Healthcare: National Institute to grow 5,000 hectares medicinal plants for phytomedicines

*Objectives are to develop of quality and economic phytomedicines, ensure safety and health of Nigerians patronising locally produced medicines ─Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In the institution’s resolve to support Nigeria in its research efforts and quest to develop phytomedicines (phytopharmaceuticals) and vaccine to fight the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and other diseases, the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) says it has applied for 5,000 hectares of land to grow medicinal plants, roots and leaves that are local to the Kwara State environment.

Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, disclosed this in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, Monday at a training conference for phytomedicine practitioners.

The Senator stated that the conference with the theme, “Developing Nigeria’s Phytomedicine for Healthy Population and Assured Economic Prosperity”, was organised to assist the country in its research and quest to develop phytomedicines and vaccine to fight diseases and COVID-19.

The benefit would not only be useful to Kwara, but to other NIPRD state offices in the country in a bid to develop quality and economic phytomedicines against various diseases.

Oloriegbe said that the objective of the phytomedicine training in Kwara was to ensure the safety and health of Nigerians who patronise locally produced medicines.

“It is our duty as policy makers to ensure quality medicines; see to how we can empower our local medicine practitioners and ensure they use what are of quality to produce their medicine,” said the Federal lawmaker.

He further explained that producing medicine locally would help to save the country’s foreign exchange.

He added:  “You can see that when COVID-19 rages, we were moved to import drug from Madagascar. What they use for the drug is artemisia and Nigeria has better Artemisia.”

Dr. Obi Adigwe, Director-General of NIPRD, said phytomedicine was a good source of medicine that could help to improve peoples’ access to health and social economic development.

“Over the years, the phytomedicine potential of the country has been neglected. Countries like China and India in Asia are making billions of dollars from phytomedicines.

“It is rather ironical that the quality of phytomedicine ingredients in Nigeria and other African countries is better than those of these countries,” Dr. Adigwe disclosed.

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