The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it is collaborating with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to address the sale of substandard drugs in Nigeria.
Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu, the WHO Nigeria Country Representative, said this on Saturday at the WHO Head Office, Abuja, during the commemoration of the World Health Day 2018.
He said that addressing the sale of substandard drugs in the country was very pivotal if WHO was to achieve its target of supporting member states in reaching Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030.
He said it was only when Nigeria ensured sale and consumption of genuine medicines to citizens would the country be on its way to achieving good health for all.
Alemu said WHO was therefore working with NAFDAC to introduce and implement a specific mechanism which would ensure that fake drugs were not in circulation in the country.
He said the mechanism would also ensure that fake and substandard drugs already on sale in the country were stopped.
He said WHO was also concluding plans to hold a regional workshop aimed at building capacity of countries in Africa and drug regulators.
According to him, “the workshop will equip the countries and drug regulators with necessary knowledge and tools to identify and monitor the trends of substandard and falsified products in the market.
“We are using this mechanism because it is only when you are able to detect that you can put preventive measures in place to stop this.
“Addressing the issue of sale of substandard drugs is very critical in achieving UHC because only genuine medicines need to be delivered as part of the Primary Health Care to citizens.’’
He said WHO would ensure that the mechanism put in place was the right one to achieve the results needed.
“The primary aim of UHC is ensuring that all citizens can access basic health care services without the fear of financial burden.
“If we are to achieve this then we need to address the sale of substandard drugs because just pushing for access to health services is not enough, we must ensure that this services are genuine,” Alemu said.
The theme for the World Health Day 2018 is “Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, everywhere”.
Alemu said the organisation chose the theme to remind World Leaders of their pledge in 2015 to achieving UHC by 2030 as part of the SDGs.
The objective of UHC is to protect people from the financial consequences of paying for health services out of their own pockets, so as to reduce poverty.