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NAFDAC And Dignity For Herbal Products

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Notaby, just as the glo
bally detested fake, substandard and counterfeited pharmaceutical products are very harmful and highly destructive to human health, so also are traditional /herbal products of similar status. Indeed, the Nigeria alternative medicine market is in dire need of modern sophistications, dynamic development  and critical overhaul for global competitive practice in the sector.
Historically, the use of medicinal herbal products in the curing and prevention of numerous diseases and ailments is ancient in practice. However, the emergence of western civilisation  brought in its wake, orthodox or modern medical practice.
Despite the various enormous technological and scientific sophistications that have characterized this mode of medication, it could be simply considered as an improvement on the aged traditional and ancient approach to medicine practice.
Such is its dependability and effectiveness in both curative and preventive medicine practice  that the usage of herbs  for medication purpose is maximally acknowledged and embraced globally particularly in Britain, United States of America, Germany, India, China etc.
It is in this regard that Nigeria, a highly revered Giant in the Africa continent has expressed outright unwillingness to be shoved aside as the world progressively tilts towards blending modern with traditional /herbal cum alternative medicine in an attempt to proffer  varieties of suitable medications for the avalanche of deadly diseases which abounds in all the nooks and crannies of the world.
Apparently, this explains the current posture of Government in this regard through the Dr Paul B.Orhii led National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) .
Undoubtedly, Indeginous herbal preparations or mixtures emanates from the blending of plants medicinal properties such as flowers, bark,  leaves ,roots, berries, seeds, fruits etc .
The end products which could be in form of dry extracts {ie capsules or pills},tinctures ,liquid extracts, oil, syrups, teas etc are used for the treatment of various ailments  and diseases.
They are equally termed as alternative ,complimentary or supplementary in medicine practice and therefore not alien.
In Nigeria, for instance, the ancient/traditional and seeming hereditary nature of its practice over the years seems to have encouraged its massive infiltration by quacks, illiterates and saboteurs who are merely masquerading as  herbal experts.
More embarrassing is the unsubstantiated and non-verified effectiveness , efficacy and potency claims ascribed to herbal products by marketers such that users are misled to believe that a single product can cure a retinue of   diseases including AIDS,HIV while at the same time boost sexual libido etc
Some herbal practitioners and marketers have resorted to unauthorised, desperate and highly insincere means of advertisement in a deliberately calculated attempt to fraudulently garner mass patronage from unsuspecting buyers including using NAFDAC numbers as a guarantee for their claimed herbal products efficacy and reliability.
These obnoxious practices  has in turn made herbal medicine practice an all comer affair with an attendant negative consequence on the innocent consumers.
As a legally authorised healthcare regulator, the onus of sieving the grains from the shafts rest on NAFDAC  which is determined to bring to bear on the sector outright sanity through thorough examination and standardization of the various processes, preparations and products culminating into effective and efficient herbal medicine practice.
It is in this regard that the agency has evolved  modernised scientific techniques to adequately regulate and promote herbal products manufacturing and marketing with a view to according it due relevance through proper repositioning for outright acceptability both locally and internationally.
NAFDAC is indeed determined to ensure that herbal medical products being put across to the public for use or consumption as a reliable means of medication are non poisonous{non-toxic},safe, non –complicative ,efficacious and are in accordance with globally acceptable /specified good manufacturing practice standards.
It is in an attempt to maximally guarantee safety for the human life ,that NAFDAC has urged all herbal medicine practitioners nationwide to henceforth forward mandatorily to it ,herbal preparations and products for a proper cum professionalised scientific and medical examination before being accorded a partial approval status known as NAFDAC Listing status which is not a guarantee on herbal products curative and preventive capacity or effectiveness efficacy which constitutes the first approval stage.
In the same vein permission/authorisation is to be compulsorily obtained from the agency by practitioners for their herbal products before being advertised for public acceptance and patronage in the mass media-Radio,T elevision, Newspapers, Magazines,Bill boards,Electronic boards, etc.This is believed will entrench sanity in herbal products advertisement.
Similarly ,the agency is putting in place a dynamic second and final herbal products approval phase which comprise scientific based herbal products efficacy/effectiveness verification mechanism which will involve series of clinical trials.
To this end, a high powered committee comprising seasoned intellectuals and scientific egg heads duly  sourced from both the academia universities and research agencies eg NIBRID has been constituted .
These medical and scientific Think-Tanks are to among other things, thoroughly examine, assess and consider herbal composition , preparations and products to ascertain efficacy status or where necessary ,recommend appropriate rectification  measures.
They are also to unfold the nature of government support or assistance required to upgrade herbal medicine practice through herbal products development and standardisation to compete with international quality efficacy and safety  output standards.
Furthermore, the agency has resolved not to rest on its oars as it has restrenthened its public enlightenment approaches and measures aimed at ensuring that herbal medicals  are effectively and efficiently regulated thereby ensuring that they are safe for use.
Interestingly, the agency has remained consistent in the hosting and co-ordination of enlightenment and interactive workshops for herbal practitioners and other stakeholders in the sector in an attempt to adequately equip and update them with modern requirements/international best practices as well as standards and knowledge in the development and upliftment of the sector.
Obviously, the social, political and economic benefits accruable to a nation from the production and marketing of herbal products are indeed enormous.
Apart from boosting foreign exchange earnings, creating employment opportunities, dignifying our nation and herbal products,it will further empower government to provide social amenities,avail the citizenry a reliable alternative source of health care while helping to ensure that our pride as a progressively focused nation is maximally sustained through the production of standardised life saving herbal medical commodities to mention but a few of its advantages.
Ideally, herbal products ability and competence must be thoroughly substantiated through necessary laboratory analysis and other relevant medical experimentations for curative and preventive assurance before favourable public pronouncement can be made on such products capacity .
It is only by so doing that herbal medicine can be maximally and relevantly integrated into the Nation’s healthcare delivery system to provide the required complementary, supplementary or alternative role.
In all, the various numerous and scintillating advantages ascribable to embracing of herbal products could become outrightly elusive if adequate urgent measures are not adopted to regulate, control and standardise its production and administration such that only very competent persons who are knowledgeable in herbal medicine composition, preparation and use are allowed access to its practice which invariably, is the position of NAFDAC as it relates to herbal medicine practice.

 

Martins Ikhilae

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CAC Registers 245,000  SMEs Free Of Charge

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The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) says it has registered more than 245,000 Small and Medium Enterp-rises  free of charge.
The Registrar-General, Alhaji Garba Abubakar,  said in Abuja on Wednesday that it did this with the approval of the Federal Government.
The Federal Government, he said, approved the free registration of 250,000 business names as part of its intervention to assuage the economic effect of Covid-19.
He said the Federal  Government paid 50 per cent of the cost of registration to CAC and more than 245,000 business names were consequently registered.
Abubakar explained that the process was electronic and applicants also got their certificates electronically.
He added that the numbers were divided between the 36 states of the federation and the FCT noting that Lagos, Abia and Kano States had the largest numbers.
He said free registration of 6, 606 business names was approved for 33 states while Abia, Lagos and Kano States would have 7, 906, 9,084 and 8,406 respectively.
Abubakar noted that aggregators were appointed and paid to collect SMEs information and submit same to CAC.
He explained that the commission provided special access for the aggregators for effective service delivery since they were responsible for scanning and uploading of documents.
He added that CAC had to take over from one of the aggregators appointed for two states but failed to deliver.
Abubakar said also that the intervention of CAC and appointment of substitute aggregators to take over in the two states sped up the process, already nearing completion.
“We are hoping that by end of September the exercise will come to an end,’’ he said.

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IPMAN Seeks Foreign Partnership For Robust Refinery Deal

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The Chairman, Rivers State Chapter of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN),  Mr King Eppie, has said that he would be seeking the partnership of foreign bodies as part of his plans to strengthen the association.
Eppie said this when he spoke in a chat with newsmen in his office in Eleme, Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State, Wednesday.
He pointed out that such plans would also encourage business growth especially to some of his members whom he said are  experiencing stormy business weather.
According to him, the challenging business condition was as a result of  non functional refineries in the country, stressing the need to seek for partnership.
He said that since its core business area was petroleum products, that his leadership would do all within its reach to improve the  system.
The Rivers IPMAN boss,  expressed hope that the ailing refineries in the country would bounce back to life.
“ I will be happy to see the refineries working again. Most of our members are suffering and business is no longer what it used to be, that’s why I want the refineries to come back to operation”, he said.
About the issue of legal battle in the association, he said that his team has been vindicated by the Apex court by declaring him the authentic chairman of IPMAN in Rivers State.
He recalled that the association was in a legal battle for about eight years, but expressed joy over its victorious end.
To those who were on the other side of the divide, he said that he has extended an olive branch to them as part of his plans to run an  all inclusive government.
“ The platform for those who went to court against us has been created for them to come back to the fold. IPMAN is one in the state and we are open to all, that is why we want everyone to come back”, he said.
The Tide learnt that the IPMAN chairman is  barely one week in office after years of legal battle that greeted the association as a result of leadership tussle.

By:King Onunwor

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1,818 MSMEs Benefit From Covid-19 Recovery Package In Delta

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No fewer than 1,818 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have benefited from Federal Government and the World Bank Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) in Delta.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa addressed the beneficiaries at the launch of funds disbursement in Asaba on Wednesday.
He commended the Federal Government and the World Bank for the partnership to provide succour for those affected by the pandemic in the country.
He said that now that the scheme had been domesticated in the state, the beneficiaries were in the first phase of the programme.
Okowa also lauded the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) for supporting the federal government to ensure that the programme was approved by the World Bank for implementation in Nigeria.
He also thanked the World Bank for the intervention and for working with state governments in the country towards cushioning the socio-economic effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the people, particularly the poor and vulnerable.
According to Okowa, today’s ceremony is a major step at putting MSMEs that are badly hurt by the pandemic on the path of recovery and growth.
He said this was “more so, with the disbursement of funds to the first set of 1,818 beneficiaries who have met the World Bank stipulated eligibility criteria within the initial six months.
“A total of 2,529 MSMEs are expected to receive grants to support post-covid-19 loans, operational costs and to enhance their IT capabilities.
“Indeed, we are glad to be part of the CARES programme of the Federal Government.
“The focus of intervention clearly aligns with the priority of the state government to give relief to those whose lives, businesses, jobs and means of livelihood have been distorted by the pandemic.
“The programme, which we have domesticated as the Delta CARES, is a two-year emergency recovery programme.
“It is aimed at supporting state governments’ budgeted programme of expenditures and interventions.
“It is to enable them to expand access to livelihood support, food security services, and grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms,” he said.
He said that the programme would also directly support 25,269 poor and vulnerable households with social transfers, basic services and livelihood grants.
The governor said it would as well support 13,976 farmers to boost food production and ensure smooth functioning of the food supply chain.
“The outlined figures are the targets stipulated by the World Bank, but do not preclude the State Government from scaling up if the need arises.
“It is my expectation that those charged with the implementation of Delta-CARES will be faithful in executing the mandate so that the desired results are achieved, bearing in mind that it is a Programme for Result (PforR),” Okowa said.
On his part, Dr Barry Pere-Gbe, Chairman, Steering Committee for Delta-CARES and State Commissioner for Economic Planning, commended Okowa for providing the funds for the programme.
Pere-Gbe was represented by the Commissioner for Youths Development, Mr Ifeanyi Egwunyenga.
He said that the main focus of the programme was to bring succour to residents whose means of livelihood had been disrupted by the impacts of Covid-19.
He said that the programme was hinged on three thematic area.

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