will make you feel well every day.

“We trust to become the leading cosmetic center in the industry. When you combine our solid position and our winning team with the urgent need for people to stay healthy, young and confident, Body Art Cosmetic Surgery Center and Nordica Wellness Clinic are set to be one of the world’s big success stories. We are in the right business, in the right industry at the right time. Enhancing the reflection of your true beauty can only begin at Body Art Cosmetic Surgery Center and Nordica wellness clinic,” she said

Also speaking at the event, the Infertility Counsellor and Acupuncturist, Esther Odiete, noted that acupuncture is safe, relaxes the nerves and also stimulate the flow of blood from the uterus.

According to Wikipedia, Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine. It is commonly used for pain relief though it is also used to treat a wide range of conditions. The majority of people who seek out acupuncture do so for musculoskeletal problems, including low back pain, shoulder stiffness, and knee pain. Acupuncture is rarely used alone but rather as an adjunct to other treatment modalities.

The Clinical Embryologist, Atiba Adedamola, added that the eggs could be collected and stored without complications for like 10 years. This process is called freezing.

Managing Director of the Clinic, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, in his speech, disclosed that carrying out body surgery in Nigeria was cheaper and convenient than travelling abroad.

Ajayi assured that Dr. Guillermo Blugerman, would be invited to the country to perform plastic surgery as a renowned surgeon and consultant who has worked for cosmetic surgery centers in Germany, United States of America (USA), Netherlands, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Philippines, Israel Australia, Austria, USA, Brazil, Chile, Spain and Ecuador.


This story was published in Newswatch Times on September 5, 2015.

NAFDAC seals warehouse, shops, confiscates prohibited vegetable oil in Ibadan

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC) on Wednesday sealed a warehouse and five shops loaded with more than 1, 500 kegs of 25 litres contraband vegetable oil in Ibadan.

This followed a simultaneous operation carried out by the enforcement team of the agency from Lagos at the popular Agbeni and Bodija Markets in the metropolis.

The kegs of the contraband vegetable oil, which were subsequently seized by the agency, carried the brand name “Moi-Gold Vegetable Oil” of which over 700 kegs of the prohibited oil were found inside the warehouse located at the heart of Agbeni Market.

 Paul Orhi NAFDAC DG
Upon the discovery, three arrests were made while two others escaped. One of those arrested, a 23-year-old undergraduate, Tunde Ayeni, said he was running the warehouse on the behalf of his mom, whom he simply called “Alhaja”.

He, however, refused to give further statements by exercising his right to a lawyer.

Also, in the warehouse, the process of re-bagging and rebranding of damaged rice in new sacks labelled “Rising Sun Parboiled Rice” was ongoing upon the arrival of the NAFDAC operatives.

While addressing journalists shortly after the exercise amid bewildered market men and women, a Chief Regulatory Officer and leader of the enforcement team, Mr. Folorunsho Idowu , said that the operation followed intelligence reports and surveillance efforts of the agency in its efforts to rid the markets of the contraband vegetable which had illegally found its way into the markets.

Idowu, who is of the NAFDAC’S Investigation and Enforcement Directorate in Lagos, said that the consumption of uncertified and contraband foods could pose serious health hazards to the people.

“Our operation today at Agbeni and Bodija Markets is to mop up sales of unregistered vegetable oil particularly the Moi-Gold Oil.

“This has been smuggled through the land border and is sold in the markets without being tested and certified fit for human consumption by NAFDAC or any approved laboratory.

“We wish to sensitise people to the fact that Moi-Gold Vegetable Oil is not registered by NAFDAC and it is on import prohibition list of the Nigerian Customs Service,” he said.

According him, revalidating; refilling; re-bagging and rebranding of “caked rice”; torn or damaged bags of rice is illegal and a violation of NAFDAC regulations.

The Moi-Gold Vegetable Oil, which comes in 25 litres keg, sells for N6,200 while other certified brands of vegetable oil, also in 25 litres, are sold for N6,500.


This story was published in Newswatch Times on September 5, 2015.

Nescafé’s ‘Get Started Challenge’ finalists announced

Nescafé announced the four finalists of the ‘2015 Get Started Challenge’, an initiative that aims to inspire young African entrepreneurs to generate innovative ideas that will create value for society.

Between April and June, almost 2,000 of ideas in the areas of technology, health, art and culture, community development and the environment, were collected from 18 to 30 year olds across Côte d’Ivoire,Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon.


After a rigorous selection process, the public voted for the top four entries on the brand’s Facebook page: Dare Adu, a young man from Nigeria, aims to help widows and orphans to become financially independent through a healthy snack business.

The next is Moïse Compaoré, from Burkina Faso who wants to help reduce the number of avoidable deaths by providing key medicines to patients in emergency wards.
For Ivorian Pierre Nahoaintends, he wants to create a platform providinglocal languagecourses in Côte d’Ivoire and beyond.

Finally, Korotoumou Sidibé, a young woman from Mali, dreams of eradicating food insecurity by improving the shelf life of food products through better packaging.
These young entrepreneurs willbe coached by influential African bloggers via live Google Hangouts; a platform that allows both voice and video conversations from any computer with internet connection. The shortlisted candidates will then present the business case for their idea in front of a jury of leading African entrepreneurs, who will select the overall winner.

The jury consists of Toyosi Akerele-Ogunisji, founder of the RISE Networks Social Enterprise; Fred Swaniker, founder of the African Leadership Academy; and Adama Ndiaye, the fashion designer behind Adama Paris and founder of Dakar Fashion Week.

“We can’t wait to see what these dreams are really made of,” said Fred Swaniker. “Each of them has the potential to greatly contribute to positively shape the future of Africa.”

The winner will receive USD 30,000 worth of financial support and mentoring to turn his dream into reality.
“I want you to believe in yourself, have passion for what you do, be humble to people, go around and talk to people about your dream and I guarantee you’ll become successful”, this is the encouragement from last year’s winner. MuazuAdamu, a 21 year-old-student from Nigeria, won $20,000 towards implementing his dream of lighting up Africa by boosting power produced from power generators.

Muazu and his partner, Solomon, will soon begin a mentorship and idea creation training programme in Nigeria to helpthem manage their business more efficiently.


This story was published in Newswatch Times on September 5, 2015.

Not all body alerts are risky to health – Experts

Why single elevated blood-pressure reading isn’t worrisome

Medical experts have observed that it is not all body alerts are risky to health. The human body is constantly changing in response to an array of factors: stress, medications, what you eat, how you sleep. This is definitely true of blood pressure, particularly the top number in the blood-pressure measurement, the systolic blood pressure. In fact, there is a phenomenon called ‘white coat hypertension,’ in which blood pressure goes up when the measurement is taken at the doctor’s office because you’re nervous about having it checked. A friend of mine was recently in the hospital, hooked up to a display that checked his blood pressure every 15 minutes, with tremendous variation. It nearly drove him crazy.

When to worry about blood pressure
If you get a high reading several times in a month, talk to your doctor; untreated high blood pressure can lead to heart disease and stroke. Extremely elevated blood pressure (systolic pressure over 180 or diastolic pressure over 110) is a medical emergency.

Blood-test result that’s a little high or low
Even if the lab report says the number is out of normal range, that value is most likely normal for you. Someone could have a slightly low platelet count throughout his lifetime, but that does not mean he had bleeding problems (platelets help with clot formation). No problem, no disease. Part of the reason a new doctor does routine blood work when you are feeling good is so that she can learn what is typical for you.

Low blood pressure
Low blood pressure puts less stress on your organs, so it is generally considered a good thing. Experts advise that you should not be worried about low blood pressure. 
When to worry: If low blood pressure leaves you feeling lightheaded or faint, or if you feel your heart fluttering, then you need to see a doctor.

Few days of nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
People want to know if it is food poisoning or a virus, but in terms of healing, it doesn’t really matter. If there is no intense abdominal pain, high fever or blood in your stool, your body will take care of it. The important thing is not to get dehydrated. When to worry about vomiting: If you feel faint or are vomiting up blood, get to the doctor.

Painless lumps
As bodies age, they develop a wide variety of lumps. The overwhelming majority of them are not cancerous. The causes of lumps are so numerous that it is impossible to give a complete list here, but they range from benign cysts to fatty deposits under the skin (called lipomas). Make sure you show them to your doctor on your next visit, but try not to be too alarmed.

When to worry about lumps
Some lumps should be evaluated as soon as possible. Breast lumps should never be ignored. Lumps that are tender, warm and red could be from underlying infections that need treatment. Hard or fast-growing lumps should also be seen promptly.

Bleeding
In terms of species survival, it is probably good that the sight of blood provokes panic. But most of us panic more than we should. Cuts on certain parts of the body, like the scalp, can bleed profusely, but that should not necessarily cause alarm. Put pressure on a cut for five to 10 minutes to see if you can get it to stop bleeding. If you can’t, or if the two sides of the slice seem widely separated, you may need stitches to help healing.

When to worry about bleeding: If you are not sure whether a cut needs stitches, it’s not wise to wait and see. Wounds need to be stitched within 24 hours or the risk of infection rises markedly.

Little rectal bleeding
Many health experts complain of embarrassing calls concerning blood on toilet paper or in the bowl. It is almost always related to hemorrhoids or small cuts in the rectal area rather than a sign of an ulcer or cancer. Try taking a stool softener, or eat more fruits and vegetables to do the same trick. 

When to worry about rectal bleeding: If the bleeding persists for more than two or three days or is painful, head to the doctor.

Sharp, localized chest pain
Many often associate the chest with the heart, but there are lungs, bones, muscles and digestive organs in there, too. Sometimes chest pain that’s worse with a cough, a deep breath or movements of the torso, like lifting or twisting, can be caused by strains or irritation in the small muscles and ligaments that surround the ribs. These can be due to injury or a viral infection and generally resolve themselves; a nonsteroidal medicine like ibuprofen may help in the meantime.

When to worry about chest pain: If you are also short of breath or have a fever, see a doctor. In that case, sharp, localized pain could be a sign of a lung problem. And if you have any doubt about whether you should get medical help for chest pain, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

Rashes
Minor rashes are part of life, and no cause will be found for many of them. Use common sense to treat symptoms—taking an antihistamine or applying hydrocortisone cream can help with itching, for example—and think about new products or foods you’ve come in contact with so you can try to avoid a recurrence. Have you used any new shampoos? Is the rash only on the legs (in that case, think plant allergy)? Only on areas exposed to the sun? Only on areas under clothing?

When to worry about rashes: If an itchy rash comes on suddenly while taking a medicine (particularly an antibiotic) or eating a new food, seek immediate medical attention, especially if you also have shortness of breath or difficulty swallowing. It could be the start of a life-threatening allergic reaction. Also, if the itching is unbearable despite over-the-counter treatment, you might need something stronger, like a short course of steroids.

Here are few things that should always prompt an urgent medical visit: chest pain or pressure that you cannot localise with one finger and comes back every time you exercise; the worst headache of your life; intense abdominal pain, particularly if accompanied by fever; and shortness of breath severe enough that you have trouble finishing a sentence. Experts observed that this list is not complete, but these symptoms should set off immediate alarms.


This story was published in Newswatch Times on September 5, 2015.

Local pharmaceutical manufacturers reiterate SOS appeal

… Organise forum for stakeholders

The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN) has reiterated pleas for an adjustment tax of 20 percent to be immediately imposed on imported finished pharmaceutical products as it applies to other sectors where Nigeria has capacity as allowed by the Common External Tariff (CET).

Also, under the National List within the CET, the group proposed that input into pharmaceutical manufacturing (raw materials, excipients and packaging) should be allowed to be imported at zero per cent by bonafide pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Chairman of PMG-MAN, Mr. Okey Akpa made the call on Tuesday, while announcing the 4th Pharma Manufacturers EXPO 2015 which will be taking place at The Haven, Oba Akinjobi Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos from September 7 to 9.

Over 120 exhibitors are expected from France, Germany, India and other countries to the EXPO with the theme: Nigerian Pharmaceutical Industry and International Competitiveness.

L-R: CEO, Topway Pharm Industry Limited, Mrs. Olamide Adegbenro;
Managing Director, JAWA Group, v. Verghese; and Chairman, Pharmaceutical
Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN),
 Okey Akpa; CEO/Managing Director of Chi Pharmaceuticals Limited, Steve Onya;
and Nnamdi Okafor, Managing Director of May & Baker at the media briefing to
herald the 4th Pharma Manufacturers EXPO 2015, held in Ikeja, Lagos on Tuesday.
Akpa said: “We are also expecting companies from West African countries to be part of the exhibition.”
The Nigeria Pharma Manufacturers Expo 2015 as usual presents a unique opportunity for stakeholders in the health sector as well as related industries, food, beverages, toiletries and cosmetics to exchange information, products, services and ideas.

The EXPO will be a platform for new business opportunities, exposure to new formulations, latest machinery and equipment as well as serve as a catalyst for technology transfer. Over 3,000 participants and guests especially healthcare professionals from Nigeria and ECOWAS countries will be attending the forum.

In addition, Akpa said relevant ministries, departments and agencies of government such as the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the Bank of Industry (BOI) are expected to participate.

While lamenting on the grave implication of Common External Tariff (CET) to the pharmaceutical industry, he stressed the need to protect the local pharmaceutical manufacturers and encourage industrialization as self-sufficiency in essential medicines has national security implications.

He further warned that unless there is urgent intervention, the CET will lead to over a million job cuts in the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry.

The PMG- MAN boss also noted the responsibility of government to cushion the effect of diseases on the economic, social and political stability of the country cannot be shifted on imported medicines.
Akpa said: “We hereby re-iterate the need to protect the local pharmaceutical manufacturers and encourage industrialization as self-sufficiency in essential medicines has national security implications.

“Our position remains that Nigeria’s responsibility to minimise the effect of diseases on the economic, social and political stability of the country cannot be abdicated to imported medicines.”
He therefore recommended for an import adjustment tax of 20 per cent on imported finished pharmaceutical products of HS Codes 3003 & 3004 should be imposed immediately as applied to other sectors where Nigeria has capacity as allowed by the CET.

In addition, under the National List within the CET, input into pharmaceutical Manufacturing (Raw materials, Excipients and packaging) should be allowed to be imported at zero per cent by bonafide Pharmaceutical Manufacturers.

According to him, his PMG-MAN has made representations to government and hope that the issue which he described as an anomaly will receive redress expeditiously to avoid the collapse of the pharmaceutical industry. His word: “We have made representations to Government and we have expectations that the Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari will redress this anomaly expeditiously to avoid the collapse of the pharmaceutical industry.”

The PMG-MAN Chairman further said that it is collaborating with West African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (WAPMA), Word West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) adding that the ECOWAS Commission is organizing a special forum on the impact of ECOWAS Common External Tariff on Pharmaceutical Manufacturing in West Africa.

“The forum has been conceptualized as a platform for key stakeholders and policy makers in the ECOWAS Region to exchange information and ideas towards policy options to support pharmaceutical manufacturing sector in ECOWAS especially as the Common External Tariff is being implemented.”

He also announced that the forum will hold September 10, at the Westown Hotels, Ikeja, adding that the President, ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Kadre Desire Ouedraogo is expected to be the guest of honour at the forum.

On his part, Managing Director, JAWA Group, V. Verghese, advised that Nigeria should follow the current world trend of diversification and inclusiveness rather than reversing to monopoly which will give rise to cartels and syndicates. He therefore condemned a situation where the MDDC will hijack the entire distribution network.

Contributing, Nnamdi Okafor, Managing Director of May & Baker, warned that implementation of CET as it is will work against government’s present policy of industrialisation. He condemned the development whereby people are told not to pay tariffs on finished imported products whereas local producers are asked to pay tariffs on raw materials.

The lack of demand for locally manufactured medicines as a result of cheap imports will lead to idle capacities and negatively impact previous investment in the sector worth over N300 billion naira. A weak local manufacturing sector will inevitably lead to an influx of cheap imported medicines of doubtful quality,” Okafor further cautioned.


This story was published in Newswatch Times on September 4, 2015.

Ambode commissions 20 mobile care units, 26 transport ambulances

…Says service will be free for Lagosians

Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, on Monday commissioned 20 Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU) Ambulances and 26 Transport Ambulances, saying it was in fulfillment of his administration’s commitment to bring quality healthcare service closer to the people particularly during emergency situations.
The Governor who spoke at the Lagos State House, Ikeja, said that the commissioning of the ambulances, which will be deployed free of charge for Lagosians, was part of his pledge to run a government that will leave no one behind.

“In my inaugural address I pledged my total commitment to run a government that will leave no one behind; a government that will implement programmes that make life simpler, easier and happier for our people, Today we are launching the free ambulance service as a demonstration to that pledge”, he said.

He said the acquisition of the new ambulances was also in consonance with his administration’s mantra to run a government of continuity with improvement.

Ambode hands over 46 new mobile intensive care unit
and transport ambulances


“I recall with much satisfaction, the great strides we have witnessed in the health section in the last 16 years; commencing from the foundational leaps of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the significant landmarks of Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN)”, the Governor said.

He said that the government is commencing with 26 Transport Ambulances that would be stationed at the 26 General Hospitals within the state for easy access, adding that his administration has restructured the State Emergency Ambulance Services and increased the fleet of new Mobile Intensive Care Units by 20, bringing the total number to 33 units.

He further said that the feat would widen the coverage of their services beyond the metropolis to the hinterland within the state.

“We have restructured the State Emergency Ambulance Services and increased the fleet of new Mobile Intensive Care Units by 20 bringing the total number to 33 MICUs. This will widen the coverage of our services beyond the metropolis to the hinterland within the state. In total, we are launching 46 new ambulances today”, he said.

The Governor also revealed that he has given approval for the recruitment of more paramedic staff and special medical coordinators to ensure 24 hours service to the citizens.
He also restated his commitment to upgrade the General Hospitals within the state and embark on the construction of a Medical Park.

“Our Medical Directors have renewed their commitment to ensure that their services are available 24-7 to ensure a good linkage with the new ambulance services. Drugs are to be made available more effectively at all our General Hospitals than before”.

“All our General Hospitals will now have new mobile X-Ray machines to reduce the cost of patients doing X-Ray outside the hospitals. Equipment is on the way”, he said.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Mrs. Modele Osunkiyesi, said the acquisition of the Mobile Intensive Care Units was a fall out of the stakeholders meeting with the Governor.

She said 41 days ago, a public health stakeholders’ meeting was held at the behest of the Governor at which deliberations focused around immediate challenges being faced by each stakeholders, adding that the outcome was the acquisition of the ambulances.

In the same vein, Governor Ambode also handed over 10 brand new Hilux vehicles and 15 motorbikes to the Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, saying it was in furtherance of the state government’s commitment to ensure a crime free Lagos state.

The Governor’s Deputy, Mrs. Oluranti Adebule, who handed over the vehicles to the Police charged them to utilise the vehicles judiciously to enhance security of lives and properties in the state.

Responding, the Commissioner of Police thanked the Governor for the gesture, just as he assured that the vehicles will be deployed to improve the crime prevention strategy of the force.


This story was published in Newswatch Times on September 4, 2015.

Nestlé restates commitment to shape the future with adequate nutrition

Nestlé Nigeria Plc has emphasized the importance of investment in nutrition for optimal growth of Nigerian workforce.

Speaking weekend, in Lagos, Managing Director / CEO of Nestle Nigeria Plc, Mr. Dharnesh Gordhon at a Paediatric Nutrition Symposium held for healthcare professionals in Lagos to address the importance and relevance of protein in child health and nutrition, said “ we believe adequate investment in Protein is a very important core business to engage in, and is lifelong dividend both to individuals and country at large.

“ This symposium has been put today for healthcare professionals with information on the latest science and developments in early childhood nutrition through publications, workshops, scientific conferences and digital media for the growth of the workforce of this nation”.

He continued: “We need to continually educate health workers on science-based nutrition because science is dynamic” Professor James Renner, Executive Board Member of the Nestle Africa, presented on the theme “Shaping the future: Proteins in Paediatrics”.

Category Manager Nutrition Nestle Nigeria Plc Dr Rizwan Yousuf,
Pediatrician Dr Omotunde Ogunlaja, Professor Christy Okoromah,
and Dr Cecila Mabogunje a Pediatrician
at Nestle Nutrition Symposium held in Lagos, recently
The first 1000 days of a child’s life, which covers pre-pregnancy and the first two years of a child’s life, is a crucial period for healthy growth and development in terms of immunity and brain development. The right feeding practices in early childhood support the establishment of healthy eating habits. Early nutrition also impacts a child’s risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing related health problems later in life.

Breast milk is undisputed the best nutritional start a baby can have. This is why Nestlé supports and promotes the World Health Organization’s recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of a child’s life, followed by the introduction of nutritious complementary foods along with sustained breastfeeding until two years and beyond.

At the symposium, healthcare professionals were presented with new science that shows that breast milk protein is the most important nutrient for infants. Its low quantity and unique composition influence all aspects of growth and development and have a long term impact on health. Studies have shown that inadequate levels, and inappropriate quality, of protein in infancy can lead to long term health issues, including obesity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

The first 1000 days provide the greatest opportunity for securing a healthy and productive future through the right nutrition and feeding practices. Ensuring adequate protein intake is one of the beneficial nutrition interventions impacting long term health.

Nestlé is committed to help children to develop their full potential and live healthier lives by providing science-based product solutions and education services, addressing specific nutritional needs of consumers – such as pregnant women, infants and toddlers. Continued nutrition education for healthcare professionals is part of the company’s global commitment to promote good nutrition practices.


This story was published in Newswatch Times on September 4, 2015.

NAFDAC arraigns two counterfeiters in Rivers

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has arraigned two persons in Federal High Court, Port Harcourt for producing and selling fake products.

One of the accused, Tochukwu Michael was arrested by NAFDAC Officials at No. 6, Ekulumiri Abosi Awada, Anambra State for producing and selling Maxiquine Triple Action Syrup for children. He was accused of a five-count charge of producing and been in possession of fake and unregistered Maxiquine Triple Action syrup for children.

The offence contravene Section 1 (a) of the counterfeit and Fake Drugs and Unwholesome processed Foods (Miscellaneous Provision) Act cap C34 LFN 2004 and punishable under Section 3 (1) (a) of the same Act.

The offence is also contrary to section 1 of the food, Drugs and related products Registration (etc) Cap F 33 LFN 2004 and punishable under section 6 (1) of the same acct.

The second accused; Onyekachukwu Bartholomew Okafor of No. 2 Road, Ebemma Ogbot-Hill, Aba, Abia State was slammed with a three-count charge of selling and distributing unregistered cosmetic product – Cormat renew cold water starch contrary to section 1 (1) of the food, Drug and related products (Registration etc) Act Cap F33, Laws of Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the section 6 (1) (a) of the same Act.

Okafor was arrested by NAFDAC officials sometime in April at Aba, Abia State while perpetrating the illegal act.

The two accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them. The prosecuting counsel Umar Shamaki asked the court to remand them in prison custody.

The oral bail application made by the second accused counsel was rejected by the presiding Judge; Justice I. E. Ekwo, he however ordered the two accused to be remanded in federal prison in the respective state where the offence was committed and their case files remitted to the Federal High Court in the states pending the resumption of courts from vacation.

NAFDAC counsel Umar Shamaki noted that the first accused, Tocukwu Michael is a notorious and unrepentant counterfeiter who was once arrested in Onitsha for counterfeiting cough syrup and while he was still on bail he continued with his nefarious act of faking drug products.

He said that the Director General’s stance of zero tolerance to counterfeit and unwholesome products predisposes that NAFDAC will not relent in prosecuting offenders.


This story was published in Newswatch Times on September 4, 2015.

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