Government seeks local production of anti-malaria drugs
BY NGOZI OBOH
To further reduce the cost of anti malaria drug and reduce malaria incidence to the barest minimum, the ministry of health says it has plans to produce them in Nigeria.
Onyebuchi Chukwu, Minister of Health while briefing the press on the 2011 World Malaria Day on Tuesday in Abuja said pharmaceutical industries in Nigeria as at today are not producing the drugs because they are not certified by the World Health Organization to do so.
The ministry is collaborating the Bank of Industries on this project.
“In collaboration with the Bank of Industry we have started the process of strengthening our pharmaceutical industries to meet WHO certification to produce these drugs locally,” he said. “In our local pharmaceutical sector we have issues.” For instance when you hear of global fund many of aid given are in form of supplied commodities but they will only patronize companies that are WHO certified. To have who certification there must be minimum standards in place.”
Mr Chukwu stated that the ministry held meeting with local pharmaceutical industrialist who listed some of their challenges which are now being tackled. “One of the ways is to help them develop this capacity and invite WHO to accredit them.
Theanti-malaria drug industries he said will create jobs.
“Mr. president had said that one of the ways of ensuring the economy is not only stimulated but full of productive activities that create jobs for young Nigerians that are presently unemployed is to support the local manufacturing industries through policies and also through support. The Bank of Industry is one those agencies owned by the federal government that helps the industries access low cost funds for development. Now BOI has been enthusiastic about pharmaceutical industries and we had held several meetings and are at the final stage. What we are waiting for is the approval of Mr. President.”
Other efforts being made by the ministry of health to control malaria includes developing an updated and implementation of guidelines. A malaria indicator survey was carried out to make available accurate information and data to guide programme implementation.
He added that a total of 35,6million long lasting insecticide treated nets have been distributed in 22 states as at December 2010.
David Okello, WHO Representative in Nigeria commended Nigeria’s commitment for scaling up malaria interventions in the country but called for consolidation of the gains achieved so far.
“We need to put more efforts in mobilizing additional resources, both domestic and external to help scale up current efforts,” he said.
The theme of 2011 Malaria Day Celebration is ‘achieving progress and impact’.
The celebration is designed to provide stakeholders including governments at all levels and the Malaria partnership with an opportunity to raise awareness and increase knowledge on malaria control, ce;lebrate successes achieved in malaria control in the past one year, evaluate actions and advocate for more effective support for the fight against malaria.