Framework to transform chemical usage operational in 2024- Institute

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By Folasade Akpan
The President, Institute of Chartered Chemists of Nigeria (ICCON), Prof. Fanna Abdulrahman, has announced the upcoming implementation of a revolutionary framework in 2024, aiming to regulate and enhance the use of chemicals.

Abdulrahman disclosed this on Monday in Abuja during the 18th Mandatory Continuing Programme Development workshop organised by the institute with the theme “Chemistry for Better Health.”

According to her, the framework, presently going through the process of approvals, will give chemists the authority to examine and analyse the use of chemicals.

She said emphasis would be on those who use chemicals indiscriminately, and those who have no right using them.

She explained that “by the end of this year, and especially at the beginning of 2024, we believe that our regulatory framework will have been assented to by the National Assembly.

“And we will be able to enforce the framework on indiscriminate use of chemicals.

“We will then have the power to enforce the provisions of the framework on people that are using chemicals wrongly, especially those who are also producing.

“Right now, we have certification from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) that enables us to be on the end user certificate of importing some specialised chemicals.

“That’s a very big thing because we are working alongside NAFDAC, once our regulatory framework has been assented to, it also means that we will have the right to look at the premises and everything that goes with the utilisation of chemicals.”

Abdulrahman also said that the institute was able to register about 100 chemical companies and other companies importing chemicals in 2022.

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She added that the institute recently commenced the issuance of practicing licence to eligible members in February.

The policy, she said, was to ensure that only qualified and up-to-date chemists were allowed to practice in the country.

“The institute also inaugurated its Chemical Security and Safety Programme.

“The programme is designed to ensure the safety and security of workers and chemical facilities from many threats in the country, such as chemical terrorism, biohazards, insider threats, theft and diversion for use.”

According to Abdulrahman, Nigerians are constantly exposed to chemicals that have the tendency to create some health challenges.

She added that chemistry has a role to play in health and diseases, as most sicknesses have their etiology in some biochemical processes, and that the chemicals have the tendency to trigger most of the elements.

The Minister of Environment, Mr Balarabe Lawal, said the workshop theme was significant because of its importance to the health sector.

Represented by Prof. Aliyu Jauro, the Director General, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Lawal said that finding innovative solutions for Nigeria’s healthcare challenges required multi-disciplinary collaboration in cutting edge research and environmental stewardship.

He said “we recognise the essential role of chemistry in advancing medicinal research and development, understanding the impact of genes and environmental factors on diseases and improving drug discovery processes.

“Comprehensive chemistry practices throughout the pharmaceutical industry will undoubtedly contribute to decent environmental impact, lowering healthcare cost and ensuring global access to essential medicines.”

In his presentation, Dr Edwin Edeh, Consultant, Public Health and Environment Programme, World Health Organisation (WHO), said there are more than 160 million chemicals known to humans.

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He also said that chemical pollution negatively impacted a range of facets of the ecosystem, which could harm human health, adding that about two million deaths were estimated from a variety of health outcomes.

This, he added included poisoning, heart diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and cancers which occurred from a small number of chemicals.

Edeh, however, said there was need to raise awareness about potential exposure, vulnerabilities to and health impacts from chemicals.

He said that Nigerians also deserved to live healthy and in a clean environment, free from chemicals.

“Chartered chemists have a critical role to play in improving health outcomes in Nigeria through sound management of chemicals.

“It is necessary for Nigeria to invest in chemical systems surveillance strengthening to achieve good health and sustainable development,” he added.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop featured the training of members, induction of 180 members, and investiture of 25 members to fellowship status. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

 

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