Sunday, 14 July 2019

How Myths, Misconception, Others Mar Family Planning Acceptance In Badagry Community

As Nigeria joins to mark the World Population Day tomorrow, CHIOMA UMEHA who recently interacted with community leaders in Badagry Local Government Area of Lagos State on family planning writes that myths and misconceptions seriously contributing to the wrong perception of the practice thereby militating against the realisation of its noble goals in the country.

In spite of the role of family planning in reducing the health risks for women and children, improving the quality of life by increasing opportunities to access education, nutrition, employment and effective utilisation of scarce resources, many factors bedevilled its successful implementation in many communities.
Sharing her experience with DAILY INDEPENDENT recently, Mrs Salami Sidikat Iyabo, the Family Planning Manager, in Badagry Local Government Area of Lagos State, said that some myths, misconception, and superstition are among many of the factors that account for the poor state of affairs in Badagry Local Government Area (LGA). Iyabo’s revelation did not come as a surprise as DAILY INDEPENDENT further learnt that fertility rate in Badagry area reached an all-time high such that a girl of 17 years could be having her second child, while access to education about family planning was low.
The Family Planning Manager while confirming this situation attributed this to low acceptance of family planning. Identifying one of such misconceptions, Mrs. Iyabo said that many residents in Badagry still believe that a woman who practises family planning would not be able to have children again. To disabuse their minds, Mrs. Iyabo said that she had to organise counselling programmes with the assistance of Marie Stopes International which lasted for three days.
“We let them know that not all Family Planning methods lead to permanent infertility; that it is only the Implant. We let them know that there might be some side effects of family planning, but they must let us know about it immediately so that we can counsel and treat or stop it if necessary or even change it to another method,” she stated.
Another problem the Family Planning Manager encountered was that family planning did not enjoy the support of many husbands. She said she had to develop the strategy of visiting Community Development Associations (CDAs) meetings and the community leaders such as the Iyalojas (market leader) and Baales (community heads) to address them on family planning.
“When I am called up to address them, I urge them to go back to the community and say something positive about family planning because I learnt that many men, our Babas, don’t support it.
“I then explained everything to the men, the community leaders and everyone, the traditional ruler promised me that from that time he would try to counsel young couples. This is because they thought that if they do family planning, their wives would not be able to become pregnant again. I said, ‘No, this is not right.’ So one day, we showcased some people that had done family planning, and also had children in between the family planning. Since then ‘Baba’ the traditional ruler usually involve me in outreaches in Badagry communities during which we encourage couples to use family planning.
“So we now have the traditional ruler’s support; there is no more issue with that although there are some people that still insist that their wives should not go for anything,” she said.
“Another objection to family planning was that some of them use to say that their culture forbids it. They said that if a woman refuses to give birth to all the children she is meant to give birth to, even if 25 she would become fat and burst if she tries to stop it,” she said.
Contributing, Elder Kuponu Ebenezer, Chairman, Badagry CDA, confirmed that some women in the area do not believe in family planning.
He said, “Some of them do not even believe that family planning works because I use to listen to a radio programme especially if am not going anywhere. The family planning programme is aired every Tuesday on Radio Lagos, ‘Sheri Gbo.’
Declaring his support for family planning, he said, “I’m aware of family planning and urge my women to go for it. Christians believe in family planning, while Muslims believe in child spacing. So you see, family planning enables couples to enjoy longevity. Even some of them would say, ‘I’m not going to give birth to more than three.”
“Elder Ebenezer, CDC Badagry Chairman, further explained, “When I got married, my wife told me, my dear I don’t want to have more than three children. I said why, she said, my mother had seven and training them became an issue. I said, let us have more than that and she said, no, that it is three that she wants. I said okay. When we got three children, we all hands up. So she did family planning. It was discussed and we agreed and after the third one, she went for family planning. I am at rest now. Family planning is helping a lot because I have trained the third one, he is almost finishing his degree now. If the third one graduates now, I will be ready to eat the fruit of my labour.
”Many husbands have understood that giving birth to many children is not easy, especially in this regime because of economic recession. So if you have too many children, you will not be able to train all to the level you want them to be, but if you have three or four, that would be okay for you to train. So that is why I said this family planning issue is even the best. Our fathers in the olden days didn’t have these opportunities; they just continue to give birth. Maybe because they were doing farming work then; they marry many wives for many children. I`ve been going from ward to ward, community by community to preach this gospel we are preaching now, so may God help us.”
On his part, Alhaji Kolade Ogungbe, CDC Badagry West, said he discusses family planning in their community meetings. “We always discuss family when we meet every month. When we go home we tell our wives what they said about family planning. Now everybody has learnt many things, we don’t need to preach much before they engage in it.
For Mrs. Toviho Caroline Kofoworola, CDA, Ejo Meji Badagry, there is no culture that restricts women from using Family Planning. She said, “Family planning works, the only issue is the one that happened to me when I was using the injection that my menses used to show two times a month. Some people that are aware and are using it realise that it is good and they are happy. Some women say that when they use these family planning tablets, they usually have a headache, so because of this, some are not ready to use it. Then during my own time too, what happened to me happened to another person, they said that when they use it they do have their menstrual period twice in a month and it suppose not to be so.
“So I now advise other women in my community on the one I have used which is an injection. I tell them that after taking the injection that I I was ok. So instead of stopping it, go for another option, so some of them now change to another method in line with my advice.
“Family planning is not new; the thing is that majority of couples here are illiterate. Not all of them are aware, but they are not ready to accept family planning. Some women are even going without their husbands’ consent. It is only the IUD which many of them call, ‘rope’ that some husband on detecting it would say, Ha! What is this? Not all men like IUD.
“But some women wisely avoid going to the family planning centres openly for tablet, coil or injection. So they go in secret. This is because the woman knows what she is facing; she knows she is in trouble if she continues to give birth every year, so she wants to save her life, she doesn’t want to die at a young age. So she may secretly go to a family planning centre and tell the officers in charge that “I want this and I want that, how can I do it, which one will you do for me that my husband will not detect?”
“Instead of having six, seven children, she can have three or four. A couple who has four children at the age of 30 or 35 automatically before they get to the age of 50 would have trained them all and be free, you will even be collecting gifts in kind or cash from your children too.”
On his part, Evangelist Ezekiel Ogunyemi, Community Development Chairman (CDC) Olorunola, Ibereko community, said, “It would be good for us have a programme that encompasses all women so that all these things can be discussed orally. Invariably, it is not new to majority of our members, but where we have problems is that some of our women prefer to go alone, without their husband.
“I support family planning. I have two children and I don’t want more than that. I decided to have two children because my late brother left liabilities for me. The point now is that I am the one taking the responsibility for my late brother’s children upkeep. That is why I keep telling my children that their little salary cannot solve the problem of many children; you better engage in family planning now. I also remind them that I was able to give (them) my children the best because I and my wife adopted family planning.”

Pharmacists Advocate Campaign, Rehabilitation To End Drug Abuse

Chioma Umeha

The Board of Fellows (BOF) of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has reaffirmed that only widespread intervention involving every stakeholders led by pharmacists would curb high incidence of drug and substance abuse in the country.
The pharmacy group said that the intervention includes advocacy, campaign against drug abuse and rehabilitation of victims which would reduce the adverse effect of the scourge.
Addressing journalists at a press conference in Lagos to announce the 2019 BOF- PSN mid-year lecture and first public lecture, Chairperson, BOF, Prof. Mbang Nyong Femi-Oyewo said that the body is positioned to interface with the policymakers and opinion shapers for the advancement of the pharmacy profession in addition to tackling drug abuse.
Femi-Oyewo said, “It is no longer news that the incidence of drug/substance abuse in Nigeria has assumed an epidemic dimension especially among children/adolescent and youths, which calls for widespread intervention. As a result of the threat posed by the scourge, the BOF unfolded a holistic approach of combating this problem at last year’s Mid-Year Meeting.
“As you are all aware, pharmacists are custodians of medicines which include drugs, vaccines and biological. It has therefore become very necessary for the BOF to get involved in checkmating this menace through Advocacy, Campaign against Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation of victims of Drug Abuse. Remember our children and youths are our future and harbinger of progress,” the Professor of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology added, saying, “They must – Think wise, Act Smart and Say ‘No’ to Drugs.”
Announcing the theme of the public lecture as, ‘Rebirth Of Nigeria: Harnessing The Great Potentials,’ the Consultant Pharmacist said rhetorically that Nigeria is indeed a great nation with great potentials, but the question is, how do we harness, grow and sustain these potentials?
The astute scholar and distinguished academic said the essence of the lecture and mid-year meeting of the BOF is to afford the Fellows an opportunity to examine the positions of the Board, PSN and profession and strategise for their better positioning.
Femi-Oyewo continued, “It is also a time to participate in national discuss and make our contributions. The Board through her mandate promotes lectures on issues of contemporary importance within and outside the profession of Pharmacy.”
The astute pharmacist said that Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari a world-class scholar, diplomat and Nigeria’s foremost Ambassador to the United Nations shall deliver this year’s BOF-PSN mid-year lecture.
“I am confident the lecture will be incisive and discerning. It will be a good tool for unlocking and harnessing the great potentials of this great nation and the Chairman of the Public Lecture is Chairman, Guaranty Bank Plc. Mrs. Osaretin Afusat Demuren,” she added.
On his part,  Pharm (Sir) Nnamdi H. Obi, Chairman,  Planning Committee, mid-year meeting, Board of Fellows (BOF) of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) announced that  111 New Fellows will be formally received as members into the BOF-PSN at the august event.
Obi, who is a seasoned industrial pharmacist, explained that the event would be an opportunity to recognise and reward industry not only among pharmacist, but in other fields.
He said, “Over the years, some of our colleagues and organsations have worked hard to improve the lot of humanity. We have identified some of them for recognition and decoration.”
According to him, the selection for this year’s awards emphasise the theme and therefore accommodates organisations that benefit such distinction as harnessing the great potentials that Nigeria presents.
The event will hold at Sheraton hotel, Ikeja Lagos from Tuesday, July 16, 2019, to Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Nigerians Deserve Access To Genuine Drugs –Adekola

Chioma Umeha

I congratulate you on your successful hosting of the 38th Annual National Conference of the ACPN. Could you briefly tell us something about the conference?
It gives me great joy to welcome all members to the proceedings of the 38th Annual National Conference of the foremost technical group of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN). Over time, we have strived to evolve as the flagship and conscience of the Pharmacy profession in Nigeria. I believe we have kept faith with this posture by upholding and consolidating the gains of past leaders of the ACPN (formerly, Nigerian Association of General Practice Pharmacist (NAGPP).
We shall exploit this discourse to critically evaluate some contemporary subject matters in the health sector and more specifically Pharmacy practice.

Briefly, what are the issues?
Redressing the Menace of Drug Abuse and Misuse in Nigeria is one. The ACPN and other major blocs as well as interest groups have taken the lead in bringing the challenges of drug abuse and misuse to front burners in the last few months to encourage government at all levels and critical stakeholders appreciate the immensity of the aberration that confronts us as a people. The social menace which is boosted by challenges of unemployment and under-employment of youths and even the elderly deserves more serious handling if we shall not be held responsible for raising a new generation of drug addicts. The ACPN therefore finds it necessary once again to call on the National Assembly to see an urgent need to amend the NDLEA Act to give room for more professional engagement of registered Pharmacists in the day to day management of this very sensitive drug regulatory agency.
Specifically, the NDLEA must be structured to have a Directorate of Consumer Enlightenment and Protection which must be headed by a registered Pharmacist because of his widely acclaimed expertise as drug expert. This directorate will be activated to champion unprecedented advocacy in consumerism with the ultimate advantage of generating a resolve to shun drug abuse by our teeming youths and other vulnerable groups in larger society.
It is apparent that we contend with huge numbers of chronic drug abusers in the country at the moment. The NDLEA enabling Act of Parliament must therefore be tinkered with to establish Rehabilitation centres preferably along the lines of the six geo-political zones in the country. We advocate that citizens must enjoy a privilege of being taken care of by the state in grave moments like this which if poorly managed completely jeopardises their destinies.

What is your take on NAFDAC’s review of drug registration tariffs and related matters?
One of the most topical issues in the media remains reference to the possibility of an imminent hike in drug prices which might be as high as 100 percent. The PSN Lagos State branch in particular raised the issue at a Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Roundtable where hindrances to running smooth healthcare businesses were evaluated. It is important to appreciate the immediate response of the Governing Council of NAFDAC which suspended the 350 percent raise in the registration of drugs and other regulated products within the purview of NAFDAC. The ACPN believes the NAFDAC Secretariat continues to march on the right path in setting an agenda of excellence in the totality of regulatory process and controls. This success story however can only be boosted when critical stakeholders are on the same page with NAFDAC in the formulation and execution of policies.
The Governing Council of NAFDAC has called for stakeholders’ engagement in the review of drug registration tariffs which is a step in the right direction. We at ACPN strongly urge NAFDAC to make these consultations all-encompassing as usual to include the relevant technical groups of the PSN and of course the PSN as umbrella template for all practitioners of goodwill. This is the time to decisively come to terms of settlement with regards to service and orphan drugs which continue to unsettle a vast majority of ACPN members and those who seek their unavoidable services for wellness. The ACPN proposes that the committee of stakeholders which will be party to reviewing tariffs be made a Standing Committee of the profession/players, this logically will reduce the recurrence of stress junctions in our affairs.
Could you give an update on Presidential Assent of the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria Bill 2017?
History will never forget the sacrificial closure of our premises on the May 7, 2019 to protest the delay in signing the much anticipated Pharmacy Council Bill 2017 which was, as at the time, in the “Bermuda Triangle”. For the first time in history of Nigeria, the Community Pharmacies laid down their tools to speak out for Nigerians. The level of compliance all over the federation, the importance ascribed to it and the seriousness with which ACPN members, including elders, enrolled to implement the resolution of NEC, made one feel nostalgic.
Although the bill is yet to be signed by President Muhammadu Buhari the good news is that the bill has been found, kudos to the chairman of the occasion, Gen. Buba Marwa, for his unrelenting effort in favour of the bill.
Since the commencement of the second term of our dear President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration on May 29, 2019 we have observed that a number of bills from the eighth National Assembly have continued to receive Presidential assent. This is certainly good for the country particularly because we do not need to squander our lean resources on development that would ameliorate our cycle of un-productivity in many regards.
The value chain of drug distribution network is in complete tatters particularly because of the unresolved challenges of fake drugs and drug abuse which continue to impose very substantial morbidity and mortality on consumers of health.
Some of the inherent benefit package of the PCN Bill just for the sake of emphasis in summary is that it redresses poor regulatory control in the affairs of practitioners and the facilities they run by giving specific powers to authorisation to enforce to PCN and its pharmaceutical inspectors.
Second is the streamlining and giving due recognition to all cadres of practitioners within the ambit of PCN. The Satellite Pharmacy concept has the potential of boosting Good Pharmacy Practice (GPP) as Registered Pharmacists who have defined practice experience can offer services to consumers through professional linkages.
Third, the PCN Bill takes cognizance of global best practices by empowering the pharmacy workforce from primary care to tertiary care level. This will help to stem the tide of drug abuse and faking because drug stocks would gradually become the prerogative of trained hands.
The PCN Bill remains a highly sought after treasure that opens all doors of restriction that hitherto confined pharmacy practice to the back doors of monumental failure. We therefore encourage President Muhammadu Buhari to give assent to the PCN Bill in the ultimate public interest.

What are your plans for ACPN projects and the future of Community Pharmacy Practice?
The dream of every Community Pharmacist is to have a Pharmacy that leaps with age; fortified against drought and independent of the owner. As this dream comes to fruition, others emerge, especially that of sustainability of this going concern in the event of the owner’s demise; what happens when life happens, as it certainly will.
When we took off about one year ago we decided on the need for the first ever Community Pharmacy Summit in pursuance of our Trans-generational Community Pharmacy agenda. I am proud to report that we have copies of the proceedings of that very successful summit for our members and indeed posterity at this conference. We have put up requisite structures including Committees to drive the various resolutions at the ACPN Summit 2018.
In the months ahead in apocalyptic terms we shall aspire to deliver in the reflected areas which are not limited to the following; A labelling initiative for Community Pharmacists; Access to genuine drugs as a right of the Nigerian citizens and Regularisation of drug distribution channels.

NMIR DG Wants Nigeria To Adopt Bioinfomatics In Fight Against Diseases

Chioma Umeha

Prof. Babatunde Salako, the Director General, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), has called on Nigerians to embrace science and technology of Bioinformatics as core component to achieve Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and to overcome the prevailing disease burdens in the country.
Addressing participants at the first Nigerian Bioinformatics Conference, participants who gathered at the Conference Hall of the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) penultimate weekend to discuss innovative ways of introducing Bioinformatics into the various segments of the healthcare industry, Salako said Africa, especially Nigeria, cannot be left out in the technological revolution that is ongoing around the world.
Prof Salako who spoke through Dr. Oliver Ezechi, Principal Investigator, NIMR, said the conference was critical in bringing international researchers together for the purpose of exploring the potentials of Bioinformatics and Genomics technologies through research collaboration and scientific innovations in Africa.
Bioinformatics is the science of storing, retrieving and analysing large amounts of biological information. It is a highly interdisciplinary field involving many different types of specialists, including biologists, molecular life scientists, computer scientists and mathematicians.
Prof. Salako, who was the host for the two-day international conference, explained further that Bioinformatics represents a new era of applied science involving multiple disciplines such as biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics and computer science.
According to him, Bioinformatics enables organisation, storage, retrieval and analyses of biological data to obtain actionable information for health policy and development of diagnostics, drugs and vaccines.
He, however, listed some factors which could hinder the implementation of Bioinformatics in the Nigeria, such as: “Lack of dedicated Bioinformatics laboratories; low quality computer system; poor internet connectivity in many tertiary institutions in Nigeria; erratic power supply, and limited number of trained Bioinformatics/computational biologists”.
The Convener of the conference and President, Nigerian Bioinformatics &Genomics Network (NBGN), Dr. Segun Fatumo, disclosed the motive behind the conference, noting that they want to close the existing gap in the delivery of healthcare in Nigeria.
Dr. Fatumo, who is also a scientist, at the School of Technical Medicine, University of London, UK, admitted the knowledge of Bioinformatics in Nigeria presently is very low, because people have little awareness of what is going on, they are not well grounded on this area. “This explains reasons for the conference, which will expose them to happenings in other places and how they will be able to apply that method to their own area research”.
For Professor Adenike Oshofisan, University of Ibadan, one of the keynote speakers, the need to develop the Agricultural system for effective production of healthy food items through the use of sequencing and genomics, is paramount.
She explained that sequencing is about technology, which is useful in controlling flood, pests, inadequate water, and other natural hazards in agriculture.
In enhancing agricultural produce, we use sequencing and genomics to develop them, and it has been discovered that genetically modified products are usually pest resistance, even if when we have the issue of pest, we are not going to lose all our crops.
So we need to do a lot of research in this area, to create crops that will not need too much water, so that if there is water scarcity, the crops will still grow.”
Other keynote speakers at the international conference are: Prof. Nicki Tiffin, University of Cape Town; Prof. Ezekiel F. Adebiyi, projects principal investigator and head, Covenant University Bioinformatics Research Group; Prof. Christian Happi, Redeemer’s University; Prof. Oyekanmi Nash, director, Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics Department at the Nationall Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA);
Prof. Mayowa Owolabi, dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, University of Ibadan, and pioneer director, Centre for Genomics and Precision Medicine, University of Ibadan; and Raphael D Isokpehi, Bethune-Cookman University, Florida, USA.

Akinkugbe Canvasses For 0.2% Pre-Tax Profit For Health Fund

Chioma Umeha
Emeritus Professor Oladipo Akinkugbe has called on the federal government to set up a Nigeria Health Fund which the private sector will be compelled to pay 0.2% of their pre-tax profit into. He made the call after he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 6th Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award (NHEA 2019) in Lagos. The award was presented by the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Engr. (Mrs.) Noimot Salako-Oyedele.
According to a statement weekend signed by Moses Braimah, Director, Marketing, Communication, & Strategy
Dr. Stella Okoli, Group Managing Director of Emzor Pharmaceutical and Professor Eyitayo Lambo, former Minister of Health were also given the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Akinkugbe who went nostalgic, gave an account of how similar fund(s) was set up in the past, both in local and foreign currencies, but was frittered away by a past military regime. The amount raised was so huge that it was almost higher than the Nigerian budget. He believes with such fund in place, all levels of Nigeria healthcare system will be revitalized and transformed if well utilized.
Dr. Anthony Omolola, Chairman NHEA Advisory Board in his remarks said, “NHEA has continued to receive increasing acceptance by stakeholders because of its integrity. We got about 6,000 nominations this year. This is over 300% increase compared to nominations received in 2018.”
“The large number of guests and nominees present here today is a further attestation to this.” Omolola added.
Other notable individuals and organisations who were recognized and celebrated at the health award ceremony include; Dr. Mohammed Ali Pate and Dr. Ayobami Aranmolate who were given special recognition for leadership in the reduction of polio in Nigeria and revolution in cosmetic surgery in Nigeria respectively. Grofin Nigeria, Access Bank, Smile 360 Dental, GE, UCH Ibadan, Eye Foundation, Healthplus, May & Baker, DCL laboratory, Clinix, etc. were also winners in different award categories. Below is a roll call of all winners.
PharmAccess Foundation sponsored the PharmAccess Outstanding Safecare Facility of the Year category.
NHEA is organized by Global Health Projects & Resources in collaboration with Anadach Group, USA.

Emeritus Professor Akinkugbe, Okoli, Nasarawa State, Others Shine At Sixth NHEA Edition

Chioma Umeha and LUCY SAMUEL

Emeritus Professor Oladipo Olujimi Akinkugbe, Dr. Stella Chinyelu Okoli and Prof. Eyitayo Lambo were the three eminent persons who cart home the Lifetime Achievement prize of the sixth edition of Nigeria Health Care Excellence Award (NHEA).
The award which held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos weekend, also bestowed the special recognition award on Dr. Mohammed Pate for providing leadership in the reduction of polio in Nigeria, while Dr. Aranmolate Ayobami received his for the revolution of cosmetic surgery in Nigeria.
The event which had several doctors, hospital administrators, pharmacists, owners of health management organisations (HMOs), captains of industry and stakeholders in the health sector in attendance also awarded ‘Outstanding CSR Health Project of the Year’ to Healing Stripes Hospital for providing free dialysis for the less-privileged.
Also, Nasarawa State won the Outstanding State Government Healthcare Programme of the Year award for Establishment of model comprehensive Primary Health Centre, Kwandere.
Similarly, the Outstanding Healthcare Project-Friendly Financial Institution of the Year went to GroFin Nigeria and Access Bank Plc.
Furthermore, Healthcare Media Excellence Award for print went to Pharmanews, while Nigeria Health Watch won the NHEA Award for Healthcare Media Excellence Award for the Online.
Moreover, Nurses on Air (Pinnacle Health Radio), took home the award for Healthcare Media Excellence Award for the Broadcast, whereas Lily Hospitals, Warri won Private Healthcare Provider of the Year.
The Private Laboratory Service Provider of the Year was awarded to SYNLAB and Clinix Healthcare won Radiology Service Provider of the Year.
Likewise, Total Health Trust Limited (A Member of Liberty Holdings South Africa) was awarded Health Maintenance Organisation of the Year, while the Innovative Healthcare Service Provider of the Year was given to CarePay Nigeria Ltd.
Additionally, Solid Rock Hospital won PharmAccess SafeCare Outstanding Facility of the Year, where The Bridge Clinic was awarded IVF Service Provider of the Year.
Dialysis Service Provider of the Year was awarded to Renal Dialysis Centre, while Eye Foundation Hospital won Eye Care Service Provider of the Year.
In the same vein, Smile360 Dental Specialists was bestowed Dental Service Provider of the Year, while Physiotherapy Service Provider of the Year was given to Wellpath Physiotherapy.
Also, University College Hospital, Ibadan won Tertiary Healthcare Provider of the Year, while Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Service Award of the Year was presented to JNC International Ltd.

The rest of the winners: DCL Laboratory Products Ltd., Abuja won Laboratory Equipment Marketing Company of the Year while GE Healthcare was awarded Hospital Equipment Marketing Company of the Year.

Pharmaceutical Retail Outlet of the Year went to Healthplus Pharmacy, whereas May & Baker Nigeria Plc. won Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company of the Year.

New NAFDAC Tariff Will Hike Cost Of Medicines – Lagos PSN Boss

•Says FG Should Retain Drug Matters On Exclusive List To Avoid Abuse

Chioma Umeha
Pharm. Bolanle Adeniran, Chairman, Lagos State Branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has criticised the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for increasing drug and product registration tariff by a whopping 350 percent, warning that it would bring about grave consequences of morbidity and mortality to consumers of healthcare products in the country.
Adeniran who was quest speaker on the “Ease of Doing Healthcare Business with the National Agency For Food, Drug Administration And Control (NAFDAC), the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the Nigeria Customs Service” on Thursday, June 20, 2019 at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), explained that it would now cost N1.05 million to register a prescription only medicine up from N350,000.00, while Over The Counter (OTC) drugs have moved from a hitherto expensive N1 million to N4 million.
She said the Lagos PSN has analysed the increase and declares that there is absolutely no basis for it in terms of improvement in the economic fortunes in the industry or propensity for drastic improvement in service, or in provision of vital index in the ease of doing healthcare business in Nigeria.
“If this draconian policy is not reversed or immediately remedied, the PSN, Lagos State Branch, wishes to warn through this forum that Nigeria will experience at least a 100 per cent increase in drug prices in about six months with grave consequences of morbidity and mortality to consumers of healthcare in our nation.
“In the light of the extremely depressed economy, we contend with pricing which remains a critical element in analysing trends and development in the pharmaceutical sector because it comes down to saving lives,” the Lagos PSN boss said.
She said that NAFDAC must have invoked the spirit of Section 5(f) of the enabling Act which empowers it to “undertake the registration of foods, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled water and chemicals,” adding that even in the light of that, the Lagos PSN submits that despite the proviso of the law, matters relating to tariff reviews or increase should be treated as policy.
“We belong to the school of thought that defines policy as a deliberate system of principles to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes. A policy is a statement of intent, and is implemented as a procedure or protocol. Policies are generally adopted by the management within organisations where protocols are developed and adopted by the Executive or operating officers.
“The truth about policies is they can assist in both subjective and objective decision making. Policy differs from laws. While laws can compel like in Section 5(f) of the NAFDAC Act, policy merely guides action towards those that are most likely to achieve a desired outcome,” she explained.
Adeniran contended that while her invitation focused on the ease of doing healthcare business with NAFDAC, SON and the Nigeria Customs, a very strategic agency involved with the cost of healthcare business with regards to the pharmaceutical industry remains the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN).
“In our statute books today, the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) remains the only body in law that has a specific approbation to regulate and control Pharmacy practice in all its aspects and ramifications in Nigeria.
“This paper will be limited to the Terms of Reference which specifies NAFDAC, SON and Customs roles. In reality, SON has very insignificant roles to play in salient regulatory controls in the pharmaceutical sector. This is because most issues bordering on quality control, analysis and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in the sector are statutorily driven by NAFDAC and the PCN. The Nigeria Customs as the relevant template of the Federal Government in the collection of taxes, duties, tariffs and others is also a strategic regulator in the pharma industry,” she said.
Pharm. Adeniran said the functions and powers of the Governing Council of NAFDAC are laid down in Sections 6 & 7 of the NAFDAC Act. Perhaps one of the most potent powers of NAFDAC which gives it specific and exclusive regulatory authority in the pharma industry remains Section 5(a) which states inter-alia ‘The Agency shall have powers to regulate and control the importation, exportation, manufacture, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled water and chemicals in Nigeria. It is reasonable to infer the famous cliché which asserts the responsibility of NAFDAC to ensure a safety margin in the management of endeavours pertaining to drugs, food, cosmetics etc.’
She noted that most responsible and responsive countries place drug matters under Federal or Central control because of the need to place premium on safety and well-being of consumers of health, warning that government must never attempt to remove drug matters on the Exclusive List because of our notoriety for poor regulatory control. She said that ineffective regulatory control of pharmaceuticals continued to breed and generate fake drug syndrome and challenges of drug abuse/misuse with damning consequences of high morbidity and mortality.

Adeniran, however, noted that the leadership of pharmacists has impacted well on NAFDAC especially with the first two Director-Generals who were Pharmacists of distinction, Prof. Gabriel Osuide, FPSN and late Prof. Dora Akunyuli (FPSN). Dr. Paul Orhii held sway for four years before another eminent Pharmacist, Prof. Moji Adeyeye (FPSN), emerged as the 4th substantive Director-General of NAFDAC in late 2017. “NAFDAC continues to be one of the few strong institutions the public bureaucracy ever built with Osuide and Akunyuli excelling on the beat as Directors-General,” she said.
She said the Adeyeye-led team has also come up with a modest, but impactful output in recent months by improving the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of NAFDAC and reducing the political exposure which comes with vulnerability in the Nigerian space.
She said the height of the various reforms under Prof. Adeyeye is the ISO Certification of laboratory facilities at NAFDAC which repositioned the pharma industry especially local manufacturers to enjoy greater exports of their products in the months ahead and the positive measure of subjecting NAFDAC to the World Health Organisation (WHO) global benchmarking is also a landmark achievement in the regulatory process in healthcare business.
She said NCS apart from collecting revenue which includes excise duties and tariffs, taxes and other tariffs on behalf of the Federal Government, the agency subjects importers of drugs and pharmaceuticals recipients to processing “Form M” before they proceed to import. She explained that when the consignment arrives, the NCS sets a condition precedent of prospective importers processing PAAR (Pre-Arrival Assessment Report) before batches of goods can be cleared.
Adeniran lamented that the pharmaceutical importers are at the mercy of the NCS portal which sometimes malfunction and therefore delays the clearing process with sometimes excruciating financial consequences to the importers, adding that the other fundamental issue was that the NCS takes a position it does not charge duties on drug imports.
Pharm. Anthony Bola Oyawole, former Chairman, Lagos PSN, enjoined the LCCI to collaborate with NAFDAC to shorten the unduly long registration procedures and put in place rules of engagement to resolve challenges of the output of its hi-tech regulatory tools.
Oyawole also urged stakeholders to prevail on NAFDAC to reverse the 350 percent hike in registration fee as it would encourage fake drug dealers to bring in deadly merchandise at cheaper rates relative to expensive registered products.
He called on the Federal Government to sensitise Customs that drugs are lifesaving entities which need some level of prioritisation and that processing of “Form M” and “PAAR” must therefore be accelerated by the industry.
Oyawole urged the Federal Ministry of Finance and NCS to tidy up the tariff regime of drug recipients, imports and other gadgetry in tandem with the operating environment.

HIV: I Was Raped, Became Single Parent Due To Stigma, Adolescent Laments

Chioma Umeha
Today, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is treatable unlike three decades ago when receiving an HIV diagnosis was comparable to being handed a death sentence.
This is because advances in HIV research have led to treatments that can make the virus undetectable and nontransmissible in less than six months, though many are still ignorant of this.
New infections are on rampage among Nigerians, especially among women, as thousands are still dying of HIV-related causes despite accessible and effective treatment due to stigma.
The recently released Nigeria AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) showed that women aged between 15 and 49 years are more than twice more likely to be living with HIV than men. Consequently, women are now bearing the burden of being prospective sources of HIV infection with its associated stigma and discrimination.
Research has shown that stigma shame leads to poor health outcomes in HIV patients, and unfortunately, stigma shame is a huge problem across many Nigerian communities.
A 22-year-old girl, Adeola Ajetunmobi shared her harrowing experience of stigma and discrimination after the diagnosis of her HIV status.
She told DAILY INDEPENDENT, “From 2010, I used to have skin rashes. Prior to the rashes, I used to have cough and boil. Following the body irritation, I was always scratching my skin. As I scratched, I experienced untold pains with very big boils developing all over my body, from my head to my toe, my breast, even the vagina, everywhere. I was really in a bad state that one would think a screw driver has been used to pierce my body causing the injuries, bleeding and pores.”
Adeola referring back in time, said, “There was a time the Lagos state government under the administration of the former Governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola organised a free HIV test. So I went to run HIV test, the result showed negative. Later I when I got to know about HIV, I assumed that I must have been in the ‘window period’ when the test was conducted.
“The window period is the time between potential exposure to HIV infection and the point when the test will give an accurate result. During the window period a person can be infected with HIV and be very infectious, but still test HIV negative. The window period for a fourth generation antigen/antibody test is four weeks. At this time 95 per cent of infections will be detected. There is a three month window period after exposure, for the confirmatory result to detect more than 99.9 percent of infections.
“So from 2011, I started getting slim, I became skinny and smelly with flies perching everywhere around me because when I scratched my skin, it released blood and pores, such that sitting with anyone made them repulsive. Then I visited different Churches and anywhere I go, they will say it is an evil arrow.
Her sad narrative about being ostracised by her family can make any reader teary, “Though I am the first born in the family, my father’s relatives drove my mother and I out of the family house 13 years ago for no just cause. So, I was squatting with my friend then when the infection struck.
“In January 2013, I was not unable to cope again as my health further deteriorated and then I was almost half-dead. I was often mocked and called ‘Oku’ in Yoruba, which is literally translated to ‘living corpse’ by many acquaintances. So I had to visit Randle Hospital, Surulere in Lagos. There in Randle Hospital I fainted. Before I could recover, I found myself on the bed and placed on drip. Immediately, I thought of who to call when I fully recovered. I called an aunty, but when she said she was busy, I decided to call my friend, who is currently in the USA. She came all the way from Aguda and assisted in paying the whole bill.
“So while she was around, the doctor had told her that I was HIV positive, but I was not informed yet. I was still on the sick bed at Randle Hospital, when I received a text message from a friend of mine whom I was squatting with announcing my HIV positive status through rumour. As far as Ojuelegba, Surulere was concerned; everyone got to know my HIV status, except me as the doctor told others without my consent.”
From Randle Hospital, Adeola was transferred to the Mainland hospital, accompanied by her junior sister who is a nurse and her mother who came much later.
She said; “After 24 hours, I was referred to the Mainland General Hospital, Yaba. My condition was so critical such that the doctors were worried. This was before I was started on antiretroviral drugs. I did series of tests and my CD4 count was zero. The doctors prescribed supplements which boosted my CD4 to 1 after few days. My CD4 count later rose to 57. I was then placed on antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. What I see in it is adherence, when you keep to the rules and regulation, you will be okay.
“I spent six months in the hospital and after I was discharged, there was nowhere for me to go. I could not go back to my friend’s house, and my mother’s house was not even an option because she squats till date.
“I resolved to go back to my grandfather’s house, because that was my only option. I asked my immediate younger sister if we could manage any room in my father’s house, but she said, ‘never.’ She said that my ailment was detestable. My family was indifferent to the stigma the society made me feel. The stigma was truly horrible. Since my sister did not allow me in and fought me seriously, to the extent that she used a tin of Bournvita and stick to drum as well as chant that I am HIV positive person and I would not live in the family house.”
Adeola resolved to sleep on the corridor. Her stay on the corridor which lasted for two years led to further crisis. She discloses her rape story to DAILY INDEPENDENT, “There was a day that rain fell heavily. I had to go and meet a neighbour and tenant who happened to be a bachelor; and begged if I could be allowed to stay in his house. Of course like some men with devious lifestyle, he was fully aware of the rumour about my HIV status, but cared less, he raped me and this led to pregnancy.
That was weeks later after I was discharged when I went back to the hospital and announced I was pregnant, everyone was shocked.
The doctors couldn’t believe that I could even contemplate pregnancy in my condition, but I told them what happened, they sympathised with me. During pregnancy I had practically nothing, no money. The delivery was difficult, but I returned to the house with my baby girl. She had only four clothes and I had two clothes. I benefited from Prevention of Mother-to-child transmission of HIV, PMTCT and also did exclusive breastfeeding for her. Luckily, my baby is HIV negative.
Till today I have not seen the man who impregnated me again, even though he knew that I was pregnant.
My mother stood by me and requested to be educated about what to do and not do. I ensured my mother got tested too and thankfully she is negative. My daughter is five years and is being taken care of by my mother.”
“So if not for the stigma and discrimination, I wouldn’t be a single parent by this time at this my adolescent age. I was 17 at that time. Now I am 22. I want to do something with my life. I’m from Ogun State. My primary ambition is to go back to school because I dropped out in SS2. At times when I think about my lack of education I cry because I believe I am wasting away. I wish I can get a sponsor to do that for me. So if I see opportunity to go back to school, I will be really grateful. So my secondary ambition is to set up a business because of my child. Marriage is not a priority for me. It is not that men do not approach me, but I have no plan for marriage now, I don’t even want any love affair for now, perhaps later,” she lamented.
The experience of Adeola represents the ordeal of hundreds of people living with HIV (PLWH) in Nigeria, especially girls and women. Stigma and discrimination are among the major challenges facing PLWA. Put in Adeola’s words; “HIV does not kill, stigma does; self-stigma is even worse.”

Over 110 Nominees For 2019 NHEA Online Voting

• Lagoon, GTB, Others Nominated

Chioma Umeha
Lagos – Online voting has commenced for the Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Award (NHEA 2019) for over 110 organisations and individuals on the award platform and will end midnight.
The theme for this sixth edition is ‘bringing standard to Nigeria healthcare.’
A statement signed by Moses Braimah, Director, Marketing, Communication and Strategy said, Final nominees were selected by the NHEA Jury for e-voting following about 6,000 nominations received from the public.
Winners for each award category will be announced at a grand ballroom ceremony in Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on Friday, June 21, 2019.
Moses Braimah, NHEA Director of Communication, Marketing & Strategy says, “The over 300 percent increase in nominations received this year compared to 2018 edition has broken all previous records. It once again shows increased acceptability and confidence of stakeholders in our processes.”
“The NHEA Jury wants everyone to visit our website and vote for any nominee of their choice,” Braimah added.
Some of the nominees are, Lagoon Hospitals, Avon HMO, GE, Healthplus, GTBank, Punch newspaper, Eye Foundation, Synlab, JNCI, Clinix, Medplus Pharmacy, Total Health Trust, Hygeia, Smile 360 Dental, Sterling Bank, Renal Dialysis , Bridge Clinic, DCL Laboratory, Lily Hospital, Reddington and Healthline On Radio.
Others are, St Ives Hospitals, Nisa Premier Hospital, Zenith Medical & Kidney Centre, BeaconHill Smile Clinic, Ageless Physiotherapy, WellPath Physiotherapy, LASUTH, UCH, Emzor Pharmaceuticals, and PPC Limited.
The rest are Harmony Diagnostic Centre, CarePay, Hellocare, Havana Specialist Hospital, BOI, GroFin, Access Bank, Med Q Magazine, Pinnacle Radio, Abia State, Delta State, etc.
NHEA, the Oscar of Nigeria healthcare is supported by PharmAccess Foundation.
The award is organised by Global Health Project and Resources (GHPR) in collaboration with Anadach Group, USA.

SYNLAB Moves To Boost Preventive Health With New Lab

Chioma Umeha

SYNLAB has opened a new wellness-focused facility in Victoria Island and expanded its comprehensive medical test portfolio to offer advanced genetic testing relating to sports medicine, nutrition and pharmacology.
Apart from offering advanced diagnostic services, for which SYNLAB, formerly PathCare Laboratories, has earned a reputation of accuracy and reliability over the years, the new facility spearheads three advanced genetic tests which are designed to improve precision in the practice of personalised medicine and enhance the quality of life in Nigeria.
These tests, which are concurrently being launched in Europe, are pillars in personalised medicine and have been brought to Nigeria in line with SYNLAB’s commitment to ma MyPGx, a once-in-a-lifetime pharmacogenetic test, is designed to assist doctors to streamline the treatment of patients by personalising the choice and dosage of medication that is being prescribed.
MyPGx results effectively eliminate “trial and error” and has been proven to significantly decrease adverse drug reactions (ADRs).
Two lifestyle genetic tests were also unveiled. SportGen is aimed professional athletes and individuals who regularly partake or want to partake in physical exercise.
king cutting-edge laboratory testing accessible.
The test determines an individual’s susceptibility to tissue damage, and allows for the appropriate exercise routines to be recommended according to their genetic capability, forestalling breakdown or even death as a result of placing too much strain on the body.
NutriHealth recommends the appropriate diet and food intake to perform optimally at work or other aspects of life.
Speaking at a cocktail event where the tests were formally introduced, Dr Tolulope Adewole, Chief Medical Officer SYNLAB Nigeria, said, “We are an organisation that is committed to introducing the most innovative and comprehensive advances in diagnostic services to Nigeria.
“Unlike in the past where only outdated technologies were dumped in Africa, SYNLAB ensures that the latest technological advancements are launched in Nigeria at the same time as it is launched in Europe.
“This means that our people can have the same opportunity that people in more medically advanced countries have.
“We introduced these tests to address some disturbing trends in Nigeria. There are cases of Nigerians dying as a result of inappropriate exercise routines. Many Nigerians are using medicines that don’t work well with their bodies, while some just don’t know the right diet to get them to function optimally. Utilising these new tests, Nigerians will be better equipped to reach their full potential.”
Also speaking, Dr Adenike Sobulo, who heads the new facility, said: “We are emphasising preventive healthcare and wellness because this is the future of medicine globally. If practised properly, it should have a positive impact on our life expectancy.
“At this our ‘wellness centre’ we encourage people to take control of their health. We have always promoted health checks and screening, and have different packages to suit every pocket.
“However, these new specialised tests transform an individual’s ability to manage their wellbeing and stay healthy.”
Apart from its facility in Victoria Island, SYNLAB’s other facilities are strategically located across Nigeria with more facilities opening in 2019.

Improved Toilet Practices: The Story Of Jedawa Fulani, Yammawar-Kafawa Communities

Chioma Umeha
Global effort to ensure improved water, sanitation and hygiene conditions seems like a drop in the ocean. As at today, about 4.4 billion people do not use improved sanitation, while 2.1 billion people worldwide are still drinking unsafe water.
The new WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) reports broke the sad news that “About 2.1 billion people worldwide lack access to safe, readily available water at home, while 4.4 billion lack safely managed sanitation.”
Analysts have described the trend as a worrisome one which has pitched children worldwide up the creek. The reason they say is simple – Clean water, sanitation, good toilet and hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children.
Open defecation, unclean water, and sanitation-related diseases are some of the leading causes of death of children under the age of five. Every day, over 800 global children die from preventable diseases caused by poor Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH), the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) reports.
Perhaps, more frightening is Nigeria’s statistics of water-borne diseases among children. The report said that since the past six weeks, eleven percent of Nigerians suffered diarrhoea, stressing that 76 percent of this number were children who are under five years.
Yet poor water, sanitation and unhygienic practices such as open defecation is still highly pervasive in the country.
Little Amina Abdulahi, aged seven was pressed to use a toilet. Quickly, she strolled casually to a nearby bush and passed feces. After defecating, her tiny hands reached for a bamboo stick to clean her anus. The bamboo stick could not do a thorough cleaning, so she cut some green leaves to do the job.
As she walked leisurely home, she stepped on feces in the field which is an open defecation site for her the household. Innocently, Amina wiped her legs on the grass to clean the feces. It was not surprising that she later developed diarrhea.This is because she did not wash her hands properly and used the same hands to eat.
Speaking to DAILY INDEPENDENT, Saleh Haruna, ward head in Jedawa Fulani village, reasoned that though Amina survived from diarrhea, many children in Jedawa Fulani village were not as lucky.

Saleh said, “Water-borne diseases like acute diarrhea and cholera after persistent vomiting and stooling has claimed the lives of many people in his community, especially children.”

According to him, it is common to defecate openly in the fields in Jedawa Fulani village. Some household shave dedicated fields where both male and female, irrespective of their age, pass feces. Others in Jedawa Fulani village do not have that luxury of devoting a whole field to the act of passing feces,’ he told DAILY INDEPENDENT.

Many of them believe that passing of feces is a kind of ‘bowel relief.’ It is also a natural urge and when it comes, the utmost priority is to quickly get the relief by passing the feces in the next available corner, regardless of hygiene. Unfortunately, the village does not also have potable water.

Diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, typhoid and poliomyelitis (disease affecting brain and spinal cord) among others which are contacted through water contamination are common in the community, the Village Head bemoaned.

The picture of water, sanitation and hygiene crisis in Jedawa Fulani village is sordid and heart rending. The only source of water is from wells whose depths are between eight to 15 feet.

Confirming this, Saleh Haruna, ward head, whose major source of livelihood is animal rearing and crop farming told DAILY INDEPENDENT that well water has been the only drinking water for the residents of Jedawa Fulani village.

Corroborating, Amodu Magaji, Driver, at Dambatta LGA, pointed at one of the wells where DAILY INDEPENDENT reporter met him drawing water said, “This 40 years old well is the only source of water to many households in this part of Jedawa Fulani village. It doesn’t dry no matter the season, but it serves many households in this part of my village throughout the year. This particular well is nine feet, but there are others that are even 15 feet in depth.”
On the toilet hygiene in the community, Magaji lamented that due to poor access to improved water and sanitation, his community indulges in open defecation.
He, however, said his community is willing to use clean toilet and stop open defecation if government would assist them.
He expressed concern over the prohibitive cost of buying building materials like stone, cement and other tools required to build good toilets and boreholes, saying the government should support the community in this regard.
Jedawa Fulani village represents only one community in Dambatta LGA, Kano State, out of the Nigeria’s 764 Local Governments where open defecation is still prevalent.
Kafawa Community Embraces WASH Campaign
During on the spot assessment of Yammawar-Kafawa community also in Danbatta LGA of Kano State, it was observed that the community has embraced the WASH campaign.
Investigations showed that the over 500 residents of the community were excited at the outcome of their new found habit of using safe water, improved toilets and hygiene practices like hand washing in the last five months.
The visibly excited village head, Rabiu Usman, said, “We are happy and very determined to maintain the clean environment we now have as it has drastically reduced some of the health challenges confronting our children. “Some of the bad hygiene we practised was out of ignorance, but with this enlightenment and campaign, our community is now better off because we are now the envy of some of our neighbours.”
On further investigation, it was discovered that the community which has over 50 houses, barely had improvised latrines before the WASH intervention. However, there are now over 40 toilets in the village and more were being built in order to stop open defecation through WASH project.
In an interaction, 40 -year-old Amodu Magaji, one of the residents, who has two wives and eleven children confirmed, “We used to defecate anyhow because very few houses had toilets for 50 years. But, we now have over 40 and more toilets.”
Another fascinating thing about the new toilets is the improved sanitation and hygiene.  Investigations further showed that all the pit latrines had covers with long sticks and rubber kettles hanging in between two sticks and soap for washing hands immediately after defecating.
This new form of hand washing local technology was found almost everywhere in the village – in the only primary school, the Mosque, village square and every public place.
Commenting, Bioye Ogunjobi, UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) specialist, said that UNICEF has supported the Ministry of Water Resources to ensure access to hygiene and sanitation in 11 of the 774 LGAs in various states across the country.
Ogunjobi stated this at a recent media dialogue in Kano on sanitation and hygiene, themed; “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign organised by Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB), Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with UNICEF.
Speaking at the event which had the support of European Union (EU) and the Department for International Development (DFID), he said, “There are 11 local government areas where WASH integrated project has been successfully implemented.
“But, we are likely to have two more in Jigawa within the next one month. But, but this is a drop in the ocean, because we are talking about 774 LGAs and we have been able to address Open Defecation in only 11 LGAs with 764  of them left,” Ogunjobi added.
On how communities become free from open defecation, the WASH specialist noted, “We were able to achieve this by supporting the Federal Ministry to implement what we call, ‘Community Led Total Sanitation’ (CLTS).”
He explained that the CLTS is an approach which helps members of various communities to realise the dangers of Open Defecation (OD) and take collective decision to stop the act by building and using improved toilets.
Also, Olumide Osanyinpeju, Deputy Director, Head CRIB, FMIC, said the Federal Ministry of Water Resources with support from UNICEF, in partnership with Inter-Ministerial Agencies, Civil Society Partners, the Private Sector, and the people of Nigeria, is currently leading the Open Defecation Free (ODF) campaign to end the practice in the country by 2025, and achieve universal access to safely managed sanitation by 2030.
With 47 million defecating in the open, while 33 million of them use unimproved toilets, Nigeria is the second largest nation practising open defecation worldwide, after India, according to the findings from the 2018 WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH NORM) survey. However, analysts say, If all hands can be on deck, we can combat the unhealthy practice.

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