NAFDAC advocates herbal medicine development for universal health coverage

*Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, says investment in herbal medicine research and development will positively impact the pharmaceutical and traditional medicine industry, and help to realise universal health coverage for all

Isola Moses| ConsumerConnect

In order to meet the desire for universal health coverage for all Nigerian consumers, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has advocated more support and funding for herbal medicines in the country.

ConsumerConnect reports Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of NAFDAC, said this in a recent statement issued in Abuja, FCT.

Prof. Adeyeye was said to have made the call at an inaugural symposium and launching of the Africa Centre of Excellence for Drug Research, Herbal Medicine Development and Regulatory Science (ACEDHARS) at the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

Traditional medicine concept

The theme of the inaugural symposium is: “Drug Development from African Medicinal Plants: Opportunities, Challenges and Regulatory Approach”.

According to NAFDAC Director-General, the support for research by way of funding and development of herbal medicine will help to meet the desire for universal health coverage for all in Nigeria nay Africa.

She also noted that investment in herbal medicine research and development would positively impact the economy of the pharmaceutical and traditional medicine industry.

According to her, herbal medicines are very important to healthcare delivery and can contribute significantly to universal health coverage in the country.

Adeyeye further said: “Despite the widespread use, traditional medicines have not yet been integrated into the national healthcare system of many developing countries, including Nigeria.

“The increasing use of herbal medicine despite general lack of research on some of these products is a call for concern.

“Investment in herbal medicine research and development is needed from all stakeholders, including the government, so we can benefit from whatever God has given to us freely.”

ACEDHARS is very important to Nigeria because of the focus on the development of herbal medicine for the use of the people, she stated.

The Director-General also stressed that the centre would function to ensure that adequate research was conducted and clinical trials done on herbal products before usage in the country.

She, however, observed that some herbal medicines get to the Nigerian market without adequate research and clinical trials to confirm their safety and efficacy.

Adeyeye, therefore, advised herbal medicine practitioners to take advantage of ACEDHARS to advance their knowledge in the practice.

Herbal practitioners must have continued education, even where they had it before, she added.

In her address at the event, Omobolanle Ade-Ademilua, Director/Centre Leader at  ACEDHARS, said the centre, which is a World Bank-approved centre of excellence, was established to train skilled manpower in Nigeria.

Ade-Ademilua disclosed the training modules include quality assurance, standardisation of dosages, reproducibility of herbal preparations, and safety monitoring of drugs in West and Central African region.

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