DG NAFDAC, National Assembly Committee Chairmen on Health Flag-off of sensitisation campaign against effects of unwholesome food in Nigeria

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By Joy Odor

The Director General of the National Agency Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye with the  Senate Committee Chairman on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe and the Chairman House Committee on Health Services, Alhaji Yusuf Tanko Sununu have Flag-off the first Phase of Public Health Sensitisation Campaign to protect Nigerians against the deleterious effects of unwholesome food, falsified medical products, Harmful Cosmetics, Poor Water and other Substandard regulated products.

Speaking at the Flag-off ceremony in Abuja on Wednesday, Professor Moji said campaigns will hold in selected states across the country from August to September, 2021.

According to her, the public Awareness Campaign is one of the veritable regulatory mechanisms put in place by NAFDAC to promote and protect the health of the people, adding that a well informed, sensitized and educated Citizenry is the bedrock of effective regulation.

The DG NAFDAC informed that the key objective of the sensitization programme is to intensify and
expand the scope of our informal and formal behaviour change
communication strategies in order to reach the vulnerable communities
especially at the grassroots.

“Dissemination of Food and Drug safety
information is an important aspect of our regulatory work.

“It is common knowledge that Nigeria has a preponderant share of the
global problem of falsified medical products and unwholesome food.

“The advent of Covid-19 Pandemic has aggravated the problem with the
challenge posed by substandard and falsified Personal Protective
Equipment (PPEs).

“The sensitization campaigns will therefore
contribute significantly to Federal Government’s concerted efforts to
inform, sensitize, educate and alert the public about inherent dangers
of intake and use of those spurious regulated products.

The campaign themes are multifaceted with clear, concise, informative
and educative messages aimed at arousing the awareness and
consciousness of the general public about the various infractions that
impact negatively on our healthcare delivery system.

These Campaign themes intend to address the following public health
challenges:
1. Dangers of buying medicines from hawkers. Patients are to buy
medicines from only licensed Pharmacies and Medicine Stores.
2. Abuse of Codeine and self-medication especially among youths.
3. The dangerous effects of using Kerosene tanker to load groundnut
oil.
4. Dangerous practice of using potassium bromate to bake bread.
5. Use of Azo-dyes in Palm oil which causes cancer
6. Dangers of using Sniper to preserve any type of food or to keep flies
away from meat.
7. Dangers of transfat and consumption of excessive oil.
8. Use of formalin on food and its associated health hazards.
9. Low level of Exclusive Breastfeeding Practice by Lactating Mothers
and its associated health hazards.
10. Dangers of wrong use of pesticides and insecticides.
11. Wrong use of chemicals and its hazardous effects.
12. Problem of antimicrobial resistance arising from animal meat.

“The Mass Media, Vibrant Youth
Organisations and Civil Societies in the pilot states will be in the
forefront of the Sensitization campaigns.

“The target audiences are
Market Women and Men, Road Transport Workers and Employers,
Community Youth Organisations and Students.

“With have engaged the services of MMCC as project Consultant to drive
the sensitization campaigns and it is gratifying to note that the
campaign materials are ready to be deployed on the field.

“It is our expectation that at the end of the Campaigns, the Participants
and Target Audiences would become dependable Partners and Allies
of NAFDAC and be in the forefront of sustaining the public awareness
campaigns by disseminating the information and messages to the
Grassroots.

“Our ultimate goal is to ensure that the various communities
take ownership of the care and management of their own health.

“Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, it is important to note
that this sensitization programme could not have been possible without
the support and encouragement of the Distinguished Members of the
Senate Committee on Health and Honourable Members of the House
Committee on Healthcare Services. On this note I want to express my
sincere appreciation to the Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator
{Dr}Ibrahim Oloriegbe and his Counterpart in the House
Committee Hon{Dr} Yusuf Tanko Sununu for their invaluable
contributions and support for this Programme and other regulatory
activities of the Agency.

“I also wish to thank the Members of the Press for your unalloyed
support. We will continue to count on your collaboration as the Agency
intends to organise in phases and stagger the Sensitization campaigns
to cover all 36 States of the Federation within available resources.

“In conclusion, I want to reassure you that NAFDAC under my watch
will not leave any stone unturned in our concerted efforts to rid the
Country of the menace of falsified medical products, unwholesome
food, harmful Cosmetics, Poorly packaged Water and other
Substandard regulated products” she stressed.

In their Goodwill messages, Both the Senate and House of Representatives jointly called on the resident doctors to call of their strike and return to negotiation table with the federal government.

The Senate Committee Chairman on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe said the impact of doctors’ strike on the overall health of Nigeria was enormous.

According to Senator Oloriegbe, Medical doctors are critical to the nation’s health and urge them to consider the generality of Nigerians and call off the ongoing strike.

Also, speaking, the Chairman House Committee on Health Services, Alhaji Yusuf Tanko Sununu, appealed to doctors to end ongoing strike.

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