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FG bans import, production of codeine cough syrup

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The Federal Ministry of Health has banned the production and importation of codeine as active pharmaceutical ingredient for cough preparations to check substance abuse among Nigerians.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, made the decision known in a statement issued by Mr Olajide Oshundun, Assistant Director of Information in the ministry, in Abuja on Tuesday.

The ban came as Aisha Buhari, wife of the president expressed concern about the addiction rate to the drug, especially in northern Nigeria.

On her Instagram page, she asked for action from the authorities.

“I call on all security agencies, lawmakers, judiciary, drug manufacturers, civil society, regulators, teachers, parents, neighbours and you to take this as a personal war and halt the menace,” she added.

Aisha said on her Instagram account that her NGO, Future Assured has also recently launched a campaign against substance abuse.

“Simultaneously, the wives of Northern Governors are working tirelessly on the issue. They have recently renovated and commissioned a rehab centre in Kogi and Kebbi state, while similar efforts are ongoing in other states”.

Her intervention may have spurred government intervention, especially as it coincided with revelations that a pharmaceutical company in Lagos sold 60 bottles of the syrup to an undercover reporter in one fell swoop.

The company, Emzor Pharmaceuticals has sacked the sales executive, while it said it has also shut down the production of the codeine based cough syrup.

In the statement issued today, the minister of health directed the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to ban the issuance of permits for the importation of codeine as active pharmaceutical ingredient for cough preparations.

He also directed the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria, (PCN) and NAFDAC to supervise the recall for labelling and audit trailing of all codeine containing cough syrups nationwide.

Adewole said government had also banned the sale of codeine containing cough syrup without prescription.

He said the directive became necessary due to the gross abuse of codeine in the country.

In this regard, the minister said PCN had been directed to continue enforcement activities on pharmacies, patent and proprietary medicine vendors’ shops and outlets throughout the country.

He also directed NAFDAC to carry out its functions in compliance with the new directives.

The minister said cough syrups containing codeine should be replaced with dextromethorphan which is less addictive.

Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant used to treat coughing, it is also a drug of the morphinan class with sedative, dissociative, and stimulant properties.

Adewole said the ministry would ensure collaboration among regulatory agencies for effective implementation of extant laws, regulations, policies and guidelines on codeine control and usage.

He said the regulatory agencies included NAFDAC, PCN, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN).

“ These agencies shall work together to increase pharmacovigilance around codeine, tramadol and other related substances of abuse,’’ Adewole said.

Adewole said the ministry would partner National Orientation Agency (NOA), Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Football celebrities and other celebrities to drive the national campaign against drug abuse.

“The ministry shall ensure that drug treatment intervention for victims of substances abuse shall be undertaken across the spectrum of health care delivery system in the country,’’ he said.

The minister said Civil Society Organisations would be strengthened to deliver effective sensitisation, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services.

He renewed the commitment of government to ensure the full implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guideline (NDDG) by Jan. 01, 2019.

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FCT doctors hail Minister for paying arrears, seek reviews

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The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter, have commended the Minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello, for paying the backlog of doctors’ arrears.

Briefing newsmen in Abuja on Saturday, Dr Roland Aigbovo, President of the Chapter, said that the action of the minister was commendable as he had kept to his promise.

Aigboyo however used the opportunity to appeal to the Minister to also remember the stagnation of doctors who have long be due for promotion but were yet to be promoted.

He stressed that some doctors have been stagnated for over three years while others due for promotion have remained on the same level for two years.

He added that some of the promotions that had been done were done wrongly as some of the doctors were promoted to the same level that they were already on.

He explained that some doctors were wrongly placed and the wrong placement was corrected and they were skipped and placed on the next level, only to now also be promoted to the same level that they were skipped to.

“They were promoted to the same grade level they were skipped to.

“For example, a doctor on grade level 12 was skipped to grade level 13 by correction of the error and was then again promoted to grade level 13.

“The arrears paid was for skipping, which is the correction of the wrong placement,” he said.

On the issue of budgets for hospitals, the President of fthe association appealed to the minister to budget for each hospital according to their needs and to separate the budgets of each individual hospital.

“We also appeal to the minister to make provision of each hospital to have their budget and not a blanket budget because every hospital has different running cost,” he said.

He appealed for more training for residents, non-residents as well as for other departments in the hospitals.

“Presently, only four departments are involved in residency training which include family medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Surgery and ophthalmology.

“We want more depts to included like internal medicine, paediatric, radiology and psychiatry,” he said.

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Optometrists mourn former world council President Udom

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Eye screening

Eye screening

The Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) on Thursday mourned the death of former President of the World Council of Optometry (WCO), Dr Uduak Udom.

Udom reportedly died on Monday in Uyo at the age of 63 after a protracted illness.

The association, in a statement, in Abuja said that Udom was a notable and outstanding member of the global Optometry family.

It noted that Udom made significant contributions to the development of optometry in Nigeria and worldwide.

“Significantly, until her demise she was the immediate past President of the World Council of Optometry (WCO), former President, Women Optometrists in Nigeria (WON), among others,” the body said.

Udom graduated from University of Benin in 1978.

NOA said it had opened a condolence register at its secretariat in Abuja.

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Scientist claims local remedy for diabetes

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Scientist claims local remedy for diabetes

Scientist claims local remedy for diabetes

Prof. Chukwunonso Ejike, a researcher at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi,
says he has developed a local remedy for diabetes mellitus.

He made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday on the sidelines of the ongoing
Technology and Innovation Expo 2019 holding in Enugu.

Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired,
resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Organised yearly by Federal Ministry of Science and Technology to encourage interaction among researchers, inventors, innovators
and investors, the Science and Technology Expo is to largely commercialise research results from the country’s tertiary institutions.

The theme for the 2019 expo is “Science, Technology and Innovation for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Growth.”

Ejike said that the remedy product known as the VOG Tea was one of six products exhibited by the university at the Expo,
invented in 2018 after four years of intensive research.

The don, who is the Dean, Basic Medical Sciences in the institution, said that the tea was produced from three
culinary vegetables, noting that the process of patenting the product had already begun and would soon be in the market.

He added that “I thank the university authority for supporting every effort so far made to develop and produce the tea.

“I want to appeal to investors to partner with us to get it to the market place at the minimum best price.”

The researcher said that Nigerian scholars had the capacity to compete with their peers in developed economies,
adding that to achieve this, however, they needed to be funded.

He added that he was motivated to go into the research due to increasing incidences of diabetes mellitus in the country,
especially in urban areas.

He said “our interest in developing this tea was to find out how to help our people manage diabetes mellitus.

“We thought of local remedies that could be cheap and identified these vegetables. We did clinical tests and collected
data on the vegetables and confirmed that making tea from the vegetables could be of great benefit to sufferers of diabetes mellitus.

“Constant consumption of the tea will ensure that the glucose concentration will not overshoot the normal level.”

The dean said that the product would also help people at risk of getting diabetes.

He said that the usage of the VOG Tea by those at risk would ensure that they never developped it.

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